"In these tight, sexy fictions that make up One Dead Tree, David Menear’s stories and characters uncover hitherto unexplored aspects of the Canadian urban experience." Mark McCawley, Urban Graffiti

Lynn Crosbie

Lynn Crosbie

DHP: What is your definition of transgressive?


LC: I like the apostasy that is Foucault's definition. Not the Godless part, but the ideas of limitlessness, excess and a radical overhaul of what is commonly held to be sacred.


DHP: What was the first text you read that made you question accepted societal tenets or values or the way in which the world works?


LC: I studied philosophy/sociology for four years, and of all of the books I read, I remember Karl Weber's work enlightening me the most. But this is the sort of question that begs for this kind of predictable answer. I also read Jaws and (some of!) Nausea and Flowers in the Attic when I was 12, and these books, and the way in which they inculcate the pervasiveness of fear and the pleasure of the perverse, were also illuminating.


DHP:  Give an example of a transgressive work & explain why you felt it was transgressive? The work could be literature, film, visual art, theatre, graphic novels or something else.


LC:   There are just too many. The first time I even looked at  Kathy Acker's Blood and Guts in High School was a revelation, not unlike but far more alluring than first seeing Vonnegut as a kid. I was, like Algernon, at my intellectual height a long time ago. I would go to the Cinema Parallel at 17 and watch Vampyr, say, and read Dostoyovsky on the metro home. Later, I would become caught up in the third wave of feminist art, from Jenny Holzer to Joulie Doucet to Amy Heckerling to everything at Buddies in Bad Times male/female to L7 and Hole. This era was transgressive because it seemed like, all of a sudden, we/women were this loosely united-yet-fearsome gang, and surrendering a lifelong fear of men, violence and assault was one of the gifts of being with these she-Crips.


DHP:  Name a historical transgressive role model & tell us a bit about this person.


LC:     Anne Sexton, former Avon lady and model turned Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. She blew her Guggenheim on a swimming pool, extracted revenge on her abusive husband through lots of sexy affairs and trips and acclaim, and wrote in spite of, against her profound mental illness. Even her suicide was stylish: she slipped into her blue-blooded mother's fur coat and jewels, got into her car, turned on the radio and the gas. Her poems are the first to talk about women's bodies, women's lives, women's maladies with raw candour and pure grace.


DHP: List a few transgressive fictional works from your personal library.


LC:   I never let people see my books. They are hidden all around, like bugs. I'm going to think of three at random:


   Kim Kardashian, Selfish

   Violette Leduc, La Batarde

   Gayl Jones, Eva's Man



DHP:  In what ways are you trying to create or publish work that is transgressive according to your definition?


LC:  If you TRY to write something transgressive, you can't. It's like trying to be funny or sexy: it is transparent, if not embarrassing. I have, in retrospect, felt vexed by the LIMITS of genre, and have always pushed against them (the sacred as well.) Someone wrote me that they saw a book of mine sitting forlornly on a shelf titled 'Books without Plots." That pretty well covers it.


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