Checking in with the Cactus Man on the Big Sur Chapbook release party (Sept 21), Marx (naturally) and more
He’s also the brains behind the Big Sur Chapbook, a new zine encapsulating the area’s irrepressible joie de vivre.
On Thursday, September 21, the Library will be hosting the Big Sur Chapbook release party. You can expect satisfying conversation and reverie, pizza courtesy of Chef John Happy (“All nourishment intended for the use of doing good”), refreshments and a DJ set by the Cactus Man himself.
We recently dropped in with the Cactus Man on the heels of this party to see what condition his condition was in. The following conversation has been edited for clarity, length and longitude.
Henry Miller Library (HML): Hey man.
The Cactus Man (TCM): Hey.
HML: So what’s a chapbook and the term’s etymology? (You can cut and paste the response if it’s easier.)
TCM: Chapbooks were so called because they were sold by peddlers known as chapmen. Chap comes from the Old English for trade, so a chapman was literally a dealer who sold books. Chapmen would carry boxes containing the conveniently sized editions, either in town on street corners, or traveling through the countryside.
HML:: Thanks for that.
TCM: Those are definitions.. I like the usage of CHAPBOOK.. because it’s an old word.. instead of the modern word ZINE.. it connects me to the old world of a traveler peddling an unconventional book.. an outsider approach to publications.. I don’t think the Chapmen were necessarily selling only these kinds of things.. but the chance to get something not published professionally.. gives people an opportunity to get rough raw information..
HML: Certain components of your response seem to ring a bell…
TCM: “Seize the means of production” is a reference to Communist philosophy first put forth by Karl Marx ..i could give a fuck about Karl Marx.. but the statement is true.. The chapbook is a seizing of the means of production.. it takes the power away from a larger system..and gives a voice to people that normally can’t find their way into a physical outlet for their mediums of art and commentary.. revolutionaries have always made small batches of information to incite the people into action..
HML: …Go on….
TCM: The Big Sur Chapbook isn’t trying to start a revolution in the old sense of the word.. but reminding people that there are other ways than social media to say things.. and like snail mail or a postcard.. seems more special and important in a world that is striving to completely abolish the physical..most importantly.. it is fun.. and it celebrates the power of an individual’s voice.. in a world that is striving to devour that voice..
TCM: You’re welcome.
(1) Thanks to the Cactus Man’s sage advice, we did NOT buy that timeshare in Myrtle Beach.