Paradoxia: A Predator’s Diary: By Lydia Lunch, 162 pgs.

Nov 26, 2007

So I remember when I was first introduced to the concept of “stream-of-consciousness” literature, and a basic understanding of how it worked. From what I remember, it’s basically allowing for a non-linear sense of time and narrative in the story you tell, and when you write it down, it also allows for fragments because, well, that’s what it is: a literal documentation of fragments of memory and story, put down on paper as they come out. Lunch revels in stream-of-consciousness, allowing the current to almost take her with it, as it sweeps a river of memories and sexual escapades out to the big sea of a Jungian collective conscious (if you’re a Jungian, that is). Many know Lydia Lunch from somewhere, from her work as a solo musician, an influential member of the “no-wave” movement, a spoken-word artist, or her film work (which was the case with me). Even though this is my first direct exposure to Lunch’s work, she’s a name I’ve always heard bandied around and recommended. Regardless, she’s still a name that almost anyone who bothers to look beyond the initial pale of socially “acceptable” arts will know, one way or another. She describes herself as confrontational by nature, and in Paradoxia, it shows. Imagine every dirty aspect of human existence, both the good and bad part of it, the moments that not only disgust you but also make you feel alive, laid out in stark detail. It’s something not all of us can easily bear, but for those of us who do, it’s often an interesting experience. While aspects of this book did tend to bore me (more precisely, what appeared to be switches between an almost standard narrative biopic attempt and the more abstract and flowing documentation of every visceral and lubricated moment she can recall and the impacts they’ve had on the wall that’s been her life), all in all, I dug it quite a bit. This was proven by the fact that I rocketed through it in about a day of subway travels and almost missed my stop going to work that morning. Lunch is brazenly adamant about her lack of regrets over almost anything she’s remembered and written down here. This isn’t so much a confessional or an explanation as it is sitting down with someone and the conversation turning into something intimate and frank and no-nonsense; the conversations you end up having with close friends and lovers. However, if you think it’s gonna be titillating or some nonsense like that, you’re sorely mistaken. Don’t make the mistake of confusing a glimpse of a unique life for something perverted. –Constantine Koutsoutis (Akashic Books, PO Box 1456, NY, NY1009)