Interview with Damien Ark
October 5, 2020
MM) Tell me about how Fucked Up was conceived and written. The process seems to have been very personal, and the characters and situations strike a reader as authentic. Did you live through a lot of Fucked Up? To what degree is it autobiographical? When did you finish it, and how was it in a sense a gateway to your more recent writing, which is significantly different?
DA) The first draft of Fucked Up (I’ll abbreviate as FU) was born in a mental hospital (Seay Center, Texas) when I was around twelve or thirteen. It was less than twenty pages, like most of the things I wrote at that age. Funnily enough, most of the first page is the same as it was when I had written that first draft with a pencil and paper in that cold cafeteria, on drugs, in the loony bin.
Fast forward to age eighteen, late September. I’d just gotten out of the same mental hospital, did two weeks of outpatient, then my parents kicked me out. My only option was to move in with my two uncles in Nebraska. That’s where the second draft of Fucked Up came about. After glancing at all the short stories I had done, FU seemed to be the most appropriate for helping me map out my existence, dig out the unconscious, and also give life to the experiences of other friends, and not just my trauma. Living with my uncles was a toxic environment, like all places I’ve lived throughout my life, each with their uniqueness.
Life got worse, and I convinced my parents to let me come back to Texas. I finished the second draft, started the third, got kicked the fuck out again, and wrote the final draft in Iowa in two and a half to three years. I think I was between twenty-two to twenty-three when I finished it, and I’m twenty-six now.
I’ve been reading books and writing artistically for as long as I can recall being alive. As I went from prepubescent to angsty teen with PTSD, I found it difficult to find any books that I could relate to in the way that I wanted to. Styles, aesthetics, all forms of experimental art, can expand your mind, but if you can’t find yourself in the art itself, it creates a sense of alienation. Even as a twelve-year-old, I’d already read books by Bret Ellis, Palahniuk, Welsh, all the people that were advertised online as the most transgressive writers out there. Some of it was decent, but they weren’t that transgressive to me. I felt cheated, being that I thought ‘transgressive writing’ also had the allure of sexuality and gender intertwined with a darker, more serious tone. With that in mind, I decided to write my own form of transgressive fiction. With no holding back, I’d be as edgy as I’d want, and almost all of the characters were gay or bisexual. It didn’t occur to me until I was eighteen that Dennis Cooper had written similar things, along with Poppy Z. Brite’s Exquisite Corpse.
FU is so personal that I considered it a suicide note for most of the time I wrote it. I wasn’t sure if I was writing it as a symbolic/cathartic suicide of my former self or as an effigy to leave behind to all the people that had hurt me so that they could also suffer from the words (or their words that negatively inspired me) I had written.
I hadn’t sent any poems or short stories anywhere while writing the novel, nor was I getting an MFA, so maybe I fucked myself over on that regard. I’ve never taken any writing classes except for the basic English classes you need for college. That’s why I consider myself an outsider. Some people focus on page numbers or word counts, but that’s never on my mind when I write, especially not with FU. I always knew that FU would be an epic, even when I tried to condense the novel’s structure and each chapter as much as I could before writing them. I also wasn’t researching independent publishers or figuring out how the fuck I’d even get the book out. All that mattered to me was that I’d write it as honestly as I could, basically in the most naked and humiliating fashion possible, and fucking finish it, knowing that it might never see the light of day. Since I didn’t care or believe that it could ever be published, I wasn’t afraid to hold back while writing. Luckily/somehow, it found a home with Expat. Even though very few people have read the novel, people seem to understand already what I’m attempting to accomplish with it.
Every character is based on me, someone I’ve read about, or someone I once knew. I don’t want to pinpoint which events relate to my trauma or others’ for the sake of confidentiality and privacy, but yeah, unfortunately, a lot of this is based on real events. Of course, there’s some low-fantasy elements in the novel (abandoned amusement parks in the middle of nowhere, or being saved by animals, for example).
I’m still exploring some of the same elements and topics included in FU in different ways, sometimes in a more personal format, such as removing Elliott from the narrative and inserting myself, but I’m also trying to distance myself from it all at the same time. One of the things I wanted to accomplish with FU was to never feel the need to write another novel like it ever again. The demons are exorcised, I’ve exhaled it, time to move forward. That’s how it’s supposed to be, right? Ha! All that happens is you bring out more questions, more to dig out, and more confusion!
MM) The book is extremely lurid and violent, and relentless at that. Paraphilic sex, child murder and abuse, sexual violence, urban blight, hard drugs, suicide, self-harm, abject poverty and despair, opiatic anhedonia, and lives painfully lived abound in sordid detail. Trauma haunts the narrative as if the characters are marked, forsaken, doomed on arrival. What made this such a preoccupation for you? Do you have a fondness for “ugly art?” Pessimistic art? Antagonistic art?
DA) Trauma is the primary focus of the novel. It’s the core of where it started and it’s in my blood. I remember being a kid and reading books about survivors of rape and sex trafficking, and they had the most bullshit Disney endings, while I was in group therapy for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, thinking to myself, there’s no hope for any of us, so where’s our story? I went to a sobriety school and barely anyone came out of that place clean. My entire life has been spent around people that have been abused or have abused others.
It only makes sense that with an upbringing like mine, growing up surrounded by drugs and alcohol and having to talk with others for hours every week about my experience of being sexually abused, that I’d write this. Think of the sickest person in your head – I’ve met them. I know them. I can vividly feel them when I close my eyes.
Shock value was never my intention or of any interest to me while writing this book. If anything, that’s the last thing I want people to see, even though that’s probably an impossible task. FU is the ugly truth of what many people that experience trauma and mental illness go through when they aren’t given help and fall through all the cracks in this garbage society.
Ugly, pessimistic, and antagonistic art attracts me more than other forms of art, but I’m also pretty fond of lush romantic poetry.
MM) There’s some naturalistic, eschatological themes and imagery throughout, with the monsoon rain, floods and serpent fauna recurring as more than mere symbolic motifs, but features of the omnipresent, entropic milieux. Did you have climate change and the end of the world in mind? It’s a timely subject matter. Tell me about the pythons.
DA) If you’re in my age range (younger millennials and “zoomers”), then you’ve most likely grown up with the knowledge of climate change, the apocalyptic aspect of it, and how our world leaders care more about their profit than the greater good of humanity. It’s my personal belief that we’re at the point of no return. I don’t think it’s even possible to survive in a world where we’re attempting to find balance beyond what’s inevitable. Assuming you can live with the turmoil flow is inconceivable to me.
Climate change isn’t the primary focus of the novel, but it’s there in the atmosphere and the background for the entirety of it, sometimes sneaking in with a stronger presence here and there. There’s also this apocalyptic scenario involving an asteroid heading toward Earth that plays throughout the novel. However, nobody pays much attention to it, as it’s more written in symbolic terms than literal.
As a pluviophile, I knew I wanted to explore the nature of constant rain in a novel. At times, it’s cleansing and harmonic; other times, it’s destructive and claustrophobic. I’d like all of my novels to have a weather theme concerning climate change. It’s hard for me to believe you can write anything modern anymore without including the backdrop of our rapidly changing planet.
The pythons are one of many symbols in the novel, just like the Loretto staircase, ghosts, tropical plants, etc. Most of these ideas come from obsessions and dreams of my own. If you look up dream interpretations of various symbols, it adds other layers of meaning to those things. When I started to understand what those things meant in my own dreams, I figured that I could intertwine them into my novel as well. However, people can interpret these things however they want, and I find that more interesting than my own cheat codes to the novel.
MM) Furthermore, the novel engages with religion and spirituality, from heartland/bible belt evangelism to the plight of the Middle East, to the spiritual dimension of drug use. You’ve lived in the Midwest and the South yourself. How has where you’ve lived and how has your Jewish faith informed your work? Have you experimented with drugs and have you talked with or felt some communion/relationship with God? Are we all tarnished before the creator, or is there hope for salvation/redemption? Talk about the book’s spiritual muscles. Morality or hedonism?
DA) Elliott was raised in Muslim-majority countries before he and his mother came to the United States. His mother is an atheist that detests religion, while Elliott has always pined to be a Muslim. Even though he sometimes practices and goes with Islam’s beliefs, he won’t call himself an adherent because he was never given the ability to convert, and other times he fights against spirituality as well. Christianity is also imposed on him at times, and he also finds confusion in one character that’s a practicing Catholic, despite his abusive parents and the religion itself detesting him for being out and gay.
My religious background comes from being raised by two atheists in an interfaith family, while also being raised as a Jew, but just barely. It’s weird if you’re a religious minority, especially in highly Christian conservative areas (like the South and Midwest) – I would battle with wanting to ascribe to faith or be a misanthropic atheist. That’s how some of my personal experiences translate into FU.
These days, I consider myself a practicing Taoist Jew. Being a Gemini, I see life as a struggle of finding balances between two opposites, that nothing is monochrome, and most things fall into a gray area. Jews don’t have a clear concept of Heaven or Hell, nor do they hold the idea that there’s sins that you’ll be punished with for eternity. We focus on our current life instead of the afterlife, so salvation and redemption happen in the here and now, not on the astral plane, so to say. Nobody is ever fully enlightened. The human experience is to continually accept and fight back against the selfish desires that disillusion us.
Every character is in some way possessed by depravity. Some are simply sociopathic sadists. Others don’t even realize the danger they put themselves in, are unable to see red flags or don’t believe there’s a way out of their abusive situations.
The concept of hope is one of the backbones of the novel. How can you possibly believe anything will get better if you’ve experienced such heavy trauma, like every character in the novel has? Is faith and religion enough? On a social level, is hope even attainable for young people in this generation when you feel that the light is only getting dimmer? And yet, some of us strive and fight for it, regardless of the outcome.
MM) In eerie fashion, there’s a great deal of revolutionary, riotous fracas in the book, also incidentally prescient. How do you think Fucked Up addresses or reflects the status quo? Did you inadvertently immanentize the eschaton with your book? ‘cos if so, knock it off…
DA) Everything that’s currently happening in society, excluding climate change, has been happening since man hit two rocks together and made a fire. This garbage experiment known as humankind is so calculative, repetitive, and disappointing that it all feels like a simulation, a spreadsheet that’s already been written up, a bad joke that never ends. Adding climate change, which only throws more fires on everything else that’s been going on forever, things are just as ridiculously predictable and stupid. I’ve never believed in a future where our world leaders would take the needed steps to make this planet more habitable. Even as a kid, I never believed I’d go to college, own my own place, have a job where I’d make a livable wage, feel safe, sane, etc. Many people don’t like when this card is played, but that’s the experience of many young people right now.
What makes FU different from other transgressive novels is that many of those kinds of writers like to remove everything outside of what the characters are doing. The social and political is not part of the novel until someone gives it a subjective take on a podcast or an essay. Whether writers do this merely for aesthetics or to focus solely on the transgression, that’s fine, I get it, and it works, but I can’t do that. I’m too much of an empath. If I want to write an honest, personal novel with themes around mental illness, all forms of abuse, and addiction, how am I supposed to ignore how society plays into effect with those issues?
MM) Because you’ll inevitably be asked, let’s get in front of it. Are you attracted to the taboo, the transgressive, by virtue of itself, and why? What is the function and value, to you, of transgressive art? Or is it incidental how er…fucked up everything seems?
DA) I’m Elliott. I’m most of the characters. I’m not attracted to the taboo – I am the taboo, unfortunately. Being sexualized as a child really fucks your head up. It made me do some pretty stupid things as a kid that I can’t even say. Some of that is written in the book, but I’m not going to say which parts. It made me abuse drugs. I’d put myself in dangerous situations thousand times over. It also made me hypersexual. I’m not sure if I’m biased, but I think there’s this narrative that survivors of sexual abuse become asexual. That wasn’t the case for me or most people I’ve met that have gone through similar things. The internet is filled with violence and pornography, millions of ‘bizarre’ fetishes, and subcultures, which I got sucked into at too young of an age. The eclecticism of fetishes online and offline are heavily detailed in FU. This is the age of the internet, and as someone who has jacked off to enough weird shit, I knew that I had to expose that other part of me.
At the same time, it does feel incidental. As I said before, my intentions aren’t ever to shock people.
MM) Much of the dialogue feels somewhat mannered and deliberately stylized. Conversely, the narrator is conversational and digressive. You’ve used the term “anime-brain” before. You hold nothing back. The book is very maximalist warts n’ all, and features detailed expositional accounts of just about everything. Characters interrogate each other’s music tastes and no minutiae is overlooked. Tell me about the style of the book. When did you realize it would be a tome? It’s the longest book expat has yet published, but it reads briskly. Did you have aesthetics in mind while writing? There are some comical, histrionic qualities as well, a pitch-black gallows humor for the bizarre…
DA) Style and structure are more important to me than aesthetics. The novel is split into two parts, Side A, Side B. Next to writing, music is my biggest passion in life, and so it makes sense that I used the concept of a record to structure my novel or even symbolize a chunk of my life. You have to look closely at the grooves of a record to know which song is which. Concerning that, the reader can only guess where the next chapter ends or begins. It’s also my selfish way of holding a bit of power over the reader. I also hope it puts some sort of ominous conspiracy in the reader’s head or has some other abstract effect.
Both sides are like round shaped mirrors pointed at one another, excluding the first and last chapter of side B, which I see as the inner and outer core of the mirror/record. The events happen in loops, much like how my life was like during those times, going from one place, only for the same things to happen differently all over again, except ten times worse.
The dialogue is meant to feel as real as possible. It feels as if I grew up hearing the most hateful language thrown around in the ugliest manners possible, with nonstop arguments, screaming, and blaring voices spewing verbal abuse that made you want to kill yourself. That’s heavily incorporated into the novel. I wanted to master the art of writing the most explosive and aggressive monologues ever written.
The thing about hearing such horrible shit over a long period of time is that you become desensitized to it. Even worse, you end up laughing at it all. A family member, an abuser, or ex-friend could be saying the most offensive shit ever, and I’d find it so ridiculous, so over the top, that it felt funny. That’s where the gallows humor fits. Somehow, all of that reads funnier at times than it sounds out loud. I also felt that it would be necessary to have elements of humor to start off the novel since it sinks into some of the heaviest issues imaginable.
There’s a point in the novel where the gallows humor does vanish completely and all that’s left is… the gallows. I think the reader will know when that moment hits. When you feel that you’re at the bottom of that staircase, I warn you, the cave excavation goes deeper.
MM) The protagonist’s schizophrenia figures heavily, with visceral detours into cacophonous, persecutory thinking. This is very much an almost comic book on mental illness. How is the schizotypal mind foregrounded in the essence of hallucination that is this novel?
DA) Childhood-onset schizophrenia is different than that of adults. Hallucinations aren’t as complex. For example, aliens, ghosts, bugs, and animals are the most common visual hallucinations for those that have that version of it. I don’t think most people realize that auditory hallucinations are the most common form of hallucinations. When people have visual hallucinations, it’s not always a person or abstract monster right in front of you. Most commonly, it’s a shadow of some sort. However, most people’s experiences are unique and can’t be generalized. Schizophrenia goes through periods or phases, which is apparent with Elliott. His hallucinations come and go. Sometimes, he’s the sanest character. He also has a lot of comorbidities, meaning that a person has more than one mental illness or might have issues with addiction. His PTSD and addictive behaviors are other elements that only cause more dysfunction in the mess of his head.
The world is hurtling toward the apocalypse, everyone is panicking and going apeshit over the collapse of everything, but Elliott maneuvers through it as if it’s just another inevitable rainstorm. Take what you want from that from all that I’ve previously said and maybe that’ll make sense.
MM) I believe and you believe this book is a marker of queer literature. A testament to how the queer experience can be depicted, with no easy categories, buried under an onslaught of bleak brutality. What kind of voice for the marginalized do you see yourself as? How do you feel about the state of risky literature with respect to the climate, and what does it mean for the market you’re trying to target? What’s your message for others like you?
DA) Well, I wrote it for myself, as a gay male who doesn’t feel that he fits in anywhere, especially with mental illness issues. Most queer literature, even when it’s focused on serious subjects, feels too safe. It feels like it’s made to be marketable. A fucking fantasy. You can’t go too deep into reality. People might disagree with me, but I think it’s the LGBT+ community that has made some of these barriers for people like me to get their voice out. You’re more likely to experience all of these horrible things like homelessness, abuse, survival sex, etc because you’re LGBT+, but we need to be a safe space that only writes about those things in specific ways that are as non-triggering, ultra-inclusive, and safe as possible for all audiences to read. Yeah, fuck that bullshit. The market I’m personally targeting is probably small, but it’s mainly for outcasts, especially young people that currently feel like they have no voice. I hope it inspires other people to take risks and be true to themselves. I’m sure anyone that’s curious about the experiences and heavy themes will take an interest too because we’re all attracted to the morbid, whether we realize it or not. Some people get a thrill out of being shocked and put into hidden worlds they’re unfamiliar with. Of course, people also love reading transgressive fiction because it’s typically outsider and innovative, so I hope FU fits into and also breaks that bubble of expectations.
MM) Tell me about your fascination with serial killers, interest in extreme music and extreme internet art, exploitation and sexual deviancy, misfits and the disreputable, and how they present in the book. Is there an indulgent pleasure to be had reading and writing about this stuff? Or do you consider the book to be purely a feat of endurance to read? What is gained by writing about these themes? By adding it to the canon, as it were.
DA) The protagonist, Elliott, is the sole survivor of a serial killer, and this monster did exist in the real world. However, I don’t have a fascination with serial killers. If anything, I detest them. What interested me is how that killer was executed. He was flogged, stabbed by one of the victim’s mothers, then hanged by a crane for days before being disposed of. Despite it all, the killer seemed to have no emotion or remorse throughout this execution. I think it’s the same for most sociopathic murderers and rapists. Whether they’re caught or killed, they feel as if they’ve already won, no matter what happens to them. I don’t feel like I’ve had any justice for anyone that has hurt me. Those people continue to plague my mind, so it feels like they won a long time ago, and I won’t ever find comfort in the light of them.
As for extremity in art and deviancy, I think that’s part of anhedonia that you experience from trauma and addiction. You’ll look for anything just so that you can get a reaction from it or feel like something is real.
It’s not pleasurable or fun to write about those things or the disturbing content throughout the book. If anything, it’s humiliating and it would depress me, but that’s the point. It’s incidentally an endurance as you come closer toward the end of the novel. Things only gets heavier, angrier, and more brutal as it goes along. That’s a reflection of how I am. I’m very blunt, have anger issues, and like most of my family, my mouth is volatile.
MM) Throughout the narrative, the protagonist gets mixed up with all sorts of characters in often parasocial or predatory relationships. Some good natured amen corner of the wretched stuff and some pathological. Relief and attenuated terror is juxtaposed with the cycles of addiction. There’s an intersection of the erotic, the user/dealer dichotomy, the submissive and the dominant, culminating in a centerpiece, the character Matthias. Does Elliott (protagonist) ever break free of his need for these relationships? How does Elliott love, and what is his capacity for love like?
DA) Sex addiction takes up most of the novel. I knew from the get-go that I wanted to write the most depressing sex scenes possible while writing this. If you have PTSD from sexual abuse, sex can be pretty scary and confusing, especially if you’re hypersexual. There might be a sex scene that seems passionate and romantic, but then one trigger of the past comes about, and it’s all ruined. I wanted to incorporate that realism. Yeah, the novel is ‘erotic’ and ‘pornographic,’ but none of the sex in the novel turns me on, nor did I write it to do so.
Like many sexual abuse survivors, Elliott cannot see red flags, so he constantly puts himself in dangerous situations. His concept of love and affection is distorted. Most of the characters, including Elliott, use sex as a vessel to pretend they’re having sex with someone else, or attain a fetish and idea in their mind. For example, Sheree Rose pretends Elliott is her brother and Elliott pretends she’s a deceased musician that he’s attracted to.
As for the last two questions, I think they’re answered toward the end, but it’s up to the reader’s interpretation as well.
MM) There’s an undercurrent of self-loathing over failure to help or save certain people…and a struggle between getting fixes and obsessive survival, and altruism. A cast of characters is generally not saved, or beyond saving. Would you say your work is nihilistic in this respect? Misanthropic? Or romantic? Is there a belief in essential humanity and goodness after all is said and done?
DA) I’m not sure I know how to write characters that aren’t bent upon self-destruction and/or destroying others. In return, almost all of them are nihilistic and misanthropic. Not everyone that’s been damaged by others makes it out of this world alive. Very few do. Those that do typically struggle for a long time.
Even though FU is an incredibly depressing novel, filled with violence and general horror, I also wanted to give unexpected colors and bits of beauty through it all as well. It helps to let the reader breathe and feel like they’re slipping into a floral dream between one gruesome event after another. Romanticism is tragic, and so it’s both of those as well.
In the loom of an apocalypse, one must wonder if there’s even a point in healing oneself, connecting with a higher power, and figuring out what love is. By the end of the novel, there’s an answer for that as well.
MM) This is very much a story by and for the downtrodden. This is your professional field in life. Does it ever wear you down, watching others get ground through the system’s gears? How do you cope?
DA) Yeah… I’ve had a pretty fucking shitty life and I took as much out of it as I could while writing FU. Since I wrote it as honestly as possible, and in the most visceral and aggressive fashion, I think it can elicit empathy, regardless of one’s feelings toward any of the characters. I work with people that are homeless for a living, which is something I loved at first, but now it does wear me down, and I feel more hopeless about society than ever before. Coping is a daily struggle, but I do what’s recommended, and I do try. However, I do wonder if I’m practically on life support now.
When I was 18, I told myself that FU would be my suicide note. That changed when I met my boyfriend, Jon. Now that he’s gone, I gravitate toward that thought again. I believe that you should treat every serious project that you’re working on as if it’s your last. If is this the only novel that I put out, so be it, maybe it contains all the pieces needed for people to understand me, and maybe this manifesto will amount to something. However, it’d be nice if I could complete a few more things, at least one more piece…
MM) I know you hate this question, so I’ll phrase it another way. Name some artists who if they didn’t exist, neither would Fucked Up in its current incarnation. What brings you to the most elemental mode of expression, the written, and tell me about what art, in particular literature, and internet literature, means to you. Have you always made art, and how do you balance this intensive task with everything else? Fucked Up is no afterthought or diversion. It’s a sacrifice. To the altar of what, and to what end?
DA) Music is my primary motivation. Ambient, drone, shoegaze, slowcore, and classical is what I typically listen to when I’m writing. It helps to put me in that trance so that I can stay focused.
Sion Sono’s films are pretty maximalist and emotionally brutal, with that gallows humor that you mention. I’m pretty sure he’s had an unconscious influence on me. Some other films that have had a lifelong impact on me are End of Evangelion, Synecdoche, New York, and Possession.
My early days on Twitter of anonymous users posting minimalist poetic nothingness were influential to me. That’s around the time “alt lit” was booming and dying, something my friends were into, but I had more of an interest in romantic poetry, or… bizarro fiction.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, started experimenting in noise music. I went to art therapy as a kid, where other kids and I could be as free as we wanted with what we wanted to make. The permission to express myself in those young years of my life is what permitted myself to write, unfiltered, anything I want, and however I want.
FU is a simple stance, is a culmination of all things transgressive that I sucked up, along with my own existence, and transformed into a testament. On a more personal level, it’s my representation of what it’s like as a young person who’s mentally ill in this current era. It’s also my way of trying to close the door on parts of my life.
As I’ve gotten older and had to ‘survive’ while being mentally ill, I’ve found it harder to write among other terrible things that have recently happened to me.
MM) What do you hope the major takeaways from Fucked Up will be? Besides the novel which you are now basically “touring” on, what other projects keep you occupied? I know you make music and I know you’ve met some collaborators along the way. Will there be a next novel? How often are you writing these days? Any projects you’d like to get us psyched on?
DA) We need more transgressive work by LGBT+ writers. For those that are only readers, I hope they see it as another addition to the very few novels out there that fit under the umbrella of transgressive fiction that’s heavily LGBT+. I also hope that it inspires or lets other writers know that they can write whatever they want without playing by rules for the sake of “safety” or out of fear of offending others. Maybe other publishers will also be more considerate to these voices. Better yet, what if LGBT+ publishers were more willing, too? Expand and poison the bubble!
Hopefully, I’ll finish a few more novels, or at least one more. I’m working on a novella of my childhood, but I might just keep it to myself when it’s done or publish it anonymously. I don’t know yet. I’d also write a novel 100% inspired by and dedicated to my boyfriend, Jon, who passed away in January of 2020.
There’s other projects in mind or that I’ve already started, like this dystopian fuckscape of a novel that takes the misanthropy of FU and burns it up in a glass pipe. However, I’ve put that on the backburner because I want to do something for Jon, and people are writing the same shit way better than I ever could, so I’ll need to write it in a way in which I’m removed from all inspiration that’s online and offline.
The dystopian fuckscape and some other projects might make FU fans happier than ever, you sick fucks, but I’m a different person than I was when I wrote FU. At the moment, that’s not what I write anymore. Maybe I’ve matured? Ugh. Fuck maturity. That makes writing boring. But for now, I have to be. Losing someone you were in love with is different than losing a family member. It’s a different kind of trauma than anything else I’ve experienced, so my response is… Confusing. Different. But extremely heavy and intense. But yeah, I’m not the same Damien Ark that I was when I was twenty-two or twenty-three.
MM) When you’re not immersed in fictional and artistic worlds, what’s your life like?
DA) I’m feeding people that are homeless, working at shelters, putting my life at risk, going to therapy, seeing a psychiatrist, masturbating, trying to sleep, not sleeping, sleeping, catatonic, anxious, suicidal, sometimes writing, listening to music, sometimes reading, praying, …
…Trying to believe and live in hope.