The other day Daleen and I were walking around Albany Bulb, trudging through unrealized ambitions and vague political remarks, when I posed a question that, in retrospect, seems highly inconsequential (Ew, who actually talks like that? Eff that noise). I asked whether or not she thought that, if they lived today, artists like Van Gogh or Picasso would be out making alternative/street art, or whether they’d still be painting shit that decorates McMansions and pseudo-modern homes (respectively) today.
With his new project, “The Rough Night,” Travis Korte is exploring autobiographical storytelling through Wikipedian stream of consciousness. His 21st century prose narrates and examines nearly-philosophical happenings and realizations that exist in (and branch off from) one recollection. His medium lets us read the way he (and we) thinks, understanding that a knowledge of Four Loko or how important Lauryn Hill has been in your intellectual and emotional development is crucial to making sense of the story.
Things branch off in fascinating tangents before you can finish a page, yet a scattered understanding seems almost necessary. See, in the end, this is his story, not yours. If Travis were sitting down and recalling it to you in person, he still would say things that strike a mental or referential chord, and yet in the end, his details are his. They remind you of yours, but the story is one that you retell with a “So my friend…” preface.
So is this how Faulkner would write today? Would As I Lay Dying be told through a series of Facebook status updates? Maybe. Or maybe Travis is just really fucking brilliant. “The Rough Night” is fantastic and I love it and I want you to read it. Here’s hoping for more auto-wikographies, from Mr. Korte and otherwise.