I’m taking an Ethnography of Narrative course this semester. For the most part I listen intently in class and take good notes. Other times my mind drifts off to what I’m going to eat when I get home, how much more time we have before we’re dismissed, how many pretty doodles I can make in the margins, and questions of how the professor became so knowledgeable (or how he became interested in this particular subject). Again, I stress that for the most part I’m attentive. Silent, but attentive.

Anyway, one of my first papers for the course requires me to select a narrative to analyze. At first I searched through slave narratives, people’s discussions of their experiences with the civil rights movement—just anybody discussing some sort of historical black experience. The problem is I had to find an audio file of this so that I could create a detailed transcription of the narrative. Well, after some serious searching and a whole lot of snoring through stories that people thought were necessary to tell, I finally came across something interesting on YouTube.

Dr. Renford Reese’s “Interview with Trey Devil,” upon first listen causes us to sympathize with the narrator. We know the story. Here’s an African-American male who grew up in a low-income/urban environment, but has an opportunity to escape through education (Fred Douglas style). That was my first analysis anyway. But just as the class articles/texts note, as you transcribe the narrative trying to get down all the pauses, voice inflections, etc., a new analysis emerges.

In an attempt to keep this blog updated on a regular basis and in avoidance of editing this dumb story (my fault not the professor’s) I wrote for creative writing (a parody of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis), here are the video clips of Will Fields (aka Trey Devil) narrative of his path to destruction. I would include my analysis, but it’s still “very rough.” By the way, I only used 2 snippets from parts 1 & 2. Part 3 earned an eye roll from me, but feel free to watch it anyway.

Both Dr. Renford Reese and Will “Trey Devil” Fields have written books. Fields’ House of Failure book description reads as follows:

House of Failure tells the story of K-Stone a L.A. gangbanger who struggles to find himself while surviving a mind frame and system that entraps many young men today. While incarcerated he experiences death, disloyalty, education, rape, relationships, and a new understanding of life. Even amongst much despair he continues to strive for the betterment of life.

Ok, I have stuff to do. Happy reading, ya’ll.