“Now let’s take the desperate reader, who is presumably the audience for the literature of desperation. What do we see? First: the reader is an adolescent or an immature adult, insecure, all nerves. He’s the kind of fucking idiot (pardon my language) who committed suicide after reading Werther. Second: he’s a limited reader. Why limited? That’s easy: because he can only read the literature of desperation, or books for the desperate, which amounts to the same thing, the kind of person or freak who’s unable to read all the way through In Search of Lost Time, for example, or The Magic Mountain (a paradigm of calm, serene, complete literature, in my humble opinion), or for that matter, Les Miserables or War and Peace. Am I making myself clear? Good. So I talked to them, told them, warned them, alerted them to the dangers they were facing. It was like talking to a wall. Furthermore: desperate readers are like the California gold mines. Sooner or later they’re exhausted! Why? It’s obvious! One can’t live one’s whole life in desperation. In the end the body rebels, the pain becomes unbearable, lucidity gushes out in great cold spurts. The desperate reader (and especially the desperate poetry reader, believe me) ends up by turning away from books. Inevitably he ends up becoming just plain desperate. Or he’s cured! And then, as part of the regeneration process, he returns slowly – as if wrapped in swaddling cloths, as if under a rain of dissolved sedatives – he returns, as I was saying, to a literature written for cool, serene readers, with their heads set firmly on their shoulders. This is what’s called (by me, if nobody else) the passage from adolescence to adulthood . . .” – Roberto Bolano, the Savage Detectives
Founded one strange night in a Logan Square apartment by Stephanie Lane Sutton, Nate Olison and Jasmine Neosh, the West Side School for the Desperate is an attempt at creating a home for the artistically and spiritually orphaned– those firebrand, restless, twenty-who-gives-a-fuck year olds who find themselves disheartened by the shallowness and lack of passion that seems to pervade so much of the creative community. We are makers and destroyers: writers, musicians, filmmakers and artists of all kinds who don’t just want to make art, but want to make good art, and who want you to make good art too.
Currently accepting proposals for programming beginning Spring 2011 and applications for housemates.