farnessity by Randee Silv / dancing girl press & studio / 2018
Without a doubt we are living in disorientating times and in these disorientating times we are the receptacles of a plethora of information coming from multiple sources. With our technological advancement confusion takes its place upon the throne of human reason. In such a society, to believe in a linear narrative is almost an absurdity, a yearning for a past that is long gone if it ever really existed. Randee Silv, in her recently published chapbook of wordslabs, farnessity (dancing girl press & studio, 2018), gives voice to these times of bewilderment which are past and future rolled into an ever present. In Silv’s work there is no reason to look backwards or forwards for we are (T)Here.
From the very first sentence the reader is set firmly in the expansive lost. “They said that he had reached a dead-end.” This dead-end is the origin in an ever spinning universe that comes up on itself again and again and each time from a different and more sweeping angle. It is in the eternal recurrence that the reader, the writer and her characters are able to catch the ever fleeting instant of meaning before it is gone until the next up turn on the Boethian wheel. The pieces in farnessity are not meant to live only on the upper level, nor are they meant to be read or understood on that plane. Confusion is king “wearing a dime store crown” in the upper-world and if we remain on the surface we will always be his servants.
Randee Silv is not a writer who writes to serve. She has a vigorous voice that comes out of the past with visions of the future now. Ages of perplexity come out of transition; the old gods, if not dead, are at least no longer gods. One must revel in the ruins and kick up the dust to see what it reveals. farnessity is a book of revelations. The revelation is in the essence which is the enigmatic constant that stands in the center of chaos. Her characters may be phantoms of flesh dipping french fries on the St. Mark’s Place of 1980s or 90s New York City myth or in a Detroit of days to come. These are just possibilities in a realm where the a prioris of space and time have been shattered. A character “He” (for there are only He’s and She’s in Silv’s pieces, allowing for a greater fluidity once the burden of proper names has been eliminated) in “Friction” places a map before another one of the unnamed and asks if they want to go to a planet with “a name that started with ‘O’.” No one is confined in the world in which they are set.
Silv is a part of a generation of authors who come after the luminous aggression of Kathy Acker, but who lacked the liberating worldview that presently allows emerging writers to more easily establish themselves and transform literature. She has broken away from the confines of gender within her work, and though there are male and female characters in this book none dominate, nor typify. This is a book of the underworld where fallen angels ascend. As a character states in “18cor” and which is an overriding theme for the whole of farnessity “if I had only walked on the surface I would have never slipped.”
There is a shock in the fall that brings awareness and it is only through the shock that enlightenment can be achieved. We may become dizzy in the spin and when we are suddenly stopped at that dead-end which is the start, we become aware and embrace all. Randee Silv’s farnessity is a book that starts at the stop, it is a book of memories never known, though they have always been there and in which we become aware and are always intrigued.