To Woodstock and Back:
PART I of an ongoing Eugenia Macer-Story sub-column
I woke up and saw little ants next to my bed. They had found the mustard and onion pretzels and were bunched around the bag in a black pool. I went to Home Depot for some ant traps.
Driving home with the traps, as I slowed to turn onto my street, a Big Y grocery store employee smashed into the back of my car. Why? She said her car had slid on the recently rain-wet street. She had neither license nor insurance with her (or not at all?) so I didn’t call the cops, though there was some damage to my rear bumper.
The night before, Emily and I returned to Amherst after spending the day in Woodstock, NY, the home and resting place of Eugenia Macer-Story.
This was my third trip down to the Catskills as pilgrimage. The past year brought Eugenia more fully and entirely into my eye, though today it’s been almost four years since Sorcery and The UFO Experience first drew me into her work and life. Of all the artists, poets, musicians, people with whom(‘s work) I’ve found myself seriously obsessed (yes there’ve been a few), Eugenia has held a distinct position as a sort of favorite or queen.
First, Elizabeth and I, failing to adhere to a planned 100-mile walk, drove to Woodstock as a method of communing with the late EMS. Sharing an interest in the occult, I introduced E to EMS’s Troll book, feeling like I bore a secret door. In Woodstock we met Shiv, proprietor of the Shivastan Poetry Ashram, an entirely funky shack full of jewelry and work from yearly trips through Nepal and India, and, most beautifully, an extensive stock of Eugenia’s Magick Mirror Communications publications (her press, a publisher exclusively of her own work and the Yankee Oracle Gazette, a sort of poetry and occult zine). Elizabeth, like Eugenia, is very psychic, and has been my ally in thinking through Eugenia’s work.
The third trip down, with Emily, as mentioned, was another dive into Shiv’s stock...--
[Interruption for bibliography]
Eugenia Macer-Story books I own:
Sorcery and The UFO Experience
Congratulations! The UFO Reality
The Sin of Love: a Novel
Om/Nada: a Novel
Struck by Green Lightning AKA Project Midas: a Novel
Pulse of The Dragon: The Secret Knowledge of The Pirates
Doing Business in The Adirondacks (2)
Legacy of Daedelus (on loan from Kyle Page)
Troll & Other Interdimensional Invasions (2)
Crossing Jungle River: Poems
Vanishing Question: Metaphysical Poems
Angels of Time: Meditations in Conjunction with the 36 Decans of the Zodiac
Battles with Dragons: Certain Tales of Political Yoga
Dark Frontier (2)
Bright Spidey Charm Book: Real Magick Both Talismanic and Philosophical
M7: Poems of the Circular Journey
The Merry Piper’s Hollow Hills: Poems
Carrying Thunder: Poems of Wonder
[ / ]
This third trip was lit strangely, though benignly, in retrospect: the whole town seemed to look at us as we walked down the street, and by the time we arrived back in Amherst it was midnight. We smoked some very strong weed and had intense, reverent conversation as we read Mt: Poems of the Circular Journey and stared at the two Eugenia paintings on the wall. Oh,
the second trip, which was taken alone, was not exactly to Woodstock, but through it, to Phoenicia, a place charged with something bright, home of Christina Varga, an artist and close friend of Eugenia’s up until December 17th, 2013, the day of EMS’s death, and the anniversary of CV’s birth, making her a Sagittarius, like Elizabeth and me. Christina arranged her dozen or so Eugenia paintings (only a small bit of what EMS left behind, I was told, but the entirety of Christina’s shed’s collection) on her lawn, her daughter jumping around and running through and over the paintings laid out like lily pads or shields. Two caught my eye and I left with them, having spent an amount of cash mercifully low for original art, especially art so undeniably charged with psychic genius. An invitation. If you want to see them, get in touch. They hang above my bed.
Some Thoughts I’ve Had
I’ve tried, in conversation, to explain exactly what I find (no, what undeniably resides) in Eugenia’s work. I’ve spoken of her nonfiction (and to a lesser extent her fiction), probably pretty lazily, as comparable to the New Narrative work of Bruce Boone, Kevin Killian, or, most of all, Dodie Bellamy. The comparison is weak, but still holds true in describing a facet of Eugenia’s unpretentious commitment to a kind of radically subjective reportage, termed, in her Pulse of The Dragon, “occult science.”
Something of Bernadette Mayer’s sense of simultaneous play/gravity is felt in EMS’s poetry, but this comparison, too, can only serve to make recognizable a sort of ghostly kinship, not a tangible point of reference. Her poems are often full of twisted clichés, hyperspecific images, and, consistently, some of the best last lines I can imagine. For example, Vanishing Question’s “Vampire Mind,” which ends: “…accidental bowl full/ now of accidental water, accidentally gone.”
Her novels, particularly the pair of occult novels The Sin of Love and Om/Nada, use short, scattered chapters (characteristically littered with an almost unbelievable amount of strange, non-grammatical typos, due, likely, to the author’s use of a faulty scanning technology to convert typewritten pages to printable computer files) that build and inform one another, with casts of characters numbering in the 20s or 30s, finding focus in the final dozen or so pages in a sort of Joycean culmination. But is Joyce a useful comparison? No, he is useless here beyond a certain structural, formal influence.
What am I trying to say? That Eugenia is a great, lost literary innovator? Well, yes, but that’s just a surface evaluation here. Her ambitions were, while literary, not only literary, hell no. She was a scientist (in the tradition of neo-physicists like Jack Sarfatti) just as often as she was a playwright, a poet only up to the point at which her journalism began, a novelist whose constant production of paintings expanded her fiction’s metaphysical environment.
Her books, having become hard to find outside of certain ufological or occult channels (and often expensive or scarce on Amazon, &c), feel, in that capitalism of the collector, bubbled and blinking and incensed, rare, I guess. This is another invitation: if you find yourself seeking, find me, I’ll lend.
Eugenia’s is a gift for exploring the synchronistic, supernatural, and meaningful resonances findable in the hieroglyphics of the everyday. Far beyond what has been termed the “Lynchian” (after the director, of course, David) aesthetic of the uncanny, Eugenia’s psychic reading of the apparently mundane world is evident and luminous in all of her art—painting, theater, poetry, investigation, journal, fiction, and on.
Binging on her work implants/engenders a mindspace open to the patterning of a world of meaning and omen, sign and hidden system. I can only recommend it.
UFOCCULTIC ACCOUNTING is a journal dealing with/in the twin worlds of ufology and occultism, and the little odd realms between intersections. UFOCCULTIC ACCOUNTING is written by Ufoccultist, poet, student, teacher, and book collector, Ben Roylance.