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photos / KATIE HOGAN
story / KOKO NTUEN

“I’m like those Jeff Koons pieces— the balloon animals— all shiny and pretty, but hollow on the inside.”

– Kris Kidd

 

I Can’t Feel My Face is the collection of essays and narratives by the poster boy for the Millennials, himself, Kris Kidd. In the essays, Kris brilliantly and unabashedly describes the most fucked up and vulnerable  details of his life ranging from drug abuse, people abuse, underage drinking, clubs, therapy and suicide, in an anything-goes, Adderall-induced rhythm that makes you dizzy with intrigue.

 

He makes no excuses in his writing and clearly does not care if you are judging him or not. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything, instead describing situations that are clearly offensive and dangerous as though he is unaware of his audience’s existence. His writing seems to be a self-absorbed monologue  that is based on his own self importance, traumas and manipulation of the world. It’s a borderline narcissistic personality disorder narrative that will horrify the reader while simultaneously creating a desire to read as much as possible
 

These stories do push the boundaries of TMI, however Kris is a surprisingly likable protagonist that you would rather have a drink with and hug than block on Facebook.

 

Skinny, troubled, beautiful, and fashion-oriented; Kris Kidd is full of drama and young and recklessness. We want a movie.

I Can’t Feel My Face is out now.You can pick up a copy at the  The Altar Collective, Marc Jacobs’ Bookmarc, or Createspace.

Where are you now?
Wait, like mentally? Or physically? Mentally I’m kind of all over the place at the moment. Physically, I’m at Starbucks.

 

Why were you in the hospital recently?
I guess I hemorrhaged, or something. It was really annoying and melodramatic. I bled for, like, ten hours.

 

How much of your work is autobiographical and how much is fiction?
All of it is autobiographical.

 

How did you get set up with The Alter Collective?
Katie Hogan of The Altar Collective actually approached me in October of 2013 about doing a collection of poetry. I told her that I had stopped writing poetry, but shared with her some of the essays I had been working on. She was immediately on board, and she just sort of took over from there. It’s been great.

 

What does your mother think of your work and are you guys close?
Umm… she knows it exists. So, there’s that. But yeah, we’re chill. My mom has always been supportive of me. She’s really honest and caring and kind. She’s a kindergarten teacher. She’s like the total opposite of me.

 

The events of your father’s death were so tragic. Are you still in therapy and has writing been therapeutic for you in general?
It was whatever. I think a lot of other shit in my life has fucked me up a lot worse. As far therapy goes, I’m technically still going, I’m just never there. You know? And yes, writing is totally therapeutic. Especially the way I’ve been doing this— you know, sort of dissecting everything and making a joke out of it— it’s allowed me to become a lot more objective about the events that have taken place in my life.

 

Do you keep a journal? And if so it is handwritten or typed?
I use the “Notes” app on my iPhone. It’s literally a warzone in there: Bits and pieces of phrases, and fragments of thought. It’s a bunch of obscene headings followed by the endings and beginnings of sentences I’m usually too drunk to start or finish. It’s a lot of fun to look at, but it can get really stressful when I’m trying to tie these notes in to tangible pieces of work.

 

Where do you find yourself writing most?
I have this really ridiculous set up at my desk, and I would definitely consider it to be my “writing spot.” It’s this gnarly old wooden desk, and on it is my computer, and then, like, a bottle opener, and an ashtray my friend got for me for my seventeenth birthday that says, “The Bitch’s Ashtray.” Its super disorganized and everything’s covered in ash and I really should be way more embarrassed about telling you this.

 

How much is social media jargon incorporated in your writing?
Too much, according to every editor/collaborator I’ve ever worked with. Everyone keeps telling me that my penchant for namedropping different forms of social media is going to pidgeon-hole or otherwise “date” me. It’s funny, I’ve never set out to write anything classic, and so I’ve never thought twice about dating myself by talking about things like Twitter and Facebook and shit. If someone stumbles across my work a hundred years in the future and has no idea what I’m talking about, so be it. I think there’s something really rad about writing and creating things people can connect with here and now.

 

Do you ever take notes while you are out so you can remember later because you’re so drunk or high?
Please refer to question #7. Haha! Seriously though, it’s embarrassing how spot-on this question is.

 

When people find out you are a published writer are they hesitant to around you?
They don’t really get a chance to be! I’m actually an incredibly reserved person when it comes to meeting new people. I’m very much a part of the “No new friends” mentality. So the only people that should be hesitant around me are the friends I’ve had for years. I write about the stupid shit they do all the time. But they already know that, so… I don’t know, I think my friends keep a lot of secrets from me. Haha!

 

What writers do you enjoy or look up to?
David Sedaris has always impressed me with his ability to relate to such a mass crowd of people. Of course, Bret Easton Ellis is also a favorite, but more for his ability to capture the unique combination of apathy and despair that accompanies youth than for anything else. Then, you know, Hunter S. Thompson, J. T. Leroy, Frederick Seidel… I also really like Maureen Medved. I’ve only read The Tracey Fragments, but it remains a favorite of mine to this day.

 

Who would play you in the Hollywood adaptation of I Can’t Feel My Face?
Macaulay Culkin, please.

 

What is the most glamorous thing about drugs to you?
I don’t know. They make you skinny, I guess. You know, it’s strange… For as much as I get called out for “glamorizing” drugs, I really don’t find them all that glamorous. People make such a big deal out of things. Drugs are actually kind of boring.

 

What do you enjoy doing?
My all-time favorite pastime is getting jacuzzi-drunk while reading a good book. Hands down. No questions asked.

 

What are you legally on?
Legally? Just Vicodin and Norco right now.

 

What is the best music to listen to when you are coming down?
Ceremony by New Order on repeat in my iTunes library while I sit in bed and cry and drink Lemon-Lime Gatorade.

 

Is there a genre for this type of writing like yours, Cat Marnell, Elizabeth Wurtzel…and so on? What name would you give it and do comparisons bother you?
I’m kind of into the namelessness of the genre. I guess you could say it’s, like, memoir-esque, but it’s a lot less self-help-oriented. It’s not new, by any means, but I definitely think that modern technology is providing a fresh way to spin it. And no, the comparisons don’t bother me in the slightest. If anything, it’s actually kind of rad to be considered a part of the world of literary train wrecks.

 

What is up next for you? Are your working on a new collection of stories?
I am, actually! It’s all super top-secret for now, but I should be able to say a bit more about it within the year. Other than that, I have a really rad collaboration in the works with LA-based Cast of Vices that I’m really excited about, as well as a music video I did for DAZED Digital that’s set to release later this month. It’s been a crazy year already, but I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given so far.

In June of 2009, I tell my father to kill himself. We’re standing in the kitchen, and he’s crying and I’m wearing a
$300 sweater with, like, an oversized hood sort of thing going on, holding the biggest knife I can find. It’s all very avant-garde.
In July of 2009, my father blows his brains out in the backyard. I’m in the kitchen, deciding what color I’m going to dye my hair (my father never let me), and watching through the window as he is zipped into a body bag.
I know it sounds a bit trite, but I really do get everything I want now. They say life is a game, and I guess I might agree if the stakes were a little higher, but it’s just so easy to fall into a cycle. I get bored.
I bleach my hair bright white in the city of Compton within weeks of my father’s suicide. My hands fidget, drumming my fingers against my sternum and listening to the metallic whir of my cocaine heart.
In Irvine, or Costa Mesa, or whatever, my therapist tries her very best to avoid the word “manipulative” at all costs, but I catch on quickly and I give her a free pass. I pick a bleach-scab from my scalp, and tell her it’s true. She keeps mints on her desk, and every time I leave, I take a handful, and then another. I forgive myself each time, telling her she  should be happy I’m eating anything at all. She is never as impressed as I want her to be.
I buy six bottles of wine at 5 O’clock Liquor in the city of Bell, using an expired I.D. I stole from a friend-of-afriend-of-an-acquaintance in New York. The man on the I.D. is four inches shorter, and fifty pounds heavier than I am, and I explain to Rajan, the cashier, that I’ve been losing weight lately due to stress. I make sad eyes, and shift my weight from foot to foot while he sighs and continues to ring me up.
I’m like those Jeff Koons pieces— the balloon animals— all shiny and pretty, but hollow on the inside. I’m half-high, taking pictures of myself on my MacBook’s photo booth while Joy Division’s Disorder plays over and over again in my iTunes library.My friend decides to go to rehab— to get clean or to take a vacation, I can’t remember which, and I throw all her paraphernalia into a dumpster and stuff her Xanax into my back pocket, because I am a saint.
I’m back at 5 O’clock Liquor, wearing a distressed Calvin Klein muscle-tee and setting a 40oz of Miller High Life on the counter next to a bag of gummy worms. This cashier’s name is Sanjiv. He takes one look at the I.D. and tells me he can’t sell me the beer.
WHERE THE FUCK IS RAJAN? I slam my fists on the counter. Sanjiv is not at all amused. RAJAN SELLS ME BEER EVERY TIME I COME HERE! DO YOU WANT TO LOSE YOUR FUCKING LIQUOR LICENSE? I’m crying now. CALL RAJAN! I WANT TO SPEAK TO RAJAN! I WILL FUCKING REPORT YOU!
It’s just that easy.
At three in the morning, I smell like champagne and Colgate, wandering the streets of downtown and playing don’t-step-on-the-cracks, waiting for the trains to start running again. Little L.A. waif waits, wastes. I’m losing sight, smell, and taste. I’d hail a cab, but they never pick me up. They don’t trust me. I stand at the intersection of Flower and 6th, holding a wad of cash in the air, and the cabs still avoid me. I’m Julia fucking Roberts.
I’m posing for a high school art class, shivering like a Grand-mal seizure, and I take my shirt off, even though the teacher specifically asked me not to during our fifteen minute briefing. Nobody compliments me on the extreme visibility of my ribcage, so I ask the class what they think I’m at The Standard on Sunset with a producer I met on a shoot, wearing a leather jacket I stole from an acquaintance-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, and the producer says he wants to go out for dinner. I tell him I’d rather have drinks, and of course he complies. I make sure to remind him that I have no money in between every gulp of my six or seven vodka-Redbulls.
“IS THIS REALLY A ‘ME’ ISSUE?” I’m screaming at my mom in the kitchen because she won’t stop asking me where I go at night. I’m wearing a ninety dollar tank top that I practically begged the designer for, and the gold-foil lettering shimmers when I stomp my feet on the ground.
I am the cause of the energy crisis. When the sun sets, I turn all of the lights on, and I keep them on until the sun returns. Darkness equates to loneliness and I have, over the years, developed a Motel 6 mentality. I bask in late-night artificial light and amphetamine clarity, dancing to “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths and waiting for morning to come.
I drink Coke-zero while I score coke from an honors student in Huntington Beach. I take my sweet time gumming it at home while listening to the Runaways’ Cherry Bomb, hyping myself up for another night alone.
“I’m just not into this,” I declare during my last therapy session when my therapist asks if I resent my father for killing himself. Then I dump her entire bowl of mints into my backpack and leave.
The game is getting old, and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve mastered the art of it, or if I just have some weird attention-deficit-disorder when it comes to getting my way all the time, every time. My nose bleeds, and every comedown feels like an overdose. I try to make peace with God each time, but he shows no interest, and it reminds me of my dad, and I get so upset that I just have to do another line. Like I said, a cycle.
In my kitchen, I’m staring out the window at the impending storm clouds, and pretending to wash dishes— which I really don’t think is fair because I never eat any of the food here. In the backyard, there is a small patch of dead grass where my father’s head laid the night he killed himself. I feel a pinch on the palm of my hand and look down to see that I’m bleeding. I pull the big knife out of the sink and rinse the blade off in the running water.
It’s raining outside now. The sky is dirty blue. Mud begins to puddle in the little patch of dead-dad grass, and I wonder if anything will ever grow there again.

***

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