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Mar112010

Knickerbocker Circus 04: Blood and Pudding

Photo by Richard Mann

Nancy Spungen just wanted to be "somebody."  You can't knock her for that.  Growing up I had a fascination with her.  I think most of us grow up and want to leave some kind of legacy behind.  "Somebody" means different things to different people though.  In my teenage years my cousin Holly and I would take road trips with no destinations just to dream.  We wanted to be "famous", for what, I'm not sure.  I knew I was leaving for New York in a few months and she was jumping from job to job in Boston.  All we knew was that we needed each other.

My life has been a series of co-dependent addictive relationships.  I think my friend Ben summed it up best when describing me years ago.  "Kat is like vanilla ice cream sprinkled with crack.  Smooth, tasty, and goddam what a rush." When I think back to my highschool years, this is exactly what I'm talking about.  Teenagers have a way of thinking they are immortal.  They are fearless, we were no exception I'm sure.  Looking back on who were were, I would have placed a bet we'd be dead by the end of the summer.  But we lived, for a while at least, and then there were a series of deaths. 

This all has a point, I swear.  You see in a few weeks I'll be releasing Blood and Pudding.  It's weird to call it memoir since I no longer know the girl who wrote it.  Seems she died the same time the love of her life and her cousin did.  It's also strange to be releasing journals we once tried so hard to hide.  Back then we all brought out the worst in each other.  We were addicts, mental cases, thieves, and lost.  We came from good homes.  We wanted attention.  We wanted to be "somebodies". 

Blood and Pudding took ten years to put together.  It went through three editors, four micro-cassettes, five re-writes,  and something like six journals.  Some of my editors and friends wonder why I didn't send it to a big publishing house and I really did struggle with the choice.  But in the end I made my decision because of this:

1997

Kat: "What should we do with the book when it's done?"

Holly: "Just release it.  Those who need it will find it.  No one should ever force something on the world. Just make sure it's pure."

What she meant was "Make sure it was true." She was okay with tiny edits, paragraphs being slightly altered, or grammatical errors being fixed.  She was not okay with changing the tapes, reforming sentences, and making our secrets marketable.  And being that she is no longer here.  I had to respect that.  Looking back, maybe she had a different definition of "somebody" than I did, but if it's one thing I've learned over the years, it's to always respect the dead.

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Reader Comments (4)

Damn, now I can see why Daisy speaks of you ni those hushed tones of hers. This sounds like an incredible book. Holly says exactly what Daisy is telling us. If you've stuck to that advice that's all that counts. Sending it off to a big publisher would be a sin against the story.

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan Holloway

Thank you Dan. I really struggled with it but the fact that the book is a series of tapes I had to transcribe, letters, and journal entries, I was was afraid someone would come in and say, "Well that's just not what the market needs, let's just change this around a bit." I can't write Holly's words now. I can't improvise for her, so it remains the way it was. Luckily, I have three editors and one person who wrote the intro to all say they really enjoyed it and could feel her essence throughout the book. I'm terrible to myself when it comes to writing, then again I suppose most are.

March 13, 2010 | Registered CommenterKatelan

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