Tuesday, May 8, 2007

links and shit and shitting

today i have a review of TAO LIN's EEEEE EEE EEEE at Bookslut

and an interview with Melville House's DENNIS LOY JOHNSON at Econoculture

i like reviewing and interviewing. it is a good way to make friends. i don't have any literary friends in atlanta. i don't know anyone who reads books in atlanta. i know a few people who buy books but i don't ever talk to them about reading.

i'm reading Robert Coover's GHOST TOWN right now. i bought it for $6 used because i like other things by robert coover and the back of the book said it was like him writing like cormac mccarthy on hallucinogenic drugs. i don't think it actually said that, but that's what it made me think it was saying. the book is pretty good. if i wrote this book and tried to sell it i would be told it was 'too bizarre'.

the first novel i wrote was originally called 'The Pupils of an Inflated Giraffe'. actually, it was the second novel i wrote, but the first that i could actually imagine trying to sell. i got an agent with the book, Rupert Heath, who i think is a very smart agent, and who isn't only looking for something marketable, but for good art also. i respect his opinion. rupert suggested i change the titled of the book to 'The Human Lottery' because the book was partly about a man who is employed as a human lottery ball. rupert shopped the book to 15 or so major houses. the basic response was: 'i really like this writing. i think it is smart and imaginative. however, it's a bit too fantastical for a first book from an unknown author. i'd like to see something less out-there from this writer.'

then i've been trying to write a novel that is less 'out there'. i begin with a premise that is based in real life, but somehow i always end up going way out. there is a tendency in me to turn everything to fucked. to write unsympathetic characters and have fucked things happen to them. to have the fantastical be as much as a part of the storyline as real things.

i wrote a third novel called 'YES I AM AWARE THAT I'M IN HELL' that was fucked and bizarre and about a divorcee who takes his son (who hates him) to disney world in the desperate hope of getting a job there.

that book did not quite work for me and was too bizarre again.

i am trying now, again, to write a novel that is less fantastical and less bizarre, and somehow i've ended up writing about a man accused of pedophilia.

i am going to continue writing books and have them eat the memory of my hard drive until there is no room left.


Mike Young said...

Those novels sound delicious. You should send me those manuscripts. I want to read those novels.

Not to disgruntle you even further, but Denis Johnson's new novel is about some feverdream war out in the desert.

* said...

That was a good review of Tao Lin.

Richard said...

Yes, that was a good review and a nice interview.

If you like Coover, I think better books of his are Pricksongs and Descants and The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Prop., both of which I read when they came out when I was a teenager. Of course it was the late '60s then, and Coover was in the air.

If you like the Rosenbergs and would like to read about Richard Nixon being raped, The Public Burning is also a good Coover choice.

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i'm actually reediting the first of those now. if you still wanna read it when i'm done i'll be glad to send it over. thank you for being interested.

denis johnson fails to move me 60% of the time, but i still always try.

thank you.

thank you also. i've read those 2 coovers. i love 'universal baseball association...'. i've considered the public burning but it's quite a commitment, one i havent been able to put together with him juts yet. though nixon rape sounds very fun.

Mike Young said...

You know, I dunno if I've ever thought to ratio out when Denis Johnson works and doesn't, but I'm thinking, yeah, maybe it wouldn't be too high. He always swings tho, I guess. And when he's on, I'm very much "yes yes yes."

Have you read his novels too?


i've tried to read 'angels' a few times but i keep getting stopped. i also tried, um, another one of the novels but i keep getting stopped. it doesnt maintain my interest for some reason, which irks me. have you?

i got the NOOs today, BTW. i'll let you know where i put them out...

Mike Young said...

I've read Angels, Already Dead, and also a kind of boring novella about a college professor. They are a little slow to ramp up, but I dunno, I ended up really enjoying them (except the professor novella).

Sweet about the NOÖs!

SarahJane said...

It's sad that a first novel should be written is a certain non-out there way.
I really enjoy Tao Lin and will click over and read your review.
As for Denis Johnson, Jesus's Son was one of my favorite books. Reuscitation of a Hanged Man was okay, but I've pretty much forgotten completely what it was about.