Monday, December 31, 2007


The new issue of Lamination Colony will be out on New Year's Day. It is our largest and strangest issue. It makes me feel good and blurped and happy.

I haven't gone to sleep before 7 am in 2 weeks.

I have a thing inside me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I don't feel like thinking about anything. I don't feel like thinking about things I normally like to think about. Today while I was looking at bills I said to my mom, "Life is awesome," and she said, "Life is awesome," then she paused, then she said, "Frustrating, hard, awesome." I repeated what she said and then I signed a check. I do not feel like explaining anything. I don't feel like doing what I'm doing right now but I am afraid if I don't do it I will feel even worse. Last night I couldn't sleep again until I ate a ton of breakfast cereal at 7 AM and then I fell asleep holding my stomach. I am very familiar with the way one's mouth smells when you eat milk and then don't brush and then sleep for a few hours and then wake up. Sometimes sitting in this chair for too long makes me feel like I could ________________. I can't think of a word. i don't know a word i am tired of everything i am tired i dont know what else to say or think about i dont know why i dont

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Justin Dobbs interviewed me

Justin Dobbs interviewed me on his blog. We talked about David Lynch and Atlanta and ghosts and Tao Lin and my next novel and abortion and sitting on people's faces and Taiwan. It was fun. There is also a sexy photograph of my chest. I like being interviewed I think. I think I like doing that. I am sure I like Justin Dobbs. He asks good questions. Thanks to him and his blog.

Apocryphal Text & Xmas shit

There is a new issue of the online poetry journal APOCRYPHAL TEXT now alive. It has a text (OVERHEARD) that I wrote almost a year ago, and which became some of the synthesis for certain ideas in SCORCH ATLAS. It also has new work by Matthew Savoca, Donald Illich, Joel Chace and others. It is an interesting magazine and I am happy to be in it.

To receive this publication, someone was licking the hindquarters of a sand Ferrari in the gorgeous outlaying regions of Smaller Kuwait, Fund Bashir, and/or Meers Manor.

For Christmas gifting, I received the following books: COMPLEX SLEEP by Tony Tost, THE LITTLE GIRL WHO WAS TOO FOND OF MATCHES by Gaetan Soucy (which I started reading already and is most excellent), ACTUAL AIR by David Berman, and AFTER DARK by Haruki Murakami. I have a lot to read.

I also received a white noise machine that sits by my bed and makes sounds like I am in a vast wind tunnel which is seeming very nice.

Sleepingfish Magazine is currently open for submissions.

See You Next Tuesday II, an anthology of 1,000 word sex-themed stories, is open for submissions. I'll have a story in it featuring a Mexican woman spreading her buttocks to show her anus. That's true.

Lamination Colony is now closed for submissions to the pornography issue (which is going to be supremely excellent) and is now open to regular submissions of the ridiculous and/or strange.

I am selling a lot of CDs on ebay. I am going to sell my entire 2500 cd collection over the next 2 months because I do not like music anymore. Except I'm going to keep about 100 that I do like. I guess. Perhaps.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Two Lines I Just Deleted from a List On Christmas Eve

40. There is no great enough gap to comfort me between external and internal circumstance which is why my life is fairly impossible to live. *
41. If I could simply feel a little less uneasy. That would help.^

* Diane Williams, interview with elimae

^ William Gass, THE TUNNEL, pg. 107.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New Magazines

Today I got three new magazines. I bought one of them a long time ago. I bought one today. I got one for free. I read one story from each so far. Now they are sitting on my floor together and I feel good about having a lot of new things to read.

The one I bought a long time ago is the new issue of Avery Anthology. It looks very different than the first issue, which I liked. It has a lot of new authors I have not heard of plus one author I know and one I have heard of and have not read. I read the story by Ryan Call, who is the editor of Phoebe and a nice guy. His story is excellent and made me feel simultaneously good (because of the excellent, clean sentences) and bad (because the story is sad in a new way). I would recommend buying this new issue on the strength of Ryan Call's story alone.

The one I bought today was a copy of the new Fence, Fall/Winter 2007-08. I don't know if they are going to send me a contributor copy because they never said, and I saw it today so I bought it. Besides my own thing, I read a poem by Major Jackson, who started teaching at my school after I finished at my school, and his poem was very good. I also read the Reading Lists in the back, which is to stand in place of contributor notes. They ended up including my reading list even though I was told they hadn't, though they cut about half of my list of favorite books out because I think it was too long. From the looks of the text shapes in this issue it looks like it is going to be an excellent issue.

The one I got for free was the Vice Fiction Issue, which I found at Wish, a very expensive modern clothing store. I looked at some of the clothing while I was in there so it didn't look like I just came in to take the magazine, which I did. I touched a t-shirt that had a $175 price tag on it. It looked like a blue cotton t-shirt with a light blue print of a man's head. I also touched a hat like the kind old men wear and it cost $225. A gray sweater was $400. I read Tao Lin's story about shoplifting at American Apparel and I laughed a lot. The issue looks nice and is free. It also includes William Vollmann and Jim Shepard and Mary Gaitskill and Robert Coover. I am impressed that Vice did such a good job putting together good fiction writers. You can also download it free from their website.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Review of Roy Kesey's ALL OVER

I reviewed Roy Kesey's ALL OVER for Rain Taxi.

On Wednesday I spent about seven hours sitting at a table next to a man whose nose hairs had grown out so long they flowed straight down into his mustache. His breath was very foul and he would not stop talking.

This morning for breakfast I had: sweet potatoes and marshmallows, fried corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese with hot sauce, a bowl of fresh spinach, baked ham, red chocolate mousse, a bowl of vanilla soft serve ice cream with Oreo crumbles and a Diet Coke.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gordon Lish's Edits of Raymond Carver

The New Yorker has run a copy of one of the stories from the Raymond Carver manuscripts. They show how the story was edited by Gordon Lish. Whole pages cut out. Whole paragraphs added by Lish. Even names of characters changed. The whole last 2 pages is cut and Lish writes a new ending paragraph.

Reading through it, so often Lish is right. His cuts definitely improve the story when they are taking away things that make the story too sentimental seeming. A lot of times the edits are cutting things that reminded me of things you seem in workshops that you wish you could say should go, but that most people do not. The edits often improve the story.

Cutting the last two pages and several pages before that seems awfully extreme. It changes the entire story. Whether the story is better or not, I'm not sure. It's hard to say such a thing. I like the paragraph Lish ended the story with better than the way Carver wrote it.

I like extremes.

I imagine Gordon Lish believes in absolutes.

I often believe I believe in absolutes though I will not argue them except with certain people.

It is hard to imagine what Carver must have felt. But he let the changes continue. I believe his last book CATHEDRAL he did not show to Lish. I'd like to have gotten to hear some of Lish's lectures.

It's funny reading stuff Lish edits and stuff Lish writes. He loves to say one thing and then say it again and again slightly differently. Things other people would definitely cut, he used and exaggerated.

Everyone should taste some Lish, though when I got obsessed with him a little his style started to rub off on me and my writing got really bad. Like unreadable. Though there are certain lessons I have learned from him (or things I've heard attributed to him) that have made me a better writer now, I think.

I think he used to talk about having one word, and every other word followed from that word one after another, like association. A whole story would germinate from one sentence germinated from one word. Not stream of consciousness. Association.

I use association.

I mean that in several ways that are hard to describe.

I read an anecdote one time about Lish showing up for a lecture with a spot on his shirt where he'd spilled something and then pretty much ruined the shirt trying to wash it out to the point that the cloth was ripped through.

His book EPIGRAPH is about how the narrator's wife is dying in another room in his house and he's going in to help her but he sees a little speck of something on the carpet (I forgot what he calls the speck but it's something strange) and then he gets so obsessed with the speck that his wife dies while he's attending to it. Or something like that. It's hard to tell certain things about his writing.

It's hard to tell certain things about anyone's writing.

It's hard to tell certain things.

It's hard.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

for Bob Uecker

I am cold. I am more cold in my feet than in my stomach. When I turn the heater on it screams. I can handle the screaming when I am awake but not while attempting to fall asleep. I am trying to get myself in the mood. I am leaving tomorrow to go to another state where I will sit in one room and not move very much. I will get up to go into another room and eat voraciously. Then I will go back and I will sit. Last night I dreamt I was a woman. I dreamt about being locked in a very small room by a man with a Spanish wife. I stabbed the wife three times in the chest by pushing at certain places on the door between us, the door to the room where I'd been locked by the woman's husband. The man got very angry when his wife was stabbed. Several other men came to be angry with him. They began to try to touch me through the door. I found a hole in the room and moved out of the building and across several roofs into a lot. In the lot were several parked cars and no people. In the lot was a church. I knew by looking at the windows of the church that one day there I would be married. I knew that and then I woke. This compositional frame in my web browser says that 'dreamt' is not a word but I do not believe it. I feel sad at myself that I had to go into Microsoft Word and type 'dreamt' to see if it would be underlined there also. I am susceptible to suggestion but only by certain people. Other kinds of people I often will go far to dispute them if I feel I want to disagree. There is a wineglass on my desk with just enough water in it for one sip and I sipped it and it tasted sweet. Soon tonight will be over.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Front Porch 5: Replication Error

I have what is known as poetry in the 5th issue of FRONT PORCH, an online journal from the Texas State MFA program.


I wrote the first paragraph while I was asleep and then I tried to rewrite the paragraph twice in different sitting positions in relation to my desk. Oh boy.

To receive this publication I don't feel like being snide.

What I Read in 2007

This year I read a bit. I didn't read as much as I have in other years but I read a bit and kept a list. I've kept a list of what I read each year each year since I started reading with a constant mind of what I read. This is my list for 2007, held in order. In a way you could say what I read was itself my year.

There's not a lot I didn't like a bit at least on this list because usually I stop reading if I don't like something. This year I read several things a second time.

I have a listing problem.


1. WITTGENSTEIN'S MISTRESS by David Markson (2nd time) - I love this book and the way it folds facts with mental unnarrative. I often try to write like it but have yet to succeed except in rambling.

2. THE UNBINDING by Walter Kirn - a paperback version of the book he wrote online for Slate and that you can read still online right here.

3. AMERICAN GENIUS: A Novel by Lynne Tillman - one of my favorite books this year. perhaps an antecedent to the style of Wittgenstein's Mistress but in a fresh and new way, which is impressive in itself. This narrator rambles and speaks of facts she's memorized, about Charles Manson and skin disease and all other sorts. Encyclopedic. If there's any book that didn't get the recognition it deserved this year, this is the one. Go find it.

4. SKID by Dean Young - Dean Young is an excellent poet and this is a good book I read mostly while shitting or exercising on a stationary bike.

5. CONCEPTUAL ANIMALS by Chris Green - chapbook by a poet friend from Bennington who will one day be known as monstrous.

6. NECK DEEP & Other Predicaments by Ander Monson - nonfiction excellent from the author of one of my favorite books from last year, OTHER ELECTRICITIES. Excellent thoughts about bathing and dentistry and hacking and so on.

7. NADJA by Andre Breton - this book is not as innovative as it is known to be. It is not so surrealist as to make me shudder well.

8. THE RINGS OF SATURN by W.G. Sebald - excellent and also in a way like Lynne Tillman's book, folding fact into rambling narrative. Incredible description.

9. LUNAR FOLLIES by Gilbert Sorrentino
10. A STRANGE COMMONPLACE by Gilbert Sorrentino - I read two Sorrentinos back to back also while often shitting or exercising. He has some incredible sentences but I would not necessarily need to read this again.

10. EMBRYOYO by Dean Young - Kind of hit or miss for Young but still interesting and better than average. When I bought this book at Borders, the checkout guy said, "Your receipt is in Embryoyo."

11. TRAVELS IN THE SCRIPTORIUM by Paul Auster - blehhhhhhh.

12. THE REVISIONIST by Miranda Mellis my review

13. I HATE TO SEE THAT EVENING SUN GO DOWN by William Gay - William Gay is the only rightful heir to the legacy of Cormac McCarthy. nuff said.

14. EEEEE EEE EEEE by Tao Lin
15. BED by Tao Lin - My favorite debut of the year and endlessly entertaining. I often pick either of these up to either laugh or see a good sentence. Tao Lin is beyond. my review

16. MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS by Kelly Link - One of my favorite story collections ever. The story STONE ANIMALS is in my top 5 stories of all time. This affected my understanding of how I try to write.

17. THE TASK OF THIS TRANSLATOR by Todd Hasak-Lowy - recommended by Tao and very good, kind of reminds me of DFW but less epic. Funny.

18. LENNY BRUCE IS DEAD by Jonathan Goldstein - An entertaining and weird book. Reminded me of WHY DID I EVER by Mary Robison. I like books that have short funny sections and weird employs.

19. GHOST TOWN by Robert Coover - I don't remember this very well right now but I think I liked it. I bought it because the back said it was like Cormac McCarthy on acid and it kind of was.

20. THE REVISIONIST by Miranda Mellis (2nd time) - I think I read this book 4 times in total so far but I only noted it twice.

21. GIRAFFES by Steven Gillis - my review

22. THE QUICK AND THE DEAD by Joy Williams - This book was also recommended by Tao. Incredible sentences and very funny without boundary. I can see how this influenced him in a good way.

23. THE LAST NOVEL by David Markson - Not my favorite Markson list book but still enough of the same nature that I enjoyed it, though it would be my last recommended of his list books.

24. NO ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU by Miranda July - I read this one day when I was very depressed at a coffee shop for 5 hours without moving or buying a drink. I watched a kid's head a lot between sentences. The story about the front porch killed me. This is a good collection.

25. IN WATERMELON SUGAR by Richard Brautigan (2nd time) - I read this a few years ago after I saw DFW was teaching it at his fiction class at Pomona. There is no other book like this that has ever existed. It is short and easy to read and very weird and very good.

26. BEFORE YOU SHE WAS A PITBULL by Elizabeth Ellen - I read this in a waiting room at a doc in the box trying to get sleep medicine. I wanted more when it was over. It reminded me somewhat of the movie GUMMO, which is one of my favorite movies. I did an interview with EE that will be out in January. You should buy this.

27. PARTIAL LIST OF PEOPLE TO BLEACH by Gary Lutz - I read this mostly while waiting for my oil to get changed. Gary Lutz is medicine. This worked differently on me than his other two books. Usually after I read one of his stories I don't know what I read but I feel different.

28. ZEROVILLE by Steve Erickson - my review

29. PART OF THE WORLD by Robert Lopez - my review

30. BATS OUT OF HELL by Barrah Hannah - He is the master and this is one of the major reasons. It has a story called UPSTAIRS MONA BAYED FOR DONG. Yes?

31. DOUBLE WIDE by Michael Martone - This book made me understand why Martone is so respected. A cross section of the best parts of all his books. He does things with stories I've never seen done.

32. DON'T WAKE UP IT'S JUST ME by Mike Young - Mike is an incredible wordsmith. One day he will have many books. This is the first, chap-style, and it is the beginning.

33. IN A BEAR'S EYE by Yannick Murphy - my review of this is forthcoming in the Believer, but let's just say it's very excellent.

34. RUBICON BEACH by Steve Erickson - Another in the line of Erickson's several underrated and incredible books. See my ZEROVILLE review for more.

35. ALL OVER by Roy Kesey - my review of this is forthcoming in Rain Taxi, but let's just say it's also very excellent. Hail DZANC.

36. OTHER ELECTRICITIES by Ander Monson (2nd time) - I read this again when thinking about how to structure the order of the stories in my own novel in stories collection. I think this is a masterpiece of its kind.

37. BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy (2nd time) - If you read this book once, eventually you have to read it again because it's impossible to get it all the first time. One of the richest books ever composed, and the most violent, and the most beautiful.

38. THE FAMISHED ROAD by Ben Okri - I'm so glad Derek White mentioned this on his blog, because it's probably in my top 10 books now. An absolute masterpiece of magic realism (though he hates that term, they all do don't they?). Well, anyway, it's magical.

39. THE HOUR SETS by Michael Boyko - my review of this will be forthcoming at Word Riot but let's just say it's unlike anything else I've ever read in a way unlike anything else I've seen be different.

40. NO REAL LIGHT by Joe Wenderoth - More weird angular poems by the badass who brought LETTERS TO WENDY'S, which if you haven't read, you should, and then you'll want to read this too.

41. ANGLE OF YAW by Ben Lerner - I think this is now my favorite book of poems ever. To be mentioned in the same breath as Ben Marcus. I will probably read this many many times throughout my life.

42. OUR ECSTATIC DAYS by Steve Erickson - Another bizarre and sprawling surrealist book about a lake growing out of a city. The passage about floating through the rooms of a hotel near the center of this book is one of my favorite things I read this year.

43. SAMEDI THE DEAFNESS by Jesse Ball - I bought this immediately because of the Lynch mention on the back, and I read it straight through without stopping. Weird and funny and addictive.

44. POVEL by Geraldine Kim - I read this mostly while exercising or in bed. I think I could have kept reading this forever. Like reading someone's mind, someone who's funny in a way most people aren't.

45. MEYER by Stephen Dixon - Such a strange, somehow depressing book from one of the masters in his later years. I'm doing a mail interview with him in a few weeks, and it makes me excited. He changed the way I think about storytelling.

46. RYAN SEACREST IS FAMOUS by Dave Housley - With a title like that, you know this book is hilarious. Excellent writing to back the humor. One of my favorite short-shorts, NOTE TO THE GUY WHO STOLE MY IDENTITY, is in this awesome debut colleciton. My review of this will be on Bookslut soon.

47. HIDING OUT by Jonathan Messinger - Weird and funny angular little stories that start in familiar places and move further and further out. Something very appealing about the way he strings situations together. I like this book a lot.

48. THE HORNED MAN by James Lasdun - Strange thriller that I read on Ross Simonini's recommendation to fill the need I felt after reading Jesse Ball's book. Another read-it-straight-through.

49. WIDE EYED by Trinie Dalton - She also went to Bennington, where I went. These stories are bizarre and magical, sort of like Kelly Link but more conversational. Her story in Ninth Letter was the shit.

50. SUPER FLAT TIMES by Matthew Derby (2nd time) - I reread this book after several years when someone said one of the stories in my collection reminded him of it. I think I unconsciously used this as a model when constructing certain elements about my own book, which makes me glad, because this book is insane and grand.

51. SOME SEXUAL SUCCESS STORIES Plus Other Stories in Which God Might Choose To Appear by Diane Williams - The stories in this book move like they haven't slept in weeks, and as such understand things the way other people don't. Lish-ish and often creepy and/or unnerving and I haven't been able to get her voice out of my head since. Excellent.

52. A DAY, A NIGHT, ANOTHER DAY, SUMMER by Christine Schutt - The last story in this collection, THE BLOOD JET, is one of the most emotionally brutal stories of all time. I heard her read this while I was at Bennington and I still remember every word.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Decemeber elimae

There's a new update for the December issue of elimae up today. It includes a pretty hefty slice of work by those such as Katrina Denza, Kim Chinquee, Brandon Scott Gorrell, Kelly Spitzer (hers particularly got me), Aaron Burch, Kathy Fish, on and on and on.

My contribution is a one paragraph excerpt from a novel I wrote last year MORE LIGHT. This section is from near the beginning of the second half of the novel. It was meant to be written in a Lynchian mode but never quite made me happy in its completion, thus still sits on here hard drive, sleeping.

I think I may rewrite that novel next year, using the parts I know work and dumping off what I know doesn't and replacing the rest with some completely foreign and fucked material, some kind of collage or something. Maybe I will take the manuscript of the 4.5 novels I wrote before SCORCH ATLAS and compile them into some massive bastard. That could be fun or hell. Who knows.

Anyhow, please enjoy the new elimae. Is good.

To receive this publication I took the whole thing in my mouth.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

David Lynch filmography

Several people have written me about watching David Lynch for the first time. I was trying to remember how I found him: what order I took the films. A prescriptive order is necessary for medications, and, well, nevermind. David Lynch constructs a universe and it is an easy one to get immersed in. Much has been written about when/why/where his work is so appealing to certain people, but I don't want to do that (instead, see DAVID FOSTER WALLACE's article on Lynch that appeared in A SUPPOSEDLY FUN THING I'LL NEVER DO AGAIN, which does an incredible job of expressing such). These films are not meant to be 'understood' as much as they meant to be experienced. Many of his images and ideas are burned into my mind as well as any of my own memories, as if they belong. That is a bizarre feeling.

If I were going to watch these films over again without having seen them but still knowing what order would be best to watch them in, it would be as follows:

BLUE VELVET: This is the logical beginning spot to any Lynch experience because it encapsulates a lot of Lynch's themes and sensibilities and ideas into his probably most easy to like film, without sacrificing any of the FUCK. I remember seeing this and knowing immediately that I was going to be absorbed. There's something important about energy here. There is something about time and place. You need to get the special edition because there is a deleted scene that only exists as still frames and it is frightening.

ERASERHEAD: This is the progenitor of all of Lynch's ideas and probably the most visceral of his films still. You might need the platform of Blue Velvet to help get into this one. You should probably watch it in a dark room after a day where nothing much has happened. You really need to get the version Lynch released himself on DVD because if you try to watch it on VHS a lot is obscured by the low quality. One scene near the end of the movie I always thought was mostly just a white blur and when I watched it on DVD I realized the figures in the haze. Jesus christ.

TWIN PEAKS (series): An obvious commitment here, seeing as it is 29 episodes long, but once you get through the second episode and view the Red Room scenes, you will not want to stop. Not all of the episodes are directed by Lynch himself (he only does episodes 3, 8, 10, 15, 29) and near the middle of season two when he leaves the set, the show begins to take a bit of a swing for the worse, but the final episode is itself perhaps one of the most disconcerting pieces of film ever recorded. You will drown in this show if you allow it.

TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME: This is my favorite Lynch film, I think, but you can't watch it without having seen the series to its completion. Or you could, but you wouldn't enjoy it as much. David Bowie's presence in the beginning of this film still haunts me for reasons I'm not quite sure about and I sometimes have a yearning to eat creamed corn. There is a reason this film was panned and it is not because critics are intelligent.

MULHOLLAND DRIVE: This film, coupled with INLAND EMPIRE, its sister, are perhaps now becoming my favorite experience in Lynch's set. This film isn't as bizarre or jarring as the previous ones, but there is something skewed and otherworldly about it, sort of drug-state-is (not that I'd know, never having used drugs), sort of like being asleep with a television on. One of the great things about Lynch to me is his cryptic weaving, in which the films all seem to run together in slight ways, and the little loopholes in the film that lead off to other places. There is a cryptic reference to TWIN PEAKS in here that I read about on the internet that is one of the most chilling cross-referential moments in film history, though I won't mention it for spoiler's sake. If you're curious and don't know, email me.

INLAND EMPIRE: I saw this in the theater 3 times. It's about 3 hours long. Most people I went with did not like it. This film, as I said above, is a sister to Mulholland Drive for many reasons, not all of which can be outlined. This film will hang in my mind as one of those I always come back to and never quite fully understand. I have always wanted the ability to record my dreams and this is probably the closest incarnation of that I'll ever have. This film also contains the greatest and most important closing credits sequence of all time.

WILD AT HEART: You just watched all that heaviness. Now you need to see Lynch sort of mocking himself. This movie is probably the funniest of his movies, unless you think Blue Velvet is funny, which I kind of do. I can't stand Nicholas Cage but he works perfectly in this film. This film contains one of the most iconic Lynch scenes of a woman covering her face with lipstick. Also contains an appearance by CRISPIN GLOVER, which is one of the best scenes in the film and one of Glover's best scenes. WILLEM DEFOE's character alone makes this movie worth seeing.

THE ELEPHANT MAN: This is probably the saddest film of all time. It is unlike all of Lynch's other films in that it is mostly based in reality and does not employ the absurd. This film will crush you in a way completely different from all of his other films.

LOST HIGHWAY: Probably one of the most shit on of Lynch's films, though the first 40 minutes of this movie are some of the creepiest viewing ever put on tape. It is filmed at Lynch's home and contains shots of people just walking into black, as if the home is endless. Architecture is strange in this film. The second 2/3rds of the film contains some very hard to follow alinearity, if you are perturbed by that kind of thing. To me it works. Richard Pryor makes an appearance in this film in a state where he is clearly mentally destroyed and it is strange to see. The MR. EDDIE character and his driving scene make me want to be a different person. If anything, the ending of this movie kind of bugs me because it almost feels hokey, but if you think about it the right way, it works.

SHORT FILMS OF DAVID LYNCH: By now you've seen most everything and you'll be wanting more. If you've made it this far you'll want the rest. There are a lot of excellent minor things left to see. THE GRANDMOTHER, on the short films DVD Lynch put out himself, is just as iconic to his filmmaking as ERASERHEAD, and is a must see. There is some filler on the rest of the disc, but this alone is worth it, and the rest is nice to see for context, but not vital. There is a best of the web disc that features short films that he put on, but nothing on there is that important, though certain short films help illuminate INLAND EMPIRE, and are again somewhat engrossing as a mind state if nothing else. HOTEL ROOM is more difficult to find but is pretty interesting and again features CRISPIN GLOVER.

DUNE I did not include above as I don't really see it as a Lynch film, particularly because it was butchered by the studio and not his story (though ELEPHANT MAN still feels like Lynch's), but it is still worth seeing and could be one of the better science fiction movies.

THE STRAIGHT STORY I also did not include even though I like it, because it is different than all of the above, being a G rated Disney movie (for real: which alone is Lynchian enough) but probably still fits with everything else in some strange way.

You need to watch these movies from beginning to end without stopping, in a dark room with the volume very loud. Sound in Lynch's films is vital moreso than any other filmmaker I can think of.

I think one day Lynch will be remembered as the greatest video artist of all time. He has influenced me as much if not more than any writer. He is one of the few things I am still fanboy about, the others being David Foster Wallace and candy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I am having trouble often not feeling dumb before I speak. Most people find things more poetic if you switch up the way they are punctuated. This thought is similar to the advice my teacher Amy Hempel once suggested: "The more literal you are, the more metaphorical people think you are being." One day my jealousy might implode me if there is anything left to implode by then. I'd like my fingerprints to show up somewhere that I'm sure I've never been. At the scene of some brutal mercy killing, or an ecological disaster. I would not mind spending a long time in a single room as long as I could be alone. I would wear the orange incarceration jumpsuit long after I'd been released. I have a plan to witness trouble in an abstract sense.

'Let's see how long this night lasts with no tongue in your rectum'
is something I'd like to say to someone sometime without sarcasm. The things I say out loud in real life often suggest that I am not who I most likely am. I have trouble with demonstration. I have trouble picking what I want to eat. When I do pick what I eat I find it is often not what I really wanted. I am probably not getting tickled enough these days. If I were a police officer I would go around in mom and pop stores picking things up things I want and putting them inside my shirt and looking to see if the owner would object. Instant oatmeal is underrated. If I ever get a tattoo, it will be of a word that does not exist. If I ever get a tattoo, please find me in the street.

For Christmas my sister and I are going in together to buy my dad a hummingbird feeder. Last year I got him a shit ton of lottery tickets and he didn't win any money with them. I put random stocks on my stock ticker on my Google homepage just to see the way their numbers move. Once I received an envelope in the mail addressed to me with absolutely nothing in it. I held it up against the light and it glowed a little, except the stamp.

Fence Reading List

In each issue of Fence they usually get the contributors to submit a reading list of books they are reading and books they love. I sent mine but it got lost and wasn't received in time to be printed. Oh well. Here it was:

The Famished Road by Ben Okri
The Hour Sets by Michael Boyko
Our Ecstatic Days by Steve Erickson
No Real Light by Joe Wenderoth
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Suttree by Cormac McCarthy
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Other Electricities by Ander Monson
Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson
Omensetter's Luck by William Gass
Two Brothers by Brian Evenson
The Twits by Roald Dahl
you are a little bit happier than i am by Tao Lin
The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer
I. by Stephen Dixon

Now I'm done reading all of those and I'm looking for something new, but nothing on my to-read pile sounds good right now. Suggestions?


Monday, December 10, 2007

Rejection + THE TUNNEL

Today I got a personal rejection from John D'Agata, the lyric essay editor at the Seneca Review, whose book of essays HALLS OF FAME I absolutely adore, and who also edited THE NEXT AMERICAN ESSAY, which is by far to me the criterion of excellence in creative nonfiction. I felt really happy to see he'd taken the time to comment on two lists I'd sent him, asked to see more in the future, and signed his name. A good rejection can make you feel just as good as an acceptance, at times.

NOTE: The December web update of Hobart features an interview with Jesse Ball by Shane Jones, as well as an excerpt from one of several new books by him, as well as also a story THE PEACHES ARE CHEAP by Mike Young, which I'd read before in its publication in MONDAY NIGHT LIT. It is a great story.

Anyhow, now, this week I've been slightly reobsessed with THE TUNNEL by William H. Gass.

THE TUNNEL is a 651 page novel released by Dalkey Archive Press. Gass spent more than 30 years writing it. It was his second book. I read this book for the first time about 4 years ago, days which I spent endless hours on my bed in a basement bedroom with no windows, reading until I felt ill. The book is about a man writing about the Holocaust, during which he begins digging a tunnel in his basement pretty much for no reason. But the subject of the book becomes irrelevant: this is an encyclopedic novel of the widest breadth. Virtually any subject you can imagine arises.

If there's ever been an accomplishment of language play in literature, this is the high water mark. Looking at prose poetry, which has become popular among excellent poets like Ben Lerner, Noah Eli Gordon, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Tony Tost, and so on, THE TUNNEL seems to predicate it all. It is a prose poem that goes on for 651 pages and almost never loses its intensity. It is word play to the extreme. You can open this book to any page almost and be hit with a sentence that is so adept in craft it makes you quease a little. At least, it does me. It is a very difficult read, but an experience unto itself.

Here is a .jpg excerpt, chosen mostly at random via Amazon book search. Click on the image and you can read it:

The type of this book is also very unusual. There are lots of inserted photos and weird fonts and printing that makes the book look warped.

One of the facets of the book is the creation of a group called the PDP, or THE PARTY OF DISAPPOINTED PEOPLE, which I think about sometimes in the evening.

I found another text by Gass online, in which he wrote up preparations for the person that would work on designing THE TUNNEL as a book, which is incredible in and of itself, even if you haven't read the actual book: Designing the Tunnel.

If you are interested in Gass, but not quite ready for perhaps the most demanding book of all time, I'd recommend starting with OMENSETTER'S LUCK, which about 1/3rd as long, and has a more concrete story, and is kind of Cormac McCarthy on LSD. There's an image in that book where a man is hanging in the top of a very high tree in the middle of a forest that I will never be able to get out of my mind.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Fence v10 n1

The new issue of FENCE is out now (not sure where, but their website features the issue and you can order it there under the subscribe tab).

The issue, like all of Fence's issues, looks smashing:

and is full of a ridiculous amount of incredible writers, including: NICK FLYNN, JOE WENDEROTH, J'LYNN CHAPMAN, ROB COOK, JOYELLE MCSWEENEY, PAUL MALISZEWSKI, RIKKI DUCORNET, ALISSA NUTTING, and PRAGEETA SHARMA (whose new book is also just released from Fence Books).

I don't know how I ended up among such people.

My contribution is another list, this time published as a poem. I have now published lists as fiction, nonfiction, poetry and other.

This one is #26 and titled: RAIN.

I have a poem called RAIN.

Next I am going to write a poem called: PAIN.

And then one called: DADDY.

I hate that Plath poem DADDY. I don't know why it is so revered.

Anyway, here are the first few lines of RAIN.

1. Today I wanted to feel evil.
2. To put my lips to the breach and breathe.
3. Corral the remnants of my spirit as in the way a horse is trained to jump for show.
In the high-jump event, the puissance wall may get taller than seven feet.
5. Last week while running I saw a muscular Italian with a little fluffy dog. He was jogging very slowly: slow enough that the dog tried to stop and take a shit.
6. The man didn’t notice. He kept on running, and the dog felt itself getting pulled, causing it to run to keep from getting choked while the shit still fell out of its ass.
7. Soon I will be finished moving in to my new home.
8. My loft apartment where the trains pass and my next-door neighbor has Tourette’s.
9. In the evenings his whoop and whistle, his grunt, his bark, his woo-hoo! ha!
10. Laughing in some forced way as if having an orgasm he doesn't want.
To most religious believers evil consists of more than a series of individually destructive acts, constituting a powerful and mysterious supernatural or metaphysical force that lies behind individual instances of hurt and suffering.
12. At my parents' house, a photo on the fridge of me at 15, weighing 80 pounds more than I do now, in a turquoise shirt with sweaty pits and a bowl cut.
13. Beneath, the caption:
You can do it!
14. Most nights I lay awake until 4 AM.

To read the rest, buy the issue. I haven't gotten my copy yet, but Fence is always worth the money.

One time they had tits on their cover, if you didn't see:

Supposedly I was yelling about tits the other night drunk in Fellini's Pizza at 1:30 am.

Another day a man was trying to sell me a lizard in the street.

To receive this publication, I tailored the inseam of a young man's pantshorts so that it would more befit his crotch region, thus increasing his attractability and increasing his odds of finding a wife, so that he will not grow old alone and masturbating and at the gym staring at women in their spandex pants and buying coffee at the Starbucks and talking too long to the barista, who wishes she could drink Frappuchino for breakfast, lunch and dinner without the anguish of gaining weight, and therefore growing old alone and masturbating.

My girlfriend is very beautiful.

Friday, December 7, 2007

CD Mix Nov-Dec 07

Because I am rather bored, having already eaten the Key Lime Pie yogurt that was in my refrigerator, having already run my 2.2 miles for the day, waiting to eat dinner and not knowing what else to do with myself, I will write about a mix cd I have been listening to for the past month on repeat while driving in traffic or at night or to go somewhere to stop being hungry.

The only way I can enjoy music anymore is to make a cd like this with songs that won't get old and listen to it until the songs are engraved on my brain and I don't need to hear them ever again, which takes about 2-3 months:

1. INTERPOL 'Pioneer to the Falls' - I really liked Interpol's first record. Their second record sucked a little more but was still listenable. Their new album pretty much mostly all sucks, except for some reason this first track that I sometimes listen to 10-15 times in a row before going to the next track.

2. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE 'Derek' - Animal Collective are rather overrated I think, but their new album STRAWBERRY JAM is really good. This song does the Beach Boys thing and then goes into a repetitive beat that I can not stop my hands from banging on the steering wheel while I drive. I like the title 'Derek' for a song. I don't know why.

3. DEAD PREZ 'I'm a African' - I enjoy saying the lyrics to this song aloud. It makes me feel correct and angry in a good way. The last line to this song is, "All you uncle Tom ass-kissin' niggas got to go." I said this line to my mom the other day when I visited their house and she poked me with a wooden spoon and refused to let me have a bite of her sandwich.

4. TALKING HEADS 'Animals (LIVE)' - This live version from the live record 'THE NAME OF THIS BAND IS THE TALKING HEADS' is very different from the studio version in subtle ways. I like that he says things about animals. 'YOU KNOW ANIMALS ARE HAIRY. THEY SAY THEY DON'T NEED MONEY.' David Byrne is one of the few musicians I still believe always knows what he is doing as is intelligent. His performance in their live dvd STOP MAKING SENSE is one of the most excellent performances in music. The studio version of this song makes me feel like I am several times larger than I am.

5. RADIOHEAD 'All I Need' - I stopped liking and started hating Radiohead when they put out KID A. I think Radiohead is partially responsible for the death of music as art, by their trying to be the opposite of that. This song is a return to the good they once were. It is already a song I find hard to listen to because of the texture of its goodness. Radiohead is still full of shit.

6. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN 'The Yo-Yo Man' - This song is catchy without using any of the normal methods of pop song. It sounds incomplete but is also perfect. Right now I want some creamed corn.

7. AESOP ROCK 'Five Fingers' - This song has an excellent bassline. Bass often makes music good to me. This song makes me move abnormally. Aesop Rock has a tongue.

8. SUBTLE 'The Mercury Craze' - Another steering wheel basher. There is no group like this that has ever existed ever. This song says, 'WHAT IF YOUR BLOOD WEREN'T YOU?'

9. COCTEAU TWINS 'Fifty-Fifty Clown' - I hated Cocteau Twins until I got really drunk one night and rode in a friends car half-looned and it all made sense. This song could be on a soft rock radio station and it is very perfect. I often wish I knew what she was saying in these songs because it mostly sounds like gibberish but it's probably better that way. She reminds me of a dungeon master's girlfriend angrily writing Plath poetry at the lunch table in high school.

10. BLONDE REDHEAD 'Publisher' - Good. New album very good space pop with weird vocals and lots of layers. Music jargon.

11. BONNIE PRINCE BILLY 'Another Day Full of Dread' - Currently one of my favorite songs. The lyrics to this song are excellent. This song is my myspace song. People look at other people on myspace. People update their myspace. I have myspace even though I talked shit about it for more than a year before I finally signed up.

12. BUSDRIVER 'Mr. Mistake' - Another good pseudo-rap pop song that is very catchy and with very fast lyrics except for on the chorus which feels like yams.

13. TOM WAITS 'Jayne's Blue Wish' - One of Tom Waits's crushers, from the rarities triple album he released last year or the year before that. I also hated Tom Waits and talked shit about him for years before I finally understood him after hearing the song ALICE from the album ALICE. Tom Waits can do anything he wants and it usually works and is good. One time Tom Waits was on David Letterman and talked about horses 'cribbing,' which is when they chew on the wood of their stalls. He showed pictures of some 'cribbing' a horse had done where it formed a picture of a horse jumping out of a stall.

I just wasted a lot of time.

I sometimes wish I did not hate music now. I used to own more than 2500 cds. Now I rarely can enjoy anything for more than a little while because it gets boring or old or I stop liking it. Some songs are good. I don't know what I'm talking about. I am about to go eat Korean BBQ and I might hate it.

I feel the oncoming of something good.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fairy Tale Porn & Reading

The next issue of Lamination Colony (Jan 08) will be a feature on fairy tale porn. That could be interpreted however you like. If you have something that might fit this genre, please submit. Really. Submissions not applicable to this genre will be held over to our subsequent update.

I am reading more than I am writing this week. That feels good actually.

I read:

MEYER by Stephen Dixon
POVEL by Geraldine Kim
WIDE EYED by Trinie Dalton (I picked this up after rereading her awesome story in the Fall/Winter 2006 of Ninth Letter)

I am now reading:

THE HORNED MAN by James Lasdun (on recommendation from Ross Simonini)

This week and last I am slowly launching on my quest to place my story collection and as a result the rest of my mind is silent.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bear Parade & Pushcart 3 & Dream

The new Bear Parade book small pale humans by daniel spinks is now released and it is excellent. You should go read it right now. It will take about 15-20 minutes and is very worth it.

Here are some of the lines I liked best:

'"You kept saying masturbate a kitten. Did you go on the internet again."'

'But I thought of my poor sperm just lying there on the Berber carpet. I couldn't abandon them. I took them and put them in an empty pickle jar, which I hid on my side of the closet next to all the Christmas gifts I still had to wrap.'

'She cut off a part of her pancake that had not been touched by syrup and wrapped it in a napkin. She held it with two fingers and made a face like she wanted to punch something in the throat.'

Those were actually chosen pretty arbitrarily. Most every line is excellent.

Go fucking read it, damn you.

While you're at it, if you haven't yet, read Tao Lin's essay on modern fiction, which is one of the best things I've read in a while.

3 AM nominated me for the Pushcart also this year, for my poem 'eventually i will be mostly lipid.' Thanks to Tao and the someone that helped him.

I have had extremely violent dreams the past two nights. They have been very long and realistic seeming while in the dream and emotionally assaulting. The last thing I remember before I woke up today was my father, who looked like Hulk Hogan, was in a dimly lit room where he'd been assaulting some woman who was supposed to be my mother but looked nothing like her. I'd been hiding in the other room watching him attack people and show his teeth for several real time hours in the dream. At the very end he saw me watching them and had an apple he was holding and was being very casual about how he had my mother straddled on the ground and was beating her and making her scream. He was trying to force the apple in her mouth but being all teasing about it and he let her take it away from him. She thought she'd gotten the upper hand. She was beating with him with the apple while I laid on the carpet near them watching and the light was still very low. My father looked up at me smiling while my mother beat his head with the fruit. Then he took out some matches and lit the stem of the apple and grinned even bigger and the stem of the apple started to burn like a fuse and my mother who did not look anything like my mother could not get the apple out of her hand.