"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

Misti Rainwater-Lites

Misti Rainwater-Lites

DHP: What is your definition of transgressive?


MRL: My definition of transgression is the act of defying the bullshit odds with your non-bullshit reality. A person who sends their FUCK YOU! I EXIST! to the void is transgressive. The void doesn't give a shit. But other motherfuckers who are staring down the void over a bowl of Fruity Pebbles do care and that is why I continue.



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?


MRL: The first text I recall making a real difference in how I perceive the world is Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I was only ten or eleven when I read it. I didn't have tits or a period yet. I was brought up in a non-intellectual Southern Baptist working class rural Texas environment. So a book about an upper class Jewish kid from New York who questioned everything and talked about her desire to grow tits and get her period knocked me flat on my ass. Oh brave new world!

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.


MRL: An example of a transgressive work is Scary Kisses by Brad Gooch. I can't get anyone to board the Gooch train. I sent a copy to a friend and he tried to read it. He has probably trashed it by now. But he's a snob. He digs Celine. I don't. Scary Kisses is about a bizarre love triangle between a hot weed dealer chick (I think she's a Gemini) and two ridiculously hot male models. Todd is an Aquarian. Frank is a Leo. There's gay sex (male on male/model on model), masturbation, an Andy Warhol cameo, a T.S. Eliot reference and drugs and ghosts. It's my favorite love story. The ending is happy...afterglow pillow talk. I'm a love addict so I eat that shit up. It's transgressive because it's trash that is trying hard to be better. I identify. I consider myself beige trash. Sexually I'm not sure what I am. I love men, love sucking and riding dick, but I've fantasized about women since I was a child. I have never been in love with a woman, though. Men consume me. I'm a perverted voyeur.


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


MRL: I'm not big on role models but two women immediately come to mind. Hollie Stevens and Kathy Acker. Hollie was a porn star, artist and writer from the Midwest who made her kick ass movie of a life in California. I never met Hollie but we had mutual friends. Her death from breast cancer threw me for a loop. Although I didn't know Hollie I mourned her death. I still think of her often and feel kind of weird about it but she inspired me. Anyone who discovers Hollie through her social media stuff, YouTubes and art can see right away what an amazing woman she was. She was funny, adorable, smart, vibrant. I guess I have been in love with a woman, a woman I never met. I've read Kathy Acker's bio but I don't have it memorized. She also died of cancer. I think she was educated. I just love her books. She fucked with the novel, made it nonlinear, obscene, grotesque, visceral. She gave the novel a pulsating pussy.


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


MRL: Breakup by Catherine Texier, Women by Chloe Caldwell, Because They Wanted To by Mary Gaitskill, Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami, Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutierrez, Assata by Assata Shakur, The Rainbow Stories and Whores For Gloria by Wiiliam T. Vollmann, Blue of Noon by Georges Bataille, and anything by Kathy Acker but especially My Mother: Demonology and Blood And Guts in High School.


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


MRL: I am trying and failing and trying again to scream my heart and cunt out until there is no blood left. My creative writing experience at UTSA has been abysmal. Trigger warnings and sanctioned mindless mediocrity. Banality is encouraged. You can construct a sentence! Wow! That is, like, awesome! I think the word LIKE should come with a trigger warning. I celebrate the obscene, the ugly, the devastating. I have zero tolerance for bloodless art, music, literature. I've been fucked up the ass without lube and had anal fissures for two weeks. I've sucked dick for BART fare. I've been left for dead in Taco Bell. I've stood in line for emergency food stamps during a hurricane evacuation. So my bar is set pretty fucking high. Don't try. That's a Bukowski quote.



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