On Wednesday afternoon, Colin Atrophy and I met up for pizza in Bushwick to discuss his book Slice Harvester: A Memoir In Pizza, officially out this week. The book expands upon the writings Colin has penned over the years under the "Slice Harvester" moniker, using reviews of every pizza shop in Manhattan as a lens for personal writing on punk, the city, friendship, relationships, recovery, and more. It's a project he took on in August 2009, eating over 400 plain slices in about two years, writing blog reviews and compiling them into zines along the way.
Colin's memoir is a rare story, both funny and heavy, using his trajectory as pizza blogger/zinester to pick apart his his own self growth, and also channel a social and political subtext you would expect from someone raised on a critical punk worldview. "It's about me dealing with a bunch of unhealthy patterns and acknowledging my shitty behaviors," he explains. "The roots of a lot of that stuff lie in the impacts the patriarchy has had on me, and has on all people."
After grabbing a few slices, we walked under a rolling JMZ train at dusk back towards the Silent Barn,
where we sat up in the yard loft and chatted for an hour about growing up punk in the suburbs, the radical potential of making stuff, the value of humor, how techno-capitalism is making us all fucking not talk to each other, and a lot of other stuff. The Barn is also where he'll celebrate the release of the book this Tuesday night at 8pm, with a reading, sets by Downtown Boys and In School, and 69 free pizzas.
How are you feeling? The book is out in a week!
It's really surreal and I'm still just stressed out that no one's going to like it. Or that they'll be like, "I thought this book was gonna be about pizza but then
it was about drugs. And alcohol. I don't like that. This person's vulgar and they curse too much."
That's funny, as I was reading it I was kind of imagining people who have never been exposed to punk or radical politics reading it. And at every turn being like, "Huh? ... What? . . . WHAT." Because literally every sentence could be its own story.
Are you nervous about people who are in the book reading it?
No. Most of them have already read it. I was a little bit scared because a lot of the book deals with a pretty heavy relationship I was in at a super vulnerable point in my life. That relationship was really transformative and I grew a lot, but it ended while I was finishing the book. It kind of just ran its course. In a lot of ways, writing the relationship helped me process and realize that it was ending, but also when it was done and the book was handed in and it was out my hands, I was really scared about how she was going to feel. But she read it, and she's proud of me. Because she's a good person. That was something that stressed me out in terms of being a memoirist.
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