Clint Catalyst has been a regular contributor to the indie zine and movie scenes for years now and has been found in such places as Morbid Outlook, Gothic.Net and Permission. I hereby release him from receiving any grief from me over never appearing in Legends because of his personal submission of his new book, Cottonmouth Kisses. I was pleased to receive this - gave me a nice break from nothing but music submissions.
Picked up and put out by Manic D Press in San Francisco, Cottonmouth Kisses is one of the few books that actually wears the "Goth culture (subculture)" catalog in the Library of Congress. Itself a collection of short stories, poetry, rants and essays, some new some previously appearing in a number of online and offline places, the material here is pretty varied. If you're looking for a book that doesn't drop you into a thousand-page story - something you can slip through a chapter on the next subway ride and pick up again on the way back without having to employ total recall to realize where it was you stopped reading previously, Cottonmouth Kisses superbly fits this bill.
The poetic selections here are indifferent towards the reader - the clashed irony and wordplay riveting and cutting without regard to political correctness or glamour. Asphalt from the brain, it lays over you like a heaviness of soul and spirit. The poems by Clint are rife with quotes and excellent word placement. His skill at alliteration hammers out rhythm like rivets in leather. His longer selections, short stories of which he gives only some indication of being somewhat biographical, are rooted in heartbreak and sorrow. Opening with Some New Kind of Kick, still one of my favored pieces within the book, Clint takes you on an unadulterated, no holds barred sexual excursion with a twist at the end that's sure to keep you wondering for weeks. Other stories take you through tales of college life, drugs, sex, booze - both the good and the bad of each. Some play out like a television drama with an NC-17 rating - others are like nothing you've delved into before.
Others take on a more stream of consciousness style like Winner and Conversation With What Once Was a Friend. Some of these stories are so laden with loss that unless you've seen parts of it in your own life your sensibilities might be kicked around a bit. So don't expect to come out of the end of Cottonmouth without a few extra bruises on your soul. If what Nietzsche said was true, that "that which does not kill us makes us stronger," I'm going to assume then that Clint could kick my ass. I've had my share of shit to kick, sometimes been the shit that was kicked, but Clint's got a lot of wisdom in the words he pens down here tempered by experiences that most wouldn't care to try. It's bared out here for those who think they might have the tenacity to delve a bit further into the depths of a subculture that, sometimes, isn't all it's cracked up to be.
If you'd like to see more of Clint, be sure to check out the forthcoming films Sex, Death and Eyeliner (directed by Keith Border) and Black Pearls (directed by Blair Murphy). He's also taken his spoken word performances up on stage with the likes of Switchblade Symphony, Faith and the Muse and you can hear him on a CD by Apocalypse Theatre. Check out some old indie zine back issues from the gothic subculture as well and you'll see him around.
Cottonmouth Kisses is more than a collection of short works, stories and poems. There are definite warnings here - where things went bad and how to not get that far in the tumult yourself. Something akin to a guidebook. Fortunately for you, rather than climb the mountain to speak to the guru, Manic D did the traveling for you and came back with the wisdom from the peaks.
Clint Catalyst - (213) 483-3233
"Cottonmouth Kisses" by
Published by Manic D Press
Copyright © 2000 by Clint Catalyst