The Trickster’s Mask: an interview with Scott-Patrick Mitchell (part i)

spm, . the tricking post . blows up the idea of the love letter. what is it about this form that drew you in and when did you realise you were on to something truly amazing?

i’ve always adored the love letter, or rather it’s modern counterpart, the love text. there’s something so highly personable about them. and yes, i have gone through entire relationships saving every text message in an effort to map the trajectory of the relationship. but there’s the rub right there – people don’t write letters anymore. we text. we tweet. we status update. at the most we email. but we don’t actually write. not letters. and not by longhand it seems.

so the idea of writing letters for the public space seemed appropriate. but no-one wants to read about a normal life – we have twitter and facebook for that. no, they want to read about the car crash that is your life. and better slow motion car crash than the break up of a relationship.

i wouldn’t say i knew i was on to anything truly amazing either. well… not until the letters were written and posted up in public spaces. that’s when people started addressing them to other people. to be honest i never expected people to do that. there was a certain thrill when they did though. so i’d say it was people’s reactions that amazed me, not the letters themselves… which is kinda how i live my life: i’m constantly amazed by the people who surround me and whom find themselves attracted to what i do.

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so people have actually addressed these letters to other people and sent them off? that is wild. are there any specific stories you can tell about that? how did you first find out?

addressed is the right term, yes, but the letters were already posted, as it were. i lugged 36ix plus A0 print outs through the midnight streets of post-industrial hoon ridden newcastle, indisputably our nation’s most cultural city. i posted the letters at intervals, already determined by a map i had developed back home. i love maps you see. jung always told me that in order to achieve happiness in adulthood, you should mimic that which brought you the greatest joy as a child. as a child, i loved drawing maps. i would have married a map if marriage had (& now was/is/ever when) been something i had thought about it. but it wasn’t. cartography was, however. i obsessed over imaginary maps of imaginary worlds. so armed with my own i ventured forth to complete what was then known as The Trickster’s Bible, The Trickster’s mask you see on the cover here a marker as to where to post a poem as act of vandalism. all predetermined. a bad move, considering how hillock newcastle wills it.

elaboration is a friend here.

i obsess over street art more than maps. although the 2wo are the same. i had recently discovered a performative form of street art: parkour. the parkour logic was simple – let us travel through the city in the least moves possible, even if that means we flip & climb & sidewind over the pedestrians & furniture. the leader of parkour path is called a traceur, or tracer in olde mOther tongue. they trace the path of least resistance. to travel, 1ne must know how to compile tricks. tricks build up into moves. a move can comprise of many tricks, a trick evolving in difficulty & stratagem from A to B to C, naturally. the traceur learns their tricks from the holy tome of parkour, The Tricking Bible.

can you begin to see how the horizon arrived here now?

so… what would happen if instead of travelling through the city with ease, you were travelling with disease, a septic heart, a stalker’s want & need for that which is imaginary. what if The Trickster, the loveable loki, that dear old poe crow, mr miserable with being a god with only the power to cause mayhem & not thunderbolts, gotta hold of The Tricking Bible. what if they used it to clamber & stumble faster after you. what if in their wake they ached their bleeding heart across the landscape. what if every secret you had forged together suddenly spilt out & became public.

notice the lack of rhetoric. this wasn’t a hypothetical. it was hyper unethical.

the bible remained. it was holy then. now, it’s for the masses. the gods are all dying anyway.

so yes… the letters were posted that night. the following morning they addressing had occurred. i first found out by retracing my own traceur but in reverse. comrade in crime, foreword writer & the most feared man in electrocabaret, mr tomás ford accompanied both at night & the following day. by this point – & a near fatal arrest by the fuzz on the very last poem posted – he hated my guts. which was understandable. i hated me too by this point – exertion & effort are my least favourite things you see. but when we saw the blue texta scrawl of some poor unfortunate souls name after the dear ________, mr ford’s life lit back up. he gushed all over the pavement & my shoes. as mentioned before, this is what i strive for more than anything: the reactions people have to what i do.

no, i did not expect these people to address the post & resend it, i suppose, but i was glad they did. i have photos somewhere i can dig out for you if you so like.

does that make sense? i’m sure there are gaps – there should always be gaps. that’s why we write poetry… to give the gaps something to say.

. the tricking post . is available now at Black Rider Press

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1 Comment

Filed under interviews/artist profiles, poetry & publishing

One response to “The Trickster’s Mask: an interview with Scott-Patrick Mitchell (part i)

  1. Wow – interesting interview! I’ve downloaded (love the instantaneousness) and will read at my leisure 🙂 or when I have a moment – haha

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