"The World Is No Longer Mysterious": Richard Siken, "Supernatural," And Why They Correlate

"The World Is No Longer Mysterious": Richard Siken, "Supernatural," And Why They Correlate

No, "Crush" wasn't inspired by the show.

In 2005, the first episode of Eric Kripke's "Supernatural" aired on the CW. A year prior, Richard Siken's poetry book "Crush" won the 2004 Yale Series for Younger Poets. At their inceptions, it is doubtful that either Kripke or Siken anticipated the plethora of fans they would attract over the next ten years. However, today both have gathered huge fanbases, in part due to promotion through the blogging website Tumblr.

Of course, fans of the two were bound to overlap. (Guilty as charged.) And it didn’t take long for the people both watching "Supernatural" and reading "Crush" to connect the two works.

"Supernatural" follows the journeys of Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers who travel the United States under their motto, "Saving people. Hunting things. The family business." Basically, they’ve been tracking down and killing monsters their entire lives, ever since their mother was killed by a demon when Sam was a baby and Dean was four.

"Crush" deals with many of the same themes as "Supernatural," including the open road, guns and violence, a pervading sense of danger, and codependent love. Of course, Siken's book was accepted for publication before "Supernatural" even aired, but that has not stopped fans from asserting that "Crush" was inspired by the Winchester boys.

Last winter, to promote the release of his second book of poetry entitled "War of the Foxes," Siken created a Tumblr blog, posting think pieces on the reception of "Crush" over the past ten years and following blogs with a presence in his own fandom. (He hasn't posted in months, but for some reason, his blog is still up. And for some reason, he still follows me. It’s always been a little unnerving.)

In one of his think pieces, Siken spoke in-depth about this movement of fans linking his work to other media, especially "Supernatural." As he puts it, there was "no interaction between poet and show." In an interview discussing this, Siken maintains that both "Crush" and "Supernatural" are "products of a cultural moment, not products of each other."

Through Tumblr, for a brief period of time, Siken was involved with "Sherlock," another fandom that connects to "Crush." The difference between this and "Supernatural" is that "Supernatural" so closely correlates to "Crush's" themes that people all but insist they are the same work. The distinction between poet and show in "Sherlock" is obvious. In Siken's own words, he "can participate in the Sherlock fandom because there's room for [him]. It's impossible to confuse ["Sherlock"] and 'War of the Foxes.'"

But it is not impossible to confuse "Supernatural" and "War of the Foxes." Don't get me wrong here, I in no way believe "War of the Foxes" was inspired by "Supernatural." I think, like was mentioned about "Crush," both works are products of culture, and thus both works mirror each other in theme and emotion. And in terms of emotion, "War of the Foxes" is not dissimilar to "Crush." Maybe it's a little more large-scale, because it lacks "Crush's" constant narrator and specific address, but the same feelings are still evoked: confusion, anger, desperation.

In whatever he writes, from books to blog posts to editorial letters, Siken tackles the rawness of life, buried issues we don't like to think about everyday. Issues we can't think about everyday, or we'd all crack up. But Siken is not afraid to confront matters like love that develops into an inability to exist independently, unromantic suicide, or the monotony of always running away.

"Supernatural" also does not shy away from these matters. Of course, we're not all demon-fighting brothers raised on whiskey instead of baby formula whose only real home is the backseat of an Impala, but the extended metaphor of battling personal monsters and keeping on the run from them is one that definitely resonates, at least for me.

The similarities between "Crush," "War of the Foxes," and "Supernatural," are striking, but not because they were inspired by each other. They are similar because they were inspired by the same aspects of life, and they each describe these aspects more explicitly than most, even though they are shrouded in metaphors.

Maybe a relationship between Siken and "Supernatural" isn't to be made; maybe I'm either, (a) delusional, or (b) grasping at straws. Or maybe art really does reflect life, and both works just so happen to do that in the same vein. Whatever the case, both Siken and Kripke present their own creations, and if you're going to compare the ocean to a blackbird, the least you can say is, they both are exquisitely beautiful.

Buy Richard Siken's "Crush" here and "War of the Foxes" here. Watch "Supernatural" on the CW, Wednesdays at 9/8c or on Netflix.

Cover Image Credit: Home of the Nutty

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The 5 People You WON'T Meet In Heaven: Hollywood Edition

Despite their significant influence, they will not be found in Heaven.

Some of you, or none of you, may be familiar with Mitch Albom’s best-seller, The Five People You Meet In Heaven. In the novel, the protagonist meets five people who profoundly influenced his life or vice versa, and he learns about the reasons for their or his own influence.

In 2017, and long before, the following high-profile Hollywood men were accused of sexual misconduct in ranging degrees.

Although these men differ in circumstances and their influence on the United States’ social climate, they all remain individuals who you should not expect to see in Heaven.

1. Bill Cosby

As of June 2017, CNN reported that over 50 women accused Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct. The allegations against Cosby began as early as 2000, but intensified in October 2014 when comedian Hannibal Buress’ routine went viral, where he alluded to Cosby's misdemeanors, and women began to speak out and identify themselves as those who he abused. The allegations included reports that he would “forcibly grab and kiss” women, and many alleged that they were raped by Cosby. The link between the women who came forward was their confirmation that he drugged them, and then for some that there were periods of time that they could not account for before waking up unclothed or disheveled. As the number of accusers reached the twenties, The Washington Post reported in December 2014 that colleges — including his alma mater, University of Massachusetts at Amherst — severed ties with Cosby. More recently, The New York Times reported that Cosby’s case was declared a mistrial on June 17, 2017, and it was published on Aug. 22, 2017 that the retrial would be postponed until March, five months later than originally planned.

2. Harvey Weinstein

As recently as Dec. 13, 2017, USA Today published an updated list of the 84 accusers who came forth with allegations against Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Weinstein denied the allegations leveled against him, which ranged from propositions for massages to rape, according to USA Today. The one silver-lining to be found following the explosive details published by The New York Times and The New Yorker in October 2017 is the #MeToo movement, which ignited many individuals to share their stories of sexual harassment or assault in the workplace. Nonetheless, Weinstein’s grossly inappropriate actions not only violated dozens of women, but also preyed upon many young women who were trying to enter the entertainment industry and were barely legal.

3. Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey made headlines when Buzzfeed News published an interview on Oct. 30, 2017, where actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Spacey “made a sexual advance towards him when Rapp was 14.” Rapp, who is now 46, claimed the advance occurred during a party at Spacey’s apartment in 1986, and that the older actor laid on top of him. BBC News also reported other men who came forward with allegations of harassment and assault that Spacey directed toward them. Additionally, CNN reported that the “House of Cards” set was a “toxic” environment due to Spacey’s inappropriate behavior aimed toward crew members who worked alongside Spacey on the series. Amidst the accusations and denouncements from other celebrities — and Netflix and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, who refused to work on the final season of “House of Cards” if Spacey was involved and award him a special Emmy award, respectively — Spacey was also condemned for publicly recognizing in an official statement that he “choose[s] now to live as a gay man."

4. Woody Allen

Woody Allen is still a household name despite the allegations from his adopted daughter with Mia Farrow, Dylan Farrow, that he sexually abused her in 1992 when she was 7-years-old. As Farrow recounted decades ago, she was brought by Allen into the attic, and it was there that he allegedly laid his head on her lap with his face toward her body. Her claims were supported by adult witnesses on the day in question. Vanity Fair reported that on the day in question, one babysitter stated, “Allen and Dylan went missing for 15 or 20 minutes”, another claimed that Farrow was “staring vacantly in the direction of a television set” and a French tutor testified that Farrow was not wearing underpants under her sundress. More recently, Farrow decided to sit down with co-host Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” in a Jan. 18 interview that discussed the allegations. Separately, Allen is also married to Soon-Yi Previn, who he began an affair with while still in a relationship with Previn’s adoptive mother, Mia Farrow. Allen denied that he was in any way a father-figure toward Previn or any of Farrow’s adopted children, according to Salon.

5. Louis C.K.

Following the string of accusations toward men in Hollywood, Louis C.K. was accused by five women on Nov. 9, 2017 of sexual misconduct, according to The New York Times. The first pair of women, comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, recalled Louis C.K. inviting them to his hotel room for a nightcap after a show. He then removed his clothes and masturbated in front of them, after asking if he could take out his penis, which they initially thought was a joke. Other women came forward as well, one stating that during a phone conversation she could hear him masturbating, and another claiming that he asked her if he could masturbate in front of her, which she declined. Louis C.K. later released a statement that “These stories are true.”

Cover Image Credit: Entertainment Tonight

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Spiritual Warfare inside of her Poetic Spirit

"I feel like I'm drowning in my waste of impatience." Mrs. Powercouple

Continuing to type Mrs. Powercouple begins this quest using poetry. 

"I feel like I'm drowning in my waste of impatience. I'm taking the snakes fate for this fake reality I'm now faced with causing my destiny hatred. This snare is impairing my love and care, I ask him to leave and he disappears, then comes back clearing away all the paths paved to my heart. He tells me lies like Mr. P wouldn't waste his time loving a woman like I. Instead I should expect to be alone for the rest of my life. Day and night I await, while I sit alone and pace, faced with this intake of lies. My moods throw in a loop, I'm now confused with which feeling to choose from. If I'm too happy I'll lose it and end up bruised but then I get too hurt and gain enthusiasm from it's intake. Sometimes I misplace my loves steps with my mistakes. Mr. Powercouple deserves heaven but part of my spirit is still fighting with the gate keepers. The sneaky testers, testing my patience, gaining treasures from the pleasures of having a woman's attention. Their pain is my hex because I am blessed and cursed with compassion. If anyone happened to get hurt because of me I would lose my mind. I find myself climbing through this obstacle of time, but with each pull my arm gets cut from the incline. It's like the bars are knives, but with each reach I learn to be stronger. I guess that's where the savage in me is created, because although I am a slave to my sin, I also know there is hope for me to be saved. Especially when I'm caved in, suffocating from the ashes of the graved men. I know my blood shed is my shield so I refuse to die in-vain when it's my time to go."

An older man's breath from behind her hums the expression, "Pst" forcing Mrs. P to turn around. "I'm sorry ma'am but your name wasn't on the sign in sheet and there is a line waiting to use the computers." Blinking her eyes back to reality, Mrs. P apologizes and saves her work. Leaving the library, she looks back in gratitude then continues on her way. 

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