Monday, March 31, 2008

from 'LIGHT or _____ or SMEAR'





from LIGHT or _____ or SMEAR
which is from, right now, PINK ENORMOUS ROOM, or maybe YEAR OF WEIRD LIGHT, or maybe OUR YEAR OF WEIRD LIGHT IN A PINK ENORMOUS ROOM, or maybe SMEGMA WEEKEND, but likely something else entirely:


[text removed]

Friday, March 28, 2008

Harmony Korine

Q: Hey, you know that story about how you lost a whole movie script when all your stuff was burned in a house fire. Is it true that you paid people at NASA to retrieve the hard-drive off your melted laptop?

HK: It cost me close to $15,000 and all I got back was a single sentence that said: "The speech is pointless; the finger is speechless." That was the entire thing. It was the most money ever paid for a sentence.

(rest of interview in Vice)


his video for Bonnie Prince Billy

I am touching BATS OUT OF HELL by Barry Hannah and eating Jelly Belly

I have two things in OCHO 19. Mike Young, P.F. Potvin are there. It is $8 on amazon, as are all the OCHO back issues.

Thank you Didi Menendez. Didi Menendez also has just announced a new print vessel, which is now open to submissions: Oranges & Sardines.

I still have room for a couple of 'X' submissions in the next LAMINATION COLONY. If you didn't see the part of this post about it earlier, I am accepting 100% of the next ten things that are sent in with an X in the email subject. These pieces are subject to my edits and my name. See that post for more info (its at the bottom).

People should send anything. Doesn't have to be a 'finished' story, or a story at all. I am going to mangle it.

For the issue after this issue I want to publish work with bios including pictures of the each author naked reading a book they hate. I think that would be funny and get people to look. But no one will probably do that.

I also want to solicit certain writers and then reject whatever they send very meanly without reading it and try to be mean enough to get them to respond and then post the email correspondence. I can think of some writers I don't know at all who I would do this to. It would be fun. It wouldn't mean I hate them or their writing, but it would mean something else, I don't know what.

I feel really dumb today don't listen to me

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Book Order Blabber

Someone is probably feeling particularly lonely.

Met with FEMA again today. They asked me the same questions the first guy did. They wanted to 'check his efficiency'. Still no update on moving back in. One guy who works on site said it would be 6-8 months for at least two of the buildings. I don't think I blinked when he said that. He said he thought it would be much sooner for my building, but he still did not know. Could be a couple weeks maybe he said.

My awesome friend Bree from Bennington days sent me an Amazon card last night. I was going to replace ERASERHEAD with it. Then I started looking at my wish list and ended up buying a bunch of new stuff instead. I got 5 books by 5 women. I got:

STRANGER THINGS HAPPEN by Kelly Link (I've read a lot of this already but I want to own it. I love MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS and recommend it to anyone. I met Kelly Link at AWP and told her her story STONE ANIMALS is in my top five stories ever, which is true. She blushed a little. She was nice. She asked me what other stories were in my top 5 but I couldn't think of it and can't really think now. Probably 'THE INTRICACIES OF POST-SHOOTING ETIQUETTE' by Brian Evenson, or maybe TWO BROTHERS by him instead. Maybe both of those counting as one. Maybe THE PEDERSON KID by William H. Gass. Maybe MR SQUISHY by David Foster Wallace. Probably definitely something by David Foster Wallace. Maybe THE DEPRESSED PERSON by him. I haven't read him in awhile I can't remember. Maybe THE SWITCH by Stephen Dixon. I don't know. I really like the Lydia Davis story called something like LETTER TO THE FUNERAL PARLOR. 'The cremains.' That wouldn't be in my top five. Julia Slavin something? DRIVEWAY by Jim Shepard is really good, as are several other of his stories. Last night I reread Miranda July's THE MAN ON THE STAIRS from Fence which you can read online HERE and I really liked it again despite some people thinking she's overrated. I don't think she's overrated. Not in my top 5 though still. Fuck what's the name of that one Barry Hannah story in BATS OUT OF HELL that I liked so much. I can't remember. Was it SLOW TIMES IN A LONG SCHOOL? I don't think so. Best title: UPSTAIRS, MONA BAYED FOR DONG. Oh shit, definitely THE BLOOD JET by Christine Schutt. That's top 5. Probably a lot I'm not thinking off of the top of my head here. I miss my books and shelves. Maybe I will think about this again later.)

I also got: OH BABY by Kim Chinquee (hopefully I won't start talking about her in my sleep now)

and CARRYING THE BODY by Dawn Raffel (it's on sale for less than $5 new on amazon, go look)

and FLET by Joyelle McSweeney (I'd read a bunch of it and it was cool and apocalyptic, want to read the whole thing and I'll buy most any new Fence book because they are nice to hold)

and ATLASSED by Jane Unrue (because someone was talking about it on their blog, I think Shane Jones, can't remember, but the premise sounds really good).
Thank you again Bree you are the shit.

I have managed to waste some more time today good.

Time has been moving as it does in an Amos Tutola book lately.

"Cherries. I like cherries in my ice cream. I like the name of cherries. Cherries."

I swear now I'm going to go do some WORK.

P.S. If you are in NYC tonight, you need to go see ROBERT LOPEZ and MIRANDA MELLIS reading together for Calamari at McNally Robinson. I wish I could be there. Two of the best books of last year by far (or any year for that matter). Go. Go. Go.

Monday, March 24, 2008

David Lynch & Online Reading & FEMA

Matthew Savoca has published INLAND EMPIRE, a kind of response to my TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME.

In it, I am killed. I have now been killed in online stories by Matthew Savoca and Sam Pink, who are two of my favorites.

Good job Matthew.

I encourage more people to kill me in their online work.

Please kill the fuck out of me in your online work. Kill me with a bobsled. Kill me with a tickle. Kill me with the rough edge of your entire blog printed out and distributed as a chapbook. Kill me with titties. I am white and I should die.

Someone who should not die is Chelsea Martin, who sent me her chapbook DREAM DATE which is very awesome. You can read a section of it on Pequin.

Chelsea Martin also had an awesome piece about McDonald's in Ken Baumann's really nice new online journal No Posit, which is all around most excellent.

Chelsea Martin is also known as 'Condom Girl Chelsea Martin' (yes people have been Googling that) due to her Lamination Colony contributor video.

Good job Chelsea and Ken.

I feel like congratulating people today. Most days I have to talk myself out of talking shit at least for a minute. I like things.

There is also a new ebook now online from Publishing Genius. This one is by Joseph Young, and contains some very bizarre and cool sentences. It's a quick and interesting read. Here: GOD NOT OTHERWISE.

Good job Joseph and Adam.

On Monday morning, I met with FEMA to analyze the damage to my apartment. I still have not been given a date I can move back in. FEMA might do something for me. They might not. There is a lot more water in there than I'd realized. When I came in with FEMA they had two huge dehumidifiers running and had moved all my shit to the center of the room haphazardly.

Good job FEMA worker and home rebuilders.

Good job me no insurance having dreamboat.

The tornado fucked up my ERASERHEAD and THE SHORT FILMS OF DAVID LYNCH dvd sets, which were $50 each and came in these really amazing box packages. My other DVDs were all okay. The tornado had discerning taste as to what it would destroy. The tornado was not a surrealist. I will shit in the tornado's lunchsack.

Good job Amos Tutola, whose MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS I just finished reading and was very happy about and felt connected to and inspired by and want to read again.


After I cut my face off, it will available for auction via eBay until it is removed for TOS violations. All bids in the interim will be compiled and contacted thereafter outside of eBay in an attempt to negotiate a deal. My face will be shipped in a ceramic template and wrapped in a multi-polymer coated with geese grease to preserve form and color and bland expression, as well as most recent odor after having taken a bath in my mother's bathtub with lavender Stress Relief beads and/or lye. Certain versions of my face appeared in slightly altered formats in Zoetrope: All Story, La Petite Zine, New York Tyrant and Big Black N Bitchin. Face may also come packaged with my penis and testicles and/or a pair of yellow safety scissors and/or the copy of Gordon Lish's PERU that has been sitting in my mom's guest bedroom for slightly longer than a year. The book, as well as my face and balls and corresponding carrying cases (included), may carry a small remainder mark. I will ship to overseas. I will leave positive feedback within 48 hours of receiving payment, as long as said payment eventually disintegrates my bank account and/or is rendered in dog hair and/or Latin textbooks (ECCE ROMANI preferred) and/or candy and/or guilt. I am a caring and efficient eBay seller with over 1300 years of sales experience among the Market of Minor Hope. RELATED KEYWORD SEARCHES: tickle baby; costume dinnerparty; no more embarrassing trips to the doctor; shrinking loft apartment; bubble fuck; head suspenders; ouch.

The information transmitted is intended solely for the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of or taking action in reliance upon this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. Do not eat what you wake up with in bed. Do not shave too near your eyelids. Do not 'enjoy'. Do not kiss your mother within a certain time period of having spoken verbal endearments and/or praise. Your bedroom ceiling is made of skin. Your prior face is prone to deterioration. Your pestivum is blossnorti. If you have received this email in error please contact the sender and delete the material from any computer. SunTrust and Seeing beyond money are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Long Post About Editing + New LC Submissions Call

Rather strange submission snafu this past week: got an email from Faultline editors, saying that a story I had sent them 'TOUR OF THE DROWNED NEIGHBORHOOD' (one of the shorter pieces from SCORCH ATLAS) was one of 5 stories out of 500 that'd been sent to them that were being considered for an upcoming issue. They asked for an electronic copy, which I sent. Then 2 days later, they said they wanted the story. They did, though, have some editing suggestions, which I always more than welcome. I've had some stories greatly improved by editors between acceptance and publication (most recently Todd Zuniga from Opium cut about 15% of a story they are publishing in Opium.print 6 or 7, 90% of which I totally agreed with and felt that the story was made 'better' by the edits). I do not feel 'overly protective' of my work. If someone with a clean eye and 'good taste' can see something in a work that I did not see, and the improvement genuinely makes the story 'clearer' then I am all about cutting and rearranging, as long as I have final say.

The edits to the Faultline story, however, were much more 'overhauling' than I expected. The story is about 1500 words, made up mostly of lines that describe the condition of a neighborhood pre and post underwater states. Most of the lines begin with 'This is', and then explain different parts of the neighborhood, however concretely or 'intuitively'.

The 'new version' of the story rearranged the order of the lines, taking the ones that seemed to most follow one another in a 'narrative' sense and lining them up so that the 'narration' followed a 'path'. It cut about 30% of the story, aiming at the lines that had less palpable narrative sense. Lines that just described parts of the neighborhood without referring to the inbound sense of narration that somewhat involves characters. It also cut what the editors considered a 'surreal' moment, in the midst of what they considered a 'strange but real' story.

The story is about a neighborhood underwater, I'll say again.

They did not want a 'surreal' moment in a story about a neighborhood underwater.

Anyhow, the story the way they had it was basically not at all what I'd written. It was chopped up bits from the original, reordered to try to form a 'narrative'. They'd cut all the lines that I liked most, the ones that just said things and didn't have 'meaning' that contributed to the 'arc' of a story that did not mean to have an 'arc'.

After thinking about it a lot I wrote them back and told them I didn't want to publish their version of the story because it did not feel like the story. They were very kind about it, and there was no ill will of any sort, the specific editor was very nice and polite and understanding and they said maybe we could work on it to come to a compromise but with the week as busy as its been with my house still gone and etc., I haven't even had time to think if I want to redraft the story. Which I don't.

All that said, I am confused about how that happened in the first place. If the story was, as they said, chosen out of 500, why would they want to take it and completely rearrange it? What was it about that original that made them think it was worth choosing out of 500 stories if they then did not want to publish the story they had chosen?

The more I think about it, the more I get confused, and the more glad I am that it has just kind of fizzled off.

I should post both versions of the story here so you can see how drastically different they are. I'm really not being picky. Two totally different stories.

For me 'editing' is less about 'pride' or 'identity' than it is about what you are creating. With the Lish editing Carver shit a couple months ago, to me that's a great example of how editing can improve a story and should be published with the edits, but even that is subject to extreme controversy. No one can say 'for sure'. Two years ago I might have jumped at the chance to be in Faultline. In fact, back then I sent out all kinds of crap on whims just trying to get in anywhere, not even rereading what I was sending to make sure it was 'good' in my mind, let alone in anyone else's. I was so hungry I would often eat my tongue. It's funny, I guess, the amount of time it took for me to figure out 'what I want to do' may or may not line up with someone else's idea of 'what should be done' and that in the end it doesn't really matter anyway, where your words end up, if they aren't worth reading in the first place. It took me a long time, too, to finally listen to the most common things a lot of journals have on their submission guidelines 'Read an issue to see our taste.' How often I sent stuff to journals with no idea, and let my rejection pile grow and grow and grow (not that it's stopped now), just because I didn't even know that X journal doesn't tend to run stories like Z.

It's pretty funny too seeing how many people still haven't realized that. Even in going through the ample but not nearly as heavy as other places I imagine submissions queue for Lamination Colony, I never fail to be amazed how once a week or so I get a straightforward love story or ABAB poetry. This is an online journal. You didn't even bother to look for two seconds to read and see that I mainly publish stuff about shitting or titties or homes that absorb their owners or so on and so on and so on. Wouldn't your family feel weird when you send them out a link to your Lamination Colony published sestina about winter weather and they accidentally click on Sean Kilpatrick's story and read "The woman a floor below us began her menstrual cycle. I could distinguish the bloat and grind of her expanding uterus, hear the egg leak."?

Actually, fuck: for the next issue of Lamination Colony I am going to accept 100% of the next 10 items sent to me. Put 'X' in the subject line. That's all. You will be in the next issue. Only the next 10 though.

Here's the catch: I can edit the pieces however I want to. I can delete the whole damn file down to the word 'and' and insert all my own words around it. I can meld your story with another one of the 'X' submissions. I can paste the definition for 'sputum' into the speech bubble where your narrator says the line that you felt most defined him as a character in your mind and that you felt really proud about while leaving your writing computer to go eat broccoli with whoever you are dating. Or I can keep them just as they are and say I wrote them. I can do anything I want.

The stories submitted with an 'X' in the subject line will be published under my name. You'll get credit too, but on the front page there will be 10 pieces by me in my magazine. You'll be mentioned somewhere, but you are insignificant in the outcome. Your words, my choice.

If you are game for that, send me anything, and go ahead and tick your next publication off in your bitchass submissions tracker list. We're also still open for 'regular' submissions and the next issue is going to be snazzy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


On a recent announcement entry on the website for Opium Magazine, some guy named Ed Tasca commented twice.

First he said: Ed Tasca 3.18.2008
I'd like to submit a short story.

Then he did another comment with his entire 7000+ word story including his phone number for contact. Just right out there in the main page, inserted his whole story for submission as a comment. [NOTE: OPIUM HAS SINCE DELETED THE STORY COMMENT AND REPLACED IT WITH A NOTE ON HOW TO SUBMIT] The story was about fishing. I think I remember about 10 stories from my MFA workshop periods that were about fishing. People of a certain age tend to seem to need to write about fishing. Maybe to help deal with their dad dying. Maybe when my dad dies I will write a story about fishing even though he and I never went fishing. I mostly find fishing pretty boring. I'm not one for sitting in the same spot for hours. Actually that's not true. I spend every day sitting in the same spot in front of my computer, fishing for email and for other shit to look at. When I was fat I sat in front of the computer playing PC roleplaying games like Might & Magic II. I kept playing the game long after I beat it, just going around getting more experience points and finding weird weapons and shit.

Peter Markus writes a lot about fishing. He writes about fishing in a way that I think is different than most others. I just read a copy of his BOB, OR MAN ON BOAT that is coming out from DZANC soon. I like Peter Markus's writing. Peter Markus out-Hemingways Hemingway for writing stripped down THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO SAY sentences. Peter Markus has phenomenal intuition. Peter Markus is very attentive to tone. He is capable of writing books that have 'bleak' subject matter but which do not feel overridingly 'bleak.' He manages to make 'bleak' seem 'uplifting' in certain senses, in a way that could be read to a child and appreciated by an adult at the same time.

I got a very nice rejection this week that essentially said they loved the work but that overall it was 'too bleak.' That they wanted to publish it but it was 'too bleak.' I have been told this before about book length manuscripts. I was told this by one of my MFA professors who is a very excellent writer and teacher. She said I was bleak all the time and that in order to balance the bleak I needed to include more light. Even when I include more light my light ends up seeming bleak, I think.

Many writers I admire write 'bleak' fiction, with little to no 'light'.

Brian Evenson.

Cormac McCarthy (though when he included more 'light' in THE ROAD he ended up on Oprah).

William Gass.

Stephen Dixon.

Stephen Dixon has one of the most bleak stories of all time: 'The Switch.' It was in the first Dixon book McSweeney's put out, called: I. One of my favorite story collections ever. Bleak as fucking night. 'The Switch' starts something like 'I wanted to try to look at it from her perspective.' and then goes on to have the narrator portrayed as sick and fucked and shitting and pissing himself and his wife trying to take care of him but being very mean because she is tired and you keep realizing throughout the story that he is talking about himself being mean to his wife in real life when he is talking about the wife being mean to the sick person in the story because he 'switched' the perspective in the beginning, which makes the writing penetrate even harder instead of 'feeling sorry', and makes you feel more and more fucked and sad and the sad makes you feel surrounded by warmth.

'Sad' stories do not make me feel 'sad'. 'Bleak' stories make me feel 'less alone,' I guess, as someone like Tao Lin would say. Not everyone thinks like that, I realize. I gave my mom a copy of SUTTREE for Christmas last year and she read it and liked it but said it was very bleak and that now she needed to read a sewing magazine or something. I can understand that. But I think there is something about 'bleakness' that is more 'real' in the telling and that I 'identify' with more often and thus in the long run feel 'better about life' in reading.

My novel-in-stories SCORCH ATLAS is mostly 'bleak' on the surface. I think there is some light in it, but perhaps the light is often 'subtle.' The humor is often 'dark humor'. There are 'uplifting' moments, I think. There are 'jokes'. I hope soon I am able to 'publish' my book so I can fixate on something else.

Now I'm going to shut up.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dr. Phil / Book / Links

I blogged as Dr. Phil for News Groper. I think I may be regularly blogging as Dr. Phil there. Jimmy Chen does an awesome Marilyn Manson blog. Ben Greenman is also a staff writer. I plan to get nasty now that I'm in.

I didn't drink coffee the last two days and got extreme caffeine headaches in both evenings.

I've found myself in the middle of writing another book I think, based off a sentence I found written on my hand one morning when I woke up.

This is funny.

Having this in my RSS feed continues to make me feel good everyday:

Monday, March 17, 2008


Thank you to everyone who commented/wrote/called about the tornado shit. It has been and continues to be pretty disconcerting and/or surreal and/or difficult. I finally got to go into my place this morning and check it out. I was really lucky. My window had been busted out so the firemen could get in but there was no other damage to the actual building structure. A lot of wet got into my closet and messed up some stuff and there was a fine layer of dust and crap all over everything, but other than that, it is intact. My stuff is fine, with the exception of some warped books, and an impending case of mildew. There's still no word as to when we'll be able to go back to living in the building, as many others were severely damaged. A wooden roof beam flew off of one building and basically impaled the living room of a unit three doors down from me. My neighbor on my right had his roof ripped open and lost all his stuff. I'm still a little fucked on not being able to sell it anytime soon, but with the list of everything else that could have happened, I am thankful.

Life is strange. I think my brain is really beginning to come apart. I can kind of feel it. But okay.

- - -

On a more positive note, some fun things coming:

I have a thing in Chelsea Martin and Brandon Scott Gorrell's new zine: THIS IS STUPID I LOVE YOU, which you can get on the website I think and stuff from some awesome people like K. Silem Mohammad, Tao Lin, Kevin Sampsell, Mazie Louise Montgomery, Prathna Lor, Mike Topp and so on. I like handmade zines a lot.

I also have a review of William Walsh's WITHOUT WAX in the new print version of Rain Taxi.

What else. I don't know. Trying to distract myself. Trying to look for something.

About to start reading MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Atlanta Tornado

A tornado landed in downtown Atlanta on Friday night. The tornado landed on my loft complex. The Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts and the Stacks lofts in downtown Atlanta. I was not at my loft complex. I was a half-mile down the street at my girlfriend's house. We heard the tornado outside but it wasn't immediately apparent what was going on to me, because I hadn't been in a tornado. The trees were blowing horizontal and it was very loud.

Here is a picture of the building next to the building I live in:

If you look at the water tower in the upper middle and go down to the bottom of the building, that is where I run on a treadmill and read books by literary authors and the television broadcasting bad programming above my head in front of me on silent.

Here is the building on the right from another angle:

The tornado landed on top of this building and made 4 floors 'pancake' onto one another. This building has been standing for more than 100 years.

My girlfriend and I drove past the building right after it happened, not quite realizing the damage, though there was brick in the street. I have never seen so many trees down. You can't drive anywhere because the cops are blocking streets that aren't blocked by trees.

The building I live in is right next to this building. You can't see it in the photo. It is a much smaller building.

Around midnight on Friday night, about 2 hours after the hit, I came home half-drunk to see what happened and the cops would not let me go to my door or verify that my place was intact. They were not letting people go into the complex more than a little. My building was blocked and we had to go around a back way.

By my building there were two cops. They told us to leave. I said I wanted to look at my place and the guy said I couldn't and to leave and I still kept looking. The windows on my apartment seemed to be okay from where I was standing, but there was a huge pile of rubble in front of my door and all the other apartments in my building were damaged, including the units on both sides of me. There are only about 12 apartments in my building. Some had their roofs ripped open. The cop said if I didn't leave he would arrest me.

I haven't been allowed to enter the complex since then and I am not sure what happened inside my apartment, to my stuff.

Books and stuff. And clothes. And some stuff.

I was trying to sell my loft but now the buildings are fucked. The roofs got ripped off 3 out of 4 buildings. I don't know when we'll be allowed back in.

The shirt I am stuck wearing is not one of my favorite shirts.

They have now discovered 2 people dead in the rubble. They are still looking. Many others were hurt. I'm fine.

I don't know.

Earlier Friday morning I'd gotten a letter of bad news about money. I was angry because it was a bullshit situation that will cost me money. I was angry about bad momentum that seems to have been piling on me. I was in the parking lot at a gas station, putting gas into my tank that does not have a gas cap because someone stole it for the fourth time.

While pulling out of the Texaco on Friday morning about ten hours before the tornado came, I talked at god. I said, "If you're going to bring it, you might as well bring it all."

I said that and then I went to my parents' house to go out for my mother's birthday.

For dinner I ate veal.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Deb Olin Unferth & G w/o G

Does anyone know where I can read the story "Deb Olin Unferth" by Deb Olin Unferth besides buying the McSweeney's box? I want her little book but I don't want to buy the trio right now. Was that story published anywhere else or placed online?

Thank you.


My sleep fuck has returned.


DEREK WHITE wrote a response to Deb Olin Unferth's MINOR ROBBERIES. In it I eat nachos.

It reminded me that I'd started writing a thing about the trip, sort of in response to Ryan Call's thing about the night at AWP.

Here's what I had.

by Blake Butler

1. I was in New York City. I had been there twice before. I get lost easily. I am easy to lose. On Friday I ate a sandwich with brie and apples. Mike Young ate the same sandwich, then he left and I was alone. I was afraid about getting lost. I called some people whose numbers I had in my phone. I walked in the rain. The rain was cold. I wasn't sure where I should go. I went back to the hotel.

2. I called Robert Lopez. He was in a hotel room. He gave me the number. I went up. I walked down a long hall counting the numbers down to the number of the room I was supposed to go to. I went down another hall. I followed signs. I got to the end of the hall and the numbers ended one before the number that I wanted. I went back down the hall the way I came and saw I'd passed the room before and not noticed. I felt lost a little and a little dumb. I knocked on the door. They said, Come in. The door was locked. I waited. Peter Markus came to the door and let me in. I had met Peter Markus earlier that day and liked him. I came into the room and saw Robert Lopez sitting around the bed with Derek White and Sam Ligon and another man I hadn't met before. I shook hands with everyone. I sat on the floor against a desk. Sam Ligon told me I could have a drink if I wanted it. I made a drink with vodka and ginger ale. I sat on the floor and listened to them talk about Gordon Lish and Diane Williams and other writers. I heard a lot of funny stories about Gordon Lish, including one where he was supposedly passing around pornographic photos at a literary reading. I heard stories about other writers. I said things when I felt I knew what I could say. I liked listening to them talking. I had another drink. I had another drink. We went to dinner. After dinner, we went to another bar. I had a beer and we talked some more. We played blackjack and poker for no money. The waitress was Latino. When she wasn't serving tables, she was reading. We talked about what the book might be. I got up and walked past so I could look. The book was by Sister Souljah.

3. After leaving the other group of people, I walked alone to a bar on Times Square to meet Ryan Call. Ryan Call was with some other people I did not know. My phone kept ringing in my pocket. I was supposed to go to Brooklyn to Tao Lin and Justin Taylor's apartment. I invited Ryan Call to come with me and he said he would and I felt better about not getting lost. We left Ryan Call's other friends and went to the subway and found our way to where we were supposed to go without much trouble. When we got off at the correct stop in Brooklyn, I called Kendra Grant Malone. Kendra Grant Malone was watching us from a window. She asked me if I saw the building. I saw the building. We crossed the street. We stood outside the building and waited for to be let in.

5. Justin Taylor came down to let us in. We talked on the way up to his apartment. Inside his apartment there were people standing. There was a girl I did not know standing with another guy I did not know. There was Kendra Grant Malone. Kendra Grant Malone looked happy. Justin Taylor offered me a glass of wine. I began to drink the wine. After I'd had a couple sips of wine Justin Taylor said there was rum and coke the refrigerator. He said I should drink rum and coke. I drank the rest of the wine to make room for rum and coke. I made him a rum and coke also. I drank mine quickly. I never don't drink anything quickly. If I am holding something in my hand that is a beverage I usually drink it within minutes, just as if I am holding food in my hand that is delicious, I will also usually eat it very quickly. I drank two or three rum and cokes in a short time. Justin Taylor and I were talking about Barry Hannah. We were talking about Will Oldham. Ryan Call seemed happy even though he was in a room full of new people. I was glad he seemed comfortable since I had brought him. I did not want him to feel uncomfortable. I asked where Tao Lin was. Someone said he was at the NYU library. I drank another rum and coke.

6. Tao Lin came into the apartment. He walked in and looked around at all the people. He went into another room, I think, and got his computer. Things at this point tend to get ruined. The problem with drinking things very quickly is that you lose track of what you drank and the effect sneaks up on you before you realize. I remember Tao Lin sitting down with his computer. I remember people talking about things, but I don't remember what they were talking about. I remember my voice coming out of me very loud. I have a loud voice and don't pay attention to it, especially when I am drunk. I do not remember the conversation we had while standing around though I do remember asking Tao Lin about his very small computer. I remember checking my Gmail on it quickly. I remember Tao Lin opening my myspace and pointing to the small drawing that represents his profile on myspace. I remember thinking it was funny that we were checking Gmail and myspace at a party. I remember Tao Lin's computer keyboard on my fingers. His keyboard was very small. I remember asking him about buying a small foreign computer on ebay. I remember bananas being thrown, but I do not remember what direction they came from or who did the throwing, only the fact that they'd hurtled through the air. Ryan Call asked Tao Lin if he ran everywhere. Tao Lin said yes. I said, Tao Lin will you show me your room.


(I took a break between writing 6 and 7. In fact it is another day. I drank a lot of coffee earlier today. I am halfway crashing from the coffee.) All of us were in Tao Lin's room then. We were sitting on his bed. It felt cozy sitting on the bed with so many people. The room was rather small. The walls were white and the bed was directly on the floor. There was a small bookcase immediately to the side of the bed. I remember thinking that it was nice that Tao Lin had his books so close to his bed, and that he didn't have that many sitting out. I remember Justin Taylor and I were talking very loud at one another about Barry Hannah. I don't remember anyone else saying anything. I don't remember anything specific Justin or I said. Later I watched a video of Justin Taylor talking about Barry Hannah during this section of time but the video did not have sound. I tried to turn the volume up several times on my computer before I accepted it did not have sound. I wished that it had sound.


I do not remember anything about the time between being in Tao Lin's room and going to bed.


I remember seeing someone open up the sofa in Tao Lin and Justin Taylor's living room. I do not remember seeing who opened the sofa, only that it suddenly was open and I fell into it. I was pleased. I think I remember the light was coming up in the windows a little. It made the room look muted blue. I don't remember if there were blankets. I don't remember saying anything. I remember seeing Ryan Call laying down on the air mattress on the floor below me. I remember him saying something. I remember a bag of broccoli on the counter, but I think I remember that from earlier rather than from now. I do not remember entering the portal lodged between the two largest cushions on the sofabed. I do not remember meeting Anne Frank. I do not remember finding myself inside a dishwasher made of glass. I do not remember kicking Ryan Call in the face. I do not remember fakefucking the sofa. I do not remember Kim Chinquee.


In the morning Tao Lin woke us up. I still felt drunk and very tired. Tao Lin told me I could take a shower in his shower. He said to use the blue soap. He gave me a towel. I went into the bathroom. I looked at myself in the mirror. I talked to myself quietly in the mirror. I don't know what I said, but I remember the way my mouth moved and that I was holding the towel and looking around. There were two kinds of blue soap in the shower. I used the kind that looked most real.


When I came back in the kitchen, Tao Lin asked me if I wanted a smoothie. I said I wanted a smoothie. I thought about how I'd read Tao Lin talking about smoothies and I was glad that he made them as much as it seemed like he did in his writing. I drank the smoothie. It was delicious. I told Tao Lin about the two kinds of blue soap in the shower and he looked at me and laughed. Ryan Call was waking up. He did not tell me I had kicked his head. He did not tell me I had been moving around in my sleep, or about the portal I’d gone into, or how I’d met Anne Frank. Justin Taylor came back into the apartment. He was talking about food. As a group we got ready to go to the Hilton and we walked out of the apartment. On the way to find a taxi I said things I thought of and Tao Lin told me that I'd already said those things before. Throughout the day and later in Ryan Call's email I was told of things I'd said that I did not remember. I thought people were trying to fuck with me, but in a good way. I thought people wanted me to feel dumb.


People were not lying.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Toby Olson's SEAVIEW

Just finished reading Toby Olson's novel SEAVIEW, rereleased by Hawthorne Books. Moreso it is a novel in stories, kind of. It changes perspectives frequently, sometimes midparagraph. It won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1983. Toby Olson has released 7 other books, including one collection from FC2. This book did a lot of things I've wanted books to do for years and rarely, if ever, found.

The main thing SEAVIEW did that I liked was that it mostly, through the first 3/4ths, was realist in its writing, though in a way not quite bare and stripped and not quite languagey. I felt relaxed reading his descriptions of rooms. A good part of the book is also about golf. I have never played golf, but the way he described it made me relax and want to write because his language is so tight and fresh.

The main thing, though, that he did was in the last quarter of the book, in which the narrative is disrupted. Things begin to occur that don't follow logical physical sense, and they are left hanging. Rather, they make sense linguistically but do not follow physical law. It's as if the scenery begins to shift and mutate under the characters' feet. This in the midst of mostly everyday and certainly physically palpable settings. The effect made my body feel less taut. It's rather difficult to describe the effect of this book because it is so rare. I think Julia Slavin is the closest thing to the effect of this book, but she is much more over the top than SEAVIEW. There were also many passages that lifted the slow soothing descriptions into rather Lynchian, yet not bizarre, mind states, as if the logic began to write itself. I'm having trouble explaining it because the effect is so serene and yet creepy and metaphysical almost at the same time. A kind of perfect mix of senses.

I really liked the descriptions of the men playing golf, which was strange because I've never played golf or understood it, but something about the way he was able to render it made me not only enjoy reading but want to play the game.

This isn't really magical realism related. This isn't really absurdist, nor is it realism or straight narrative, or any other kind of school of storytelling I can think of. Maybe it is like something out of sleeping. Robert Coover (who introduces the book) refers to a point in the book that refers to 'dream transition' which is probably a good term. This is a different book than other books. It is strange to me that I had never heard of Toby Olson and that I don't hear people talk about him. More people should read this book.


Thank you to those who have written blurbs for my ebook (which will be out in a few months).

Here are 3 by the magesterial JOSH MADAY which touch me on the ass a little:

'Blake Butler writes out of a chocolate energy. Rumor has it his sideburns shanked a guy in prison, though they don’t like the way the words shanked and prison interact. Canned corn didn’t make it into the final cut of PRETEND I AM THERE BUT VERY LITTLE, but, thankfully, a singing tumor survived intact. The sentences are short and sharp like daggers thrust through the eyeball and into Broca’s area in a fit of hyperbole. PIATBVL starts innocently enough, with the sale of teeth to a museum and the money spent to replace a deceased dog. The replacement dog ends up being a diseased dog. Emails are written to Emily, an unresponsive spambot. But soon the story slips into a Lynchian waking dream where a sick, motionless dog has the power to terrorize and the interior of a house expands and contracts like the inside of a lung.'

'This ebook by Blake Butler, it made me feel like I had soaked my contact lenses in jalapeno juice. I felt like I had sprayed twelve bottles of Afrin up my nostrils. My hair felt shiny and powerful. My teeth felt scared and alone. My fingernails felt hard and tremendous. This ebook by Blake Butler wanted me to eat it. I would eat this ebook if I found it on my plate in a restaurant. The words, they got inside me, and they grew. I liked PRETEND I AM THERE BUT VERY LITTLE by Blake Butler very much. I liked it in a superlative way. The language in PIATBVL is chow mein. The sentences are teeth. I enjoyed living in this waking dream. It was strange, comforting, foreign, and familiar like a David Lynch film. I squirmed with anxiety and I liked it.'

'PRETEND I AM THERE BUT VERY LITTLE took me by the nose, held a gleaming straight razor to my neck, and looked me in the eye. When I walked away my neck was clean and my beard meticulously groomed. Inside, though, I was hemorrhaging.'

I will post some more blurbs later so people will squeeze my name between their tits a little for a minute.

Today is going to be.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Today I read Matthew Rohrer's A GREEN LIGHT while running on a treadmill. I read the whole book on the treadmill. It is a good book to read. I want to read more while I am doing other things. Running while reading made me feel twice as productive and pushed me through a window at certain points so that I could feel things triplicated.

After that, while waiting for the gas people to come turn my gas on, I read Daniel Brenner's THE STUPEFYING FLASHBULBS twice back to back.

According to the FENCE BOOKS website this book has sold only 150 copies so far, though it won the 2006 Fence Modern Poets prize. It deserves to sell a lot more. It reminds me of the Rohrer but also is more surreal and battered. It kind of invents things without sounding over-languaged. I liked it a lot and read it twice.

Here's a poem from it that I liked. I hope it is okay to put it online.

by Daniel Brenner

The interviewer asked my mentor
If he had made anything up
This was before the engine burned up
With the patterns in it
But anyway during that moment
He was a role model and he
Told the interviewer no I didn't
Make anything up while throwing
A paper airplane

Most of the other poems in the book are much more chopped and strange but that one made me laugh. You can read another one of the more definitive poems and more about the book at the FENCE BOOKS BACKLIST PAGE.

Okay. Buy books.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


My ebook, PRETEND I'M THERE BUT VERY LITTLE, will be released as an electronic PDF and printable chapbook by Publishing Genius in, I think, April. It's a weird little book about a house and a dog and tumors and email. They have some other cool weird stuff released on the site now in PDF form. Go look.

If anyone wants to blurb the ebook let me know and I will send it to you to read. It's about 4000 words in short sentences.

Blurbing an ebook seems funny but I want to anyway.

Still working on various things re: my novel-in-stories, SCORCH ATLAS.

What do you know about fortune cookies?

I got the new NOON in the mail yesterday. It contains most of the same people it usually does. Tao is in it again and his story is really really good. Funny and weird and different even for him.

Somehow in the past 10 days or so I've woken up in the morning to find that my front door had been unlocked all night. I am always very careful about locking my door. I used to sleep walk at night but I sleep naked so if I went outside I think I would have heard about it by now.

If the person unlocking my door reads my blog, you can eat anything you want in the pantry but the Cocoa Puffs are very stale. What's in the fridge is mine.

Monday, March 3, 2008


I would like to watch Dr. Phil's enormous head
speaking on TV on mute forever.
Dr. Phil's head composed
with small colored panels situated around it
that let me know of coming electrical storms.
I want to rent an apartment in the chest
of the large jolly black man
Dr. Phil just invited to stand on stage
beside him, both wearing the same red tie.
I would like to order the jolly black man's book
with his jolly fat photo on the cover
but not pay for it.
This room feels very wide
despite how all the lights are off.
I felt a great deal of urgency
when I began typing the first line
about watching Dr. Phil
but now I feel mostly dumb.
I am going to lay down.
I have Googled the phrase 'lay vs lie'
more than 20 times I am sure
and I still can't remember the difference.
Today my aging father sapped the battery of three cars
trying to jump off the dead battery
of one car he rarely drives.


Brent Owens does 'Ghost Porn'.





I am buying one of these.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


It is Saturday night and I am reading.
I read Mathias Svalina's CREATION MYTHS and really enjoyed it.
It is apocalyptic and funny and prose poems mostly. Ok.
I am reading Chelsey Minnis's BAD BAD. Half of it is really strange.
The other half is really strange too but in a way I can lick.
ANTI VITAE and DUNG CART and SAD-O are my favorites in there, I think.
I am trying to remember how to think I think.
I want to shit in a buggy and walk it down the street singing also.

I don't care.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Stigma of "The Stigma of Googling 'Birthday Suicide'" (after Derek White after Blake Butler)

It is Saturday night at 9 pm. I am laying on my bed eating creamy peanut butter and honey with a spoon. I don't like creamy peanut butter. I don't feel like doing anything tonight. Today on the internet Derek White posted a writing partially in response to a list I published in the newest issue of Burnside Review. You can read Derek White's piece here: THE STIGMA OF GOOGLING 'BIRTHDAY SUICIDE'. Derek White's text does the following: compiles logical statements, includes argumentative and perhaps edgy thoughts, talks a little shit, has images, rambles in a way that makes sense in the way thinking born from boredom tends to more than 'academic' or 'narrative' writing. I like that it is vague as to what it believes and does not believe in certain instances. I am scraping the last remnants around the edge of the jar using the spoon to hit the creases where peanut butter has gotten hidden. Derek White's text made me feel more inside my body in a good way. I don't think my reason for writing about suicide on my birthday actually fit into any of Derek White's ideas of why I did it. The list was actually mostly written the day after my birthday and some two days after. I did not feel sad when I googled 'birthday suicide'. I do not know anyone who has killed themselves, on their birthday or otherwise. I think I think about suicide probably every day or every other day but not in a way as if I want to do it. Not in a way as if I am actually going to eventually crack. Some days I will say "I am going to kill myself" after dropping something I didn't mean to drop, or banging my shoulder against a doorframe, or biting my tongue while I eat. I tend to bite my tongue at least every three days which is significantly less often that the idea of suicide enters my brain. I am sure I would never kill myself. I do not feel compelled or stigmatized by the word. I've often found myself saying out loud in public places that I think suicide is cowardly and too easy but I have also found myself in public places saying that I do not blame people for wanting to kill themselves and that it is impossible to know what goes into a person's decision to do so and that it is private to that person. Liam Rector killed himself last year with a shotgun while his wife slept in the next room. I had several brief conversations with Liam Rector in men's rooms while urinating and a few slightly longer conversations with him mostly in a cafeteria. There is an excellent piece regarding suicide in DIAGRAM 8.1 by Richard Froude that I read almost within ten minutes of having read Derek White's text. It does a similar thing to Derek White's text in a very different way. This is one of the lines from Richard Froude's text: "In Pole Position, even the slightest collision causes the car to explode in the same fractal pattern." I am laying on my bed in position that is not very comfortable and the heat of my laptop is burning against my crotch. I can not get a large enough taste of peanut butter on any one spoonful now to make it worth the effort. In Derek White's text there is a document from his father's suicide. Derek White is said to resemble the image on the cover of the new issue of Willow Springs that he and I are in together. Derek White talks a little about Tao Lin and the league of seeming followers he has gathered. I think he gets it wrong in comparing the "Tao Lin genre" in comparing it to Bright Eyes because I think the monotone sadness in Tao's writing is only one very minor and now over-associated section of Tao's work, though it is also the most mimicked. Tao Lin has inadvertently created a genre that is made up of a thumbnail of his own work, which is how most genres become perpetrated, I guess, so perhaps in that Derek White is also slightly correct. Though I greatly admire the writing of Tao Lin and I do not admire anything about Bright Eyes. I would like to have Bright Eyes smushed inside a little plastic box. I would like to be able to turn the peanut butter jar inside out so I could lick the remaining smears with some efficiency. Google should be marketed as a medication for depression and/or boredom. I would like to see Google search commericals on TV with people sitting in front of computers googling 'how will I fall through the mayonaise' and 'superior titty destination'. Derek White refers to 'accidentally' writing this text and then becoming consumed by it briefly, which is the way I get into a lot of my most favorite writing. I think more people should write in the associative mode of stating exactly what they think in the most clear manner possible, even if the thoughts do not follow out of one another. The effect is something like reading an encyclopedia out of order, if the encyclopedia was written by someone very bored and high on coffee. I have urinated 4-7 times in the last 15 minutes though I don't remember drinking very much today. The BLUE VELVET poster to the left of my bed keeps coming slightly off the wall. I looked up the word 'stigma' after reading Derek White's piece to see exactly how it could be literally defined and it made me wonder what Derek White meant about stigma. I am not good at making googlewhacks because I tend to either go too bizarre and get no entries or too broad. I like this line from Derek White's text: "Some people told me no words could provide consolation. Others kept saying they didn’t know what to say, which is a stupid thing to say because that’s saying something and that’s the most honest thing there is to say, though it’s better to not say it in the first place. Nowadays I say, “I’m sorry” in similar situations because it’s expected and safe and the easy way out, not because it’s what I feel like saying, which is usually nothing." In the last 2 months two of my uncles have died. At the second funeral another one of my uncles asked me how I was doing after we man-hugged and I said, "Great," without really thinking about it because I'd just drank a lot of coffee and the way I said it sounded inappropriate for the setting, a little too upbeat, and I felt like my uncle looked at me funny and from that point forward I felt strange around him and tried to say things that would more aptly reflect my mourning, which I never was able to do and I did not feel okay until that uncle later asked me about Guitar Hero. I don't think anyone should ever 'stop.' I would like to continue to write into the blogger browser for an entire day sometime. Sometime soon I will have a full-day blogging session in which I continually write what I am thinking without editing for 10 to 12 hours straight. More people should respond to texts in writing. More people should publicly discuss Google. It is Saturday night at 9:45 pm. I should go somewhere. I should throw away this peanut butter jar, or just throw it somewhere at all. I am not going to reread this blog post. I should have something more substantial to eat.