The week I had planned to meet up with Marcus was, of course, when New York shut down for an entire day due to an incoming snow storm. We had been texting each other little updates back and forth, figuring out when and where to meet before settling on the LGBT Center on West 13th. I had only been there once before but I remember the way everyone seemed so at ease sitting respectively in their own little corners working amongst themselves. I knew it’d be the perfect place to keep warm and feel right at home.
I ran into Marcus while walking down 14th street just as he was calling my phone and ended up forcing him to come to Dunkin with me. On our way there his entire boot-clad foot ended up in one of the swimming pools New York likes to call puddles. Despite all the panic about the amount of snow we were gonna get, the city did a shit job at actually cleaning up and salting the roads. Everyone just ended up walking on thick layers of ice, stepping over piles of snow that were several feet high, and getting soaked in puddles while trying to get to the sidewalk.
When we finally settled down to talk we were warm and comfortable. Marcus has a soothing presence despite the fact that he speaks like he’s on a multitude of drugs- which chances are he probably is. He’s one of the greatest people to discuss ideas and collaborate with as he is entirely supportive of whatever it is you want to do; he just wants to create. His definition of art is loose and he lacks pretentious ideologies of nearly any subject you could breach with him. He typically describes his art as “memoirs”. “Flash memoirs” for writing, memoirs as film, regimens, tweets, and instagram posts.
His latest book Sparse Black Whimsy: A memoir is set to be released on April 20th by 2fast2house. You can pre-order it here.
Your name, age, where you’re from, and where you’re based.
marcus scott williams, born & raised in Kansas City, Missouri, but now I’m up in the Bronx & all over nyc.
How has living in New York affected your work?
New York City is a continual inspiration. The whole energy of this shit makes it hard to be stagnant, kinda forces you to seek out & do things you wanna do. I have always been a writer so I just started jotting down ideas every time I’m out & sumn touches me on any type of emotional level. This just happens to be a bonstant thing lol. I’m constantly falling in love with discarded hunks of wood or broken shelving or general piles of garbage. It’s a beautiful collaborative effort that the city just spawns.
Favorite encounter you’ve had with a stranger on the subway?
Yo there have been a few wild encounters that stuck with me. When I was reading Infinite Jest last year many people sat next to me & wanted to shout out specific scenes. I always recommend they made it thoo to the crack smoking scene lol. But lowkey my fave part of riding the subway is the universal understanding that it’s finna be tight quarters, so people smoosh in & touch knees & it’s cool & there’s something sweet in that. On my 25th birthday a man was sitting next to me & fell asleep & his head leaned over onto my shoulder, & I was like fuck it, let him rest. he seemed like he worked v hard for a living. Another guy across the aisle was tryna get me swap seats with him which was pretty weird lol, but I was like naw & rocked with my mans.
How would you say your instagram connects to your writing and creative work in general?
My IG is special to me because it’s like the first eye of some shit I see. A pure honest reaction. Again, piles of trash & shit. I use it to share the things I find beautiful in moments so I can come back in the future & chart my emotional progression OR regression. I just like to see where the fuck I was at. That’s how the Flash Memoirs sorta came to be. I just wanted to write down what I saw but not because it was some big event but because in this moment I saw this & felt this—v simple. I figure it’s the best way to accurately portray myself.
Your thoughts on academia / people who have been formally educated in the arts?
Fuck your art degree lol, I never finished college & I’m out here doing fine for myself. For a lot of artists I think the resources & obviously the connections are valuable. Just to have that time & space to create. But I think if you want that shit bad enough nothing will get in the way of you making some fresh shit.
What are your thoughts on routines and creative processes? Bullshit, genuine, or depends on the person?
Everybody is a separate being so everyone has their idiosyncratic ways. For me I like to stay relatively loose to give myself so wiggle room you feel me, but whenever I have deadlines & shit I’m more regimented. Depends on the project I guess. Most of my shit isn’t time sensitive so routines can come & go depending.
How long did it take you to get a sense of your own style/creative process?
Still & always will be a work in progress. Mad fucking practice & mad half-filled notebooks in boxes up at my set. Just gettin the fuck after it.
Does existing as a black man influence your art in any way?
Yes and no. Yes because I am influenced by wide swathes of black american culture just because I was raised in it, but it’s not the thing I think of initially when I’m making something. I’m always tryna just make tight ass shit. thematics are secondary & blossom naturally..
You have a book being published by 2fast2house– what is it about, how did you pick the title, and why did you choose to publish with them?
Sparse Black Whimsy: A Memoir is basically a cycle of several Flash Memoirs I wrote between June & December of last year. You’re just kinda dropped & guided thoo what I’m seeing & feeling moment to moment. It’s deadass the best way to get to know me.
I chose 2fast2house for a couple different reasons. I am a big fan of El Pearson’s writing, they’re one of the co-founders. They published a memoir of mine in Spy Kids Review Issue #3 & we had a rapport ever since. The books they make are beautifully designed & they feeeel good in your hand which I think is so mimportant & overlooked. In 2017, if you’re gonna take the time to buy AND READ a book, I’m gonna make it worth your while & give you a nice object. Everything I write will be shortish too; a reader’s time economy is what I’m always thinking bout.
Do you have any other projects planned?
Already writing another longer book. Will prolly submit some one-offs to some spots. Short films. Videos collabs. Collaboration is what I’m mostly tryna do this year.
Five people you look up to.
william toney, justin rodier, will meier, charles dowe, melissa spitz. This list rotates hourly but it’s always people close to me. They’re what I draw most of my inspiration to actually do shit from. They push me.
A song that has affected you the most.
Favorite line from a poem.
‘Errrybody strugglin, you know I love strugglin.’—Lil B
Any words you live by?
My motto is: Anybody can get it.
photography by k. piñero. you can find them on instagram.
Watch msw’s short film how to run away properly: a memoir here.
Pre-order Sparse Black Whimsy: A memoir here.