Drugs are Nice: A Post-Punk Memoir -- Lisa Crystal Carver
Due to Drugs are Nice, Lisa Crystal Carver has been added to the ever-growing (yet still exalted) list of Authors-That-I-Must-Read-In-Their-Entirety. She has two other books, The Lisa Diaries and Dancing Queen. I will read them. I will own them.
I loved her voice. I loved her (totally conscious) excessive use of exclamation points. I loved how her idealism came through even when she wasn't talking about things that are traditionally associated with idealists:
The local punks rather formally rejected me, and the goths never laugh at my jokes. There's not much chance of me making it in the real world, either. I don't even have one skill, and I can't take the thought of going to college to get one. I look for how to live in magazines. People has an article about Karen Finley pouring ketchup on her head and shoving yams up her business, but she received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to do so. Applying for one of those seems as mysterious and laborious a process to me as going to college. I want to shock people too, but performance art seems so out of context. Why did Karen Finley put those yams up there? There should be a story. And stories should be about real things, even if they aren't real. And the stories should be big.
Later on she amazed me even more by describing shows where she would do things like urinate in a litter box on stage, or lubricate her bum to allow a plastic flower to slide in easier (in the show, the flower represented the ultimate triumph of nature). Don't get me wrong here. It wasn't the actions that amazed me so much as the fact that she still sounded idealistic. After reading her perspective, the Suckdog shows make a whole lot more sense to me than performance art ever has.
Her humor is wonderfully deadpan. I especially liked these two sentences (taken from completely different parts of the book:
I was scared the Portsmouth punks would boycott the show if they knew I organized it, since they deemed me a poseur for wearing too much pink.
The fact that smoke from the sitter's joint was always being blown back at me by the wind might have contributed to my delirium.
Like any other memoir, this book is the chronicle of a journey. Like most memoirs, this book is also the chronicle of a coming-of-age. Lisa Crystal Carver constantly fights forward in her own way--like anyone else, sometimes stumbling, sometimes slogging--but always fighting. I rooted for her the whole way.
Two thumbs way up.