From BITCH MAGAZINE
Bad Habits: A Love Story Cristy C. Road
(SOFT SKULL PRESS)
Cristy C. Road is well known within the DIY/zinester community, having published Greenzine for more than 10 years. Coupled with her signature artworks, which capture snapshots of punk-rock interactions, everyday revolutions, and graphic transgressions, Road's writing has long brought to vivid life the experiences of a queer-identified Latina punk rocker,
Bad Habits is no exception. As Road's first official novel, her writing and illustrations include bodies and situations not often included in mainstream depictions, confronting issued of race, sexuality, class, and gender. A bit uncomfortable to read in public - unless you don't mind shocking the old man next to you on the bus with pictures of raw sex and drug-fucked minds-Bad Habits is a book you can read in short bursts, each chapter offering different views of a person's underground world.
While breaking out of the zine mold, Bad Habits is still largely autobiographical and is narrated in the first person, sometimes with condensed summaries of personal experiences running one after the other. The main character, Car, is like Road, a queer Latina punk from Florida who now lives in New York City. Bad Habits is the story of her journey, or perhaps several trips- both real and imagined- over the course of a year or two. A the story cycles through seasons, an overarching narrative develops (what Car is doing and thing about that day) and a somewhat tangible sense of time, yet the novel is mostly composed of cut-ups, fueling comparisons to transgressive writers like Kathy Acker and William Burroughs.
Within this canon, the story is familiar: A troubled soul fuckers her way through pain and snorts love up her nose while stumbling around drunk with her friends and freaking out the squares, not knowing where she is going to but ending up somewhere in the end. Yet it's also unfamiliar,with a nonwhite, nonstraight, woman as the narrator adding to the canon of transgressive writers. ROad's work is a part of a new movemnet of experiemental literature and art that is, in essence, a fuck-you to the genre's dominance by white males. It is a tough, street-smart, sexually explicit, and crazy trip, and one that unleashed Road's real talent as a writier.
But the genre's style also means that it's difficult to get very absorbed within a story, as what you are reading is the experience of a character completely absorbed in her own experience. And while Car's experiences forge a kind of connenction with the reader as her observations and thoughts create a dreamy haze around you, the other characters are so peripheral that it could be easy not to really about anyone.
But you do care, in a way, because through her writing and art Road captures those universal essences that make cut-up writing trangressive and revolutionary. There is the struggle of a creative soul trying to create beauty in an often and unforgiving world. There is the not fitting into the norm-and finding a community to help you not give into the norm and allow you to flourish as the flawed creature you are. There is the firm entrenchment in the time and place of an underground movement and the culture to which it is reacting, making Road one of the scribes of our generation.
Whether Car is smoking a bowl, hanging out in a dive bar, wandering through Florida on acid, or having crazy sex with some hot punk, you see snapshots of personal struggles and revolutionsm making it feel as though you're reading you best friend's diary or peeking through her windows-all within her permission-and being a little disturbed, but also turned on by what you see. - Jyoti Rou