A Day in My Life as Reviewed by Rolling Stone
by Angela Genusa
The day begins with Genusa’s take on the classic getting out of bed, which is beyond belief on every level. She staggers to the coffee pot, to the tune of “Blister in the Sun.” Jesus, talk about a buzzkill. Caffeine, anyone? Genusa makes a pot of coffee so thick, so strong, it’s either bombastic or brilliant, self-indulgent or sublime. It’s a perfect moment, though, given the strange way Genusa has foraged through American junk culture, from the 1968 Sears Catalog to 1990’s “Twin Peaks” by David Lynch to 2004’s Has Been by William Shatner. She pours a cup, reworking the mix into a hard-hitting trance-hop beat of coffee, cream, and sugar.
She sits down at her computer, getting ready to riff on popular culture. Intent on skewering armchair naysayers, she sets out at a spaghetti-western tempo. While her writing may not be, she is by turns amusing, poignant, irreverent, self-deprecating, droll, and sometimes profound. Who’da thunk? Sipping coffee, she does what she does best, mulling over ideas she has scratched down in notebooks and on any available scrap of paper. She hops from idea to idea, genre to genre, picking up scraps of word, rhythm, and sound to be cut and pasted together in collage form.
Meanwhile, her attention deficit disorder is so droll and insightful, we’re thinking Oscar. There are too many Memento-like moments to mention, her movements meandering backwards and forwards in a Möbius strip of lyrical mental gymnastics. Med minders, Post-it notes and mnemonics all help her remember who she is and what she is supposed to be doing at any given moment. Even then, at times, she forgets and veers off on another tangent toward the spirited, hyperfocused work of a spoken-word performance artist with the heebie-jeebies.
Today will get Genusa accused of plagiarizing yesterday, but today has a different pace. She dashes off humor piece after humor piece in They Might Be Giants’ “Dial-A-Song” fashion and submits them to editors, whose taste there is no accounting for. Tune in and you can’t miss the lighthearted truths juxtaposed with the evil punk-rock rips on society, converting the rhythm of televangelists into the gospel for anyone who has ever woken up feeling like the narrator in the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.”
And you can’t miss the adult angst in the spoken-word vocals. Genusa is 43 now and can’t pretend to be the same wide-eyed, channel-flicking, cultural dumpster-diving whiz kid who buzzed with wisecracking smartass charisma of earlier years. Today, she isn’t trying to duplicate what she did 10 years ago; instead she works to find a way to invigorate her imagination, by turning its dregs into humor. At the end of the surreal and symphonic day, realizes her entire day has been one big Barton Fink-like moment of dark comedy. However, the best moment of the day is when she talks in her sleep, which sees Genusa sounding completely old-school, letting her typically clever wit and black humor dominate. Overall, it makes for her best day in some time, and for anyone not a purist, it’s possibly her best ever.
Angela Genusa is a writer of experimental fiction, poetry, and humor. A real smartass, she once asked her new creative writing teacher, Steve Barthelme, “Any relation to Donald?” Oops, her bad. Some of her work can be found on the Web in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
, The Black Table
, and Opium Magazine
, among others. She weaves burlap and gold into the fabric of our lives.