Amazing the either-or simplistic mindset of brainwashed factory products of the literary establishment.
When I speak of natural writing talent I'm not talking about genetics. What a robotic conception these people have of humans!-- as if we were all created in petri dishes.
A person may feel more deeply than others from a variety of causes-- most undoubtedly environmental. Maybe he or she was bounced around in the womb, or starved of proper nourishment. Maybe the mother was an alcoholic or crack addict. Maybe the youngster faced a thousand hardships yelled-at abused pushed into corners hiding from the violence of life or society from gigantic 19th-century factories obscuring the sky the child running hiding finding companionship in urban tunnels with stray cats, growing a nascent sympathy for the most downtrodden of God's creations. How does one explain Dickens's vast humanity and feeling? Did his talent have anything to do with his own "Hard Times," his years of child labor? Did that influence his art? Gee, I don't know. What do you think?
My focus is on preserving and announcing natural talent once it exists. A natural writer is a natural writer-- Bill Blackolive a classic example, capturing in his voice the dialect rhythmns and life of the gritty east Texas world around him. I don't know what created him-- an intermix of influences. As a writer he's a force of nature impossible to measure or quantify, restrict or tame, as the machine operators of Literature want to do with every product they designate "writer" with proper MFA stamp of approval. He's not one of the robots.
The zeen movement of the 90's spawned not writers from test tubes or factories, but, like musician Buddy Holly, purposeful creations of themselves. The three best writers of all of the zeen talents, better than the best of the men like Aaron Cometbus and Michael Jackman, were young women; two of them who were in their teens, the other scarcely out them. The two carried zeen names-- Jennifer Gogglebox and Ammi Emergency. The other was briefly a member of the ULA.
Their zeens were explosive-- raw writing talent unlike anything seen since Stephen Crane; literary versions of a young unharnessed Elvis. Their sentences raged with rhythmn, energy, and feeling; loud, colorful, vulgar, angry, and sexy. Phenomenal talents, all three. ALREADY they blew away the very best of the established literary scene. They were Mary Gaitskill without the restrictive training; Gaitskill Untamed.
What happened to the three? Maybe they themselves will someday say. With the possible exception of Ammi, these once-striking talents represent at this time Potential Unrealized.
Everyone knows where I stand on this question. Natural talent needs not an institutionalized school, not a conforming factory, not to be regulated or screened, squelched and compressed, rough edges smoothed, unique voice taken away, served up in Mao jacket like any other stamped-out commodity of the machine. Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and others who changed the face of music did so with the help of promoters like Sam Phillips and Norman Petty who understood the new and operated independent of the conglomerate regime.
Current ULA zeen babe Jessica Disobedience, a huge hit in Cleveland, will be visiting Philly this upcoming week. Maybe she can become part of a new stable of talent, with Frank Walsh, Patrick King, Eric Broomfield, and others, which we're slowly putting together in this city.