Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Motorman & What the

I reread MOTORMAN by David Ohle over the past 2 days. I read it when it first came out from 3RD BED years ago and liked it but could not remember much about it. Then I think Chris Higgs mentioned he'd read it and loved it, so I read it again. It seems like a lot of stuff I have read I could not tell you the first thing about. I'm not sure why. I am equally bad at remembering names and numbers and dates from history. I have good recall of other things. I don't know.

MOTORMAN is an enjoyable read. It uses a lot of unusual language but not in a language-y way. Like you don't feel put upon when he says lines like "He opened the spigot, testing, got sour air and pipe vibes." That is a very unusual sentence. No one probably has written that before Ohle, even though it uses all simple words. I think he picks words that feel a certain way in the mouth rather than words that take a lot of mouth to say. That, I guess, is the difference between writers like Lydia Davis and Christine Schutt and writers in the 'language camp' who pack their sentences so full you aren't even sure if they knew what they meant.

Supposedly David Ohle was at one point hired by William Burroughs to write down Burroughs's dreams when he woke up in the morning. Whether that's true or not, I think Burroughs is an obvious major influence on Ohle, as Burroughs kind of invented a lot of the sentence ideas and phrasings I noticed in MOTORMAN. For instance, in MOTORMAN there is a woman named Cock Roberta. That is a Bill Burroughs character name if I've ever heard one. Plus Ohle isn't afraid of a dick joke or talking about feces.

It is good to see writers influenced by Burroughs and not completely imitating him. I think Burroughs gets written off a lot because of his cut-up stuff, but sit down and read THE WILD BOYS. That book is fucked and has some images that have stayed with me no matter how long its been since I read it.

I've had Ohle's edit of William Burroughs Jr's memoir/third novel CURSED FROM BIRTH for a long time now and never got the chance to finish it, but I believe I will read that next. It is crushing. It keeps making me put it down.



[ENTERING ANOTHER THOUGHT COMPLETELY]



Yesterday I finished a pretty long section of the new thing I am working on. It is about a woman sinking into her bathtub. I want to send it somewhere but I don't know where to send it. I used to send out so much work all the time. Now I never know what to do. I've regressed a little in my publishing aggression, I think.

What is a good journal to send 'surreal' but not 'absurd' work to?

I wish 3RD BED was still around. Damn, they did good stuff.

I also need to send SCORCH ATLAS out some more. I've had some positive outlooks looming that I feel strongly about, but I think if I send it more places it will help me feel better overall about realms of possibility.

I feel like I don't know anything.

Somebody tell me something.

19 comments:

KEN BAUMANN said...

GREED

Send things to NO POSIT.

END GREED

sam pink said...

the wild boys is awesome. have you ever read the yage letters? or junky?

BLAKE BUTLER said...

oh yes. no posit will be sent to shortly.

sam, yeah i've read all of burroughs except the CITIES OF THE RED NIGHT stuff, which i am told i have to read. i think i'm saving it.

Justin Dobbs said...

My reflection has a cowlick this morning.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

marmalade works

Eunuchsblues said...

I am looking forward to Scorch Atlas. You should read at my bookstore with Barbara Walters.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

brian, hopefully one day. tell that bitch to get her chapbook ready.

Stephen Daniel Lewis said...

i think david ohle teaches at my school, but i've never seen him.

i like the new thing you are working on a lot, at least what you have posted.

derek.white said...

can i actually leave a comment?

BLAKE BUTLER said...

thank you stephen, what school?

derek, make talk.

derek.white said...

cool that! Nice post on Holy Ohle..

derek.white said...

Ohle's at Kansas with Unferth and sometimes Lutz... I'd go back to school just for that!

If you dig Motorman, check out the band Venus Bogardus.. the singer James Reich will have a piece in the next sleepingfish, and I'm hoping to interview them about their collaboration with Ohle soon for 5cense

Bradley Sands said...

I am not against things that are surreal but not absurd. Although it will probably take a little more than a woman sinking in a bath to soothe my savage self-diagnosed ADD disorder.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

derek, i think i saw them online once, probably from you.

bradley, mostly its about the bath. not really.

i think i have another story i want to send you.

Bradley Sands said...

How long is it? I might be able to think of a suggestion or two.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

bradley, it's like 3400 words or so.

Bradley Sands said...

Maybe Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wrislet or Black Clock? You probably know about these things since I think you like Kelly Link and Steve Erickson.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

i sent to black clock during their last two submission periods. never heard any kind of response. i think they are mostly 'solicited'.

lady churchill yes.

Michael Kimball said...

I know I'm coming in pretty late here, but I loved Motorman when I read it years ago. Ohle's recent work doesn't seem as strong, not the same great pace and tension, not the beautiful strangeness, etc. Around the same time, I first read Stanley G. Crawford, which partly erased Motorman for me, Crawford displacing Ohle--Unguentine and Some Instructions are two of my favorite books ever.