Mark Baumer, etc.

I could do a thousand posts about Mark Baumer and maybe I will. He created so much in his 33 years on this planet. Here is a smattering of things…

I previously shared the audiobook, or 'mixtape' as he called it, of Mark's novella, Holiday Meat, which he recorded himself and shared on archive.org. But here is an mp3 with the above stupid album art I made in case you are interested in that:

Hoilday Meat: Mixtape.mp3


Mark had a penchant for using the brief "ABOUT" sections on literary sites for… whatever the beautiful, crazy magic he felt compelled to unleash upon the world. This one, from a peice published at Tarpaulin Sky, is particularly good.


The author Blake Butler was a friend of Mark's and has shared a few nice recollections. He also took to fb live to deliver an impromptu reading of Holiday Meat, which can be viewed here.


Following Mark online felt special, in part, because it felt small. Not "small" as in insignificant, but "small" as in special. This was a secret genius, and only a select group were getting to enjoy his real-time interactions with this insane world.

Mark often joked about "going viral"^ in his videos. Or maybe he wasn't joking. (I think it it's good that I/we don't know for sure, maybe… ?) Seeing news of his passing get picked up by so many national news outlets feels at once odd and redemptive. The Washington Post's piece on Mark is especially good:
Baumer’s travels — along with his prolific writing, zany performance art and warm, caring spirit — gave him an almost folk hero image among those who knew him and followed his work.

Friends and family described him as highly original, intensely creative and always on the move.

“He was so active, even if you weren’t regularly in touch with him, you’d be constantly watching him do things,” Baumer’s friend Blake Butler told The Washington Post. “I think he hated mundane reality and would do anything he could to inject some awe or joy or unique emotion into life that other people would idly let pass by.”

Baumer went to Wheaton College in Massachusetts as an undergrad and was later accepted into a highly selective MFA program at Brown University. Before he died, he was working as a Web specialist at the Brown library. He had published numerous books, poems and other material, and had won awards for his work, including a poetry fellowship through the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

A constant stream of ideas — some of them brilliant, some harebrained — seemed to pour from Baumer, friends said. On one occasion, Butler said, Baumer created a Kickstarter trying to bring in $50,000 to write 50 books in one year. The fundraiser attracted less than $2,000, but Baumer pressed on — and he did, indeed, write all 50 books in 2012. Titles included The Trauma of Eating a Celebrity, The Guy with Two Crossbows, and, in what was perhaps a jab at himself, The Books Keep Getting Worse and Worse.

I am going to continue to post about Mark and share the amazing creations he left us. A good thing to do if you can, and haven't already, is to make a donation in his memory at youcaring.com/barefoot. Here's one final anecdote for now:


THANK YOU, MARK

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