The Flow Chronicles

The Flow Chronicles

by Urban Hermitt

"Hi. My name is Hermitt. Not like a Hermitt who lives in a cave or is a wingnut saint. Hermitt, as in one of those weird names someone just has." Thus begins the story of Urban Hermitt, a young, queer hiphop artist, poet, and hard-traveler. For those familiar with the celebrated Urban Hermitt zine, his picaresque look at queer life and love, this book is the genesis and cornerstone of it all. Here we see the then-teenage Hermitt navigating a dirty, pockmarked trailerpark landscape of sketchy stoners, confused punks, and sinister hippies. Says fellow zinester Al Burian, "Hermitt's writing is equal parts beat poet, riot grrrl, and gangsta rapper, all with a tongue-in-cheek self-consciousness that makes for very entertaining reading." The Flow Chronicles is the confused, horny, philosophical nomadic Hermitt against the world. A raw, druggy, sexed-up coming-of-age story, The Flow Chronicles is a battle from the get-go but it comes complete with a good eye for irreverent, sharp, no-bullshit humor (and for the tender moments in the midst of horror.) Once a member of the controversial Underground Literary Alliance, Hermitt is a real-deal storyteller and good god is there a story to tell..

 

Comments

Maytina,VirusZine 8/10/2004

A fantastic read, I devoured this in two sittings over the course of two days. It's not so much an autobiography as it is sections of Hermitt's life. It could be described as a book about coming out, or a book about doing loads of drugs, or a book about how so many people try to 'figure it all out', but I don't think any of these generalizations do it justice. Yes, Hermitt talks a lot about being in the closet and towards the end finally coming out, and yes, he takes a helluva lot of drugs, and yes, he tries to 'figure it all out', but the stuff between, and the thoughts he writes while doing these things, and dealing with all this, it''s stuff we can all relate to. It's a book about being a real person, about not being fake and about being honest. It's just beautiful, and there are letters to the Hermitt between the chapters which serve as both comic relief and sometimes an opportunity to nod your head in unison with everyone else reading it.

Al Burian, Burn Collector

Hermitt's writing is equal parts beat poet, riot grrrl, and gangsta rapper, all with a tongue-in-cheek self-consciousness that makes for very entertaining reading.

Newpages

In this book, the Hermitt spins a collection of related tales about his search for meaning and identity in his life. During his quest, he takes drugs, obsessively listens to certain techno and indie rock bands, and interacts with a revolving cast of fascinating characters. Eventually, he comes to realize that things aren't quite so easily categorized as many people would have he believe. It's an inspiring tale of the value and importance of expressing and embracing your own individuality. Hermitt's prose flows lyrically from one page to the next, open and honest in its treatment of everything from sex to neo-hippie culture. This is a unique and refreshing read, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Chris Auman, Reglar Wiglar

Makes me wanna wear more baggy pants and be more nomadic.

Chris Boarts, Slug and Lettuce

Hermitt is a great writer and tells a great story. See Hermitt is a poet who is into hip hop. The funny thing is- I?m not into either but I?m way into Hermitt. Hermitt also has a tendency to hang out with stoners, hippies, and Earth mammas-and the general vibe of it all makes for a good story, as Hermitt is one of those observers who is always writing a good story and telling a tale.

Brad Beeshaw, Confounded Books, Seattle

The next Jack Kerouac.

Chris Boarts, Slug and Lettuce

So you may be familiar with the zine - The Urban Hermitt. It's one of my favorites. For years now Hermitt has been writing these personal zine novel stories about "figuring it all out" - about the quest for enlightenment and dabbling around in a hippie subculture in the northwest - doing lots of drugs; coming out as a lesbian; and generally exploring gender bending issues. Oh yeah, and we can't forget the Hermitt is also a poet and a freestyling rapper! Well, I'm a huge fan and part of the charm is I'm not a fan of poetry or rap - but when Hermitt does it, it transcends and becomes something special. Hermitt is an observer, watching those around him and writing about them; revealing things people don't really want to hear about. It seems a lot of people get bent out of shape. But the beauty is Hermitt is self critical as well and that if we can't poke a bit of fun at ourselves then it probably means we take ourselves too seriously and in the process become insecure. Hermitt takes those insecurity issues and writing away from while "trying to figure it all out".
This is the kid's first novel. It tells the story of Hermitt at age 18; hanging out in the hippie house, smoking lots of pot, trying various drugs, working shitty food service jobs, reading spiritual books, trying to find identity so to speak. Trying to understand. Dealing with confusing issues of gender and gender bending. What it means to be a girl, a boy, or maybe just a kid. A boy dyke or a butch girl. A tomboy or a queer. This is a totally engaging story. It flows bigtime. Hermitt has his own style of writing. Speaks his own language so to speak, and the combination of humor and serious issues, and the downright honesty is amazing! The introspection and observations are right on. Traipsing around the rainbow gatherings, grunge rock Seattle coffeeshops, liberal arts colleges in the woods, and vegan cafes. This is an exploration. Teen angst. Sexual angst. And it's fucking clever!
If you've read the zines before, and like them, well you'll love this. If you are familiar with the zine - you may be familiar with the basic story here. But it's not a collection of zines or reprints of anything. This novel stands on its own. It doesn't get into the rapid freestyle too much. Mostly this is about being 18 - dealing with identity politics - and soul searching - and trying to find your place in things. This is a great story and only the beginning of the "great American novel". I'm hoping for many more books of this sort from Hermitt!

Jessaruh, Feminist Review

Initially, The Flow Chronicles didn't seem like it could inspire me to do anything, but now I feel like wearing baggy pants and freestyling just for the hell of it. The author is really multi-dimensional, making me feel at ease and uncomfortable at the same time. It's about growing up and standing up, with Hermitt's first move to Seattle at only 18. "Interview with an actual, authentic lesbian" showed a different side of this brash, unapologetic person. He made tactless a desirable trait, and self-discovery less painful. The grammatical errors seemed intentional, the fake letters had me giggling and Hermitt's realistic representation of adventures at a liberal arts school were endearing.
With more underground perspectives and queer culture than you can shake a stick at, Hermitt never misses a beat with this coming-of-age punk ethics crash course. Here's yet more proof that stoner/hippies are probably the greatest people you'll ever meet. Not that I met this one, but Hermitt's able to have a presence on paper that most authors would give their right hand for. You have to admire someone who says that Apricot beer tastes like pussy, even though they've never tasted it. This book has more energy and generates more laughs than most of your friends in real life.

Profane Existence, #47

Although this is the first I've seen of her considerably talented writings, it's completely understandable how she has managed to amass such a following ... Think of her as an irreverent dharma bum baby dyke with a wicked sense of humor. Always the consumate smartass, Hermitt is as playful with language as she is during her daily adventures ... I can't recommend this enough!