Kris Kidd x The Altar Collective Present...
I CAN'T FEEL MY FACE
Kris Kidd is an undeniable powerhouse. His freckled face resembles that of someone youthful, but his eyes are dark— hollowed out by something unforeseen. His left hand holds a cigarette or a mixed drink in haphazard intervals, but you’ll be hard pressed to find his right hand clutching anything but his iPhone. He is the American youth as seen through a funhouse mirror— fractured and disjointed. Almost caricature-like in his mannerisms, he is either the most brutally honest, or the most frighteningly comedic depiction of the current generation that has been seen yet.
His collaboration with The Altar Collective seemed about as organic as the food he writes about purging. We were looking for a project that would branch out from our current collection of poetry and prose, and he was looking for an outlet through which he could complain. The bond was as natural and immediate. The collaboration, entitled I Can’t Feel My Face, is a no-holds-barred descent into emptiness, excess, and exasperation. His essays are a half-hearted commentary on a generation of instant gratification, as told by a narrator who is all too gratified and nonetheless ungrateful.
When did you first start writing?
It’s difficult to say. I started a blog when I was about fourteen (Loose Tooth// Lost Youth) as a way to document what was going on in my life at the time, but I never considered what I was writing to be anything of importance. It was more for me than for anyone else. I mean, we’re talking run-on sentences, misplaced commas, zero capitalization— the blog was about a big a trainwreck as I was. When I was eighteen, I started to sift through it. I had gone back to school and was taking English and writing classes, and wanted to see if there was a way to create something out of my adolescent ramblings. I guess that’s sort of where I am now, piecing things together and trying to tie individual struggles to more relatable ones that might resonate with readers.
How far do you plan to go with your writing? Do you plan on publishing more in the future?
I’m really not sure. At this point I’m still trying to figure out whether or not writing is a talent I truly possess, or something that comes naturally to me when talking about myself. I do enjoy it though. I have about thirty haphazard essays (beginnings and endings, nothing complete) on my computer right now that delve even deeper into my adolescence, and deal with more specific issues. If I can create something whole that I’m proud of, I’d love to publish a full-length book. Only if I can title it Has Anybody Seen My Phone? though. Haha!
Are all your stories (semi)autobiographical?
As far as the collection I just referenced goes, yes. And I’d like to think that they are fully autobiographical. The pieces I write do tend to branch out and follow weird, abstract tangents, but I believe they all tie back to who I am, and what it’s been to try and find myself.
What does your story give to readers?
I guess it would depend on the reader. I think on a surface level, and this is why I tend to garner so much online hate, my stories come off as shallow and self involved. Something I’ve been told of my work time and again is that it lacks substance and value. What I find funny is that I believe that this self-absorption is actually what gives my writing its substance and value. This may sound like I’m giving myself too much credit, but I actually spend a lot of time and effort on trying to tie each of my pieces to a feeling, emotion, or issue that I feel is relevant and relatable to readers my age and to anyone who has ever had to interact or deal with someone my age. Talking endlessly about myself is an attempt to discuss this generation. We are the millennials and we are self-involved. It bothers people, and I think the fact that my writing bothers people means that I’m doing something right.
What impact do you hope to make on readers?
I guess I sort of already answered this, but to be more specific, the only real impact I hope to make on my readers can go one of two ways. On one end, someone might read this collection of essays and think, “Holy shit. I’ve totally thought and felt this before, maybe I’m not such a terrible person after all.” Or, someone could read it and think “Wow. This guy is terrible. What a fucking wreck. At least I’m better than that.” Either way, I hope it’s a sense of comfort for the reader— comfort in not being alone, or comfort in not being that bad of a person.
What is your favorite thing about working with The Altar Collective?
It’s been a very unique experience. I feel very fortunate because right from the get-go, The Altar Collective allowed me free reign. These six essays are all very close to me and they each have their own personal importance in my own mind. But the fact of the matter is that the innate subject matter of this collection of essays is very dark, and at times, incredibly offensive. I believe, and will always believe, that The Altar Collective was really brave to take a chance on this collection of essays, and to allow me to publish them uncensored, and in full. I am endlessly grateful for them allowing me to get these essays and these thoughts off my chest unconditionally.
What is your favorite essay in I Can't Feel My Face and why?
Balloon Animals, without a doubt. While many of these essays took me weeks, if not months, to finish and be wholly proud of, I finished Balloon Animals in one sitting. It’s the most open and honest thing I’ve ever written, and I think that’s what gives it its weight. There are little to no literary devices used in it. It’s more of a rambling confession. I thought it was a great way to end I Can’t Feel My Face, by just sort of laying it all out there, you know? It’s funny because I’ve been talking about how much time and effort I’ve put into tying my work to generational issues and problems, but this essay is for me, one hundred percent. It’s not about distorted body image, or drug and alcohol abuse, or racism. It’s about me, and who I am, and what it means to be that person. I think it really ties the rest of the essays together, and sort of gives reasoning for my actions throughout I Can’t Feel My Face.
What made you want to pursue I Can't Feel My Face?
You know, I feel like so many people have commented on our generation, but very few of those people have been people from our generation. So much has been said about us— how shallow we are, how numb we are, how reckless we are— but nothing I’ve read has delved into why, or what it feels like to be that numb and that shallow. To be clear, I’m not saying I believe I’m the first person to tackle this issue, nor do I believe I will be the last, but I really wanted to publish I Can’t Feel My Face as an exploration of this generation, and what it means to be a part of it, self absorption and all.
What would you like your readers to know before reading I Can't Feel My Face?
Absolutely nothing. I mean, sure, I understand that a lot of my readers will be people who already follow me online and understand a little bit of what I’m about, but I really don’t think there’s a need for much more than that. I want the reader to sit down, finish it in one sitting, and take from it whatever they’d like. There is no preface. It is what it is.
Photos by Katherine Hogan
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