Monday, August 11, 2008


For the last 5 years at least I've read Donald Barthelme's SNOW WHITE once a year at some point. I don't know why it was SNOW WHITE exactly, there were other books that hit me more ways, but something about the way that one in particular goes down, and the nuance of it, I felt a little puddled a bit more each time and often reading it I felt like I gathered something, sapped something, some kind of word blood or something, something.

I think now instead I will be reading Stanley Crawford's LOG OF THE S.S. THE MRS. UNGUENTINE at least once if not several times.

This book joins SUTTREE and INFINITE JEST as among those things I could sleep with against my chest.

I would try to review the book, to say more about it, but really anything you say is just going to get deflected off the sentences of the book itself if you actually decide to ever read it. Even Ben Marcus's small afterword in the new Dalkey Archive version just is kind of like a smear of gas on the hub of a huge goddamn tanker of a weird ship.

There's a ship in the book that's one thing. A ship and a woman and a complete blur of dream logic but ordered and rendered in a very methodical and almost guidebook sort of way, layered with so much of the kind of imagery and storytelling mannerisms that are mostly what keep me reading instead of just sleeping all the time for entertainment, trying to get more wedged out of my head.

I love books that take place mostly nowhere: I think 'place' is one thing in writing that is often too harped upon. I remember in workshops or in discussions of fiction, the question of clarity of time and place being so important: and yet it is this kind of stuff that really slays me, the stuff that happens nowhere and anywhere. That's not to say I don't think place can be made strong in fiction, but that there are just certain kinds of books that don't need it, and would be crippled by it.

If you like short imaginative and sentence driven stories, this book is at the top of the list, no kidding. It's kind of like Roald Dahl by way of Gordon Lish or something.

Stanley Crawford looks kind.

Stanley, will you be my grandfather?

I feel like someone pressed the refresh button on my brain browser.

This thing has made me really hungry to create.

I've had a sentence on my desktop for a little more than a year now, and never had found a way to move past it, but reading UNGUENTINE, even just the first twenty pages, something got dislodged and I am now 4000 words into something from that sentence.

I've been writing a lot slower lately though, doing a lot more staring and sipping and touching keys in little bursts, which is nice, and I think the way whatever next things come should come.

If I don't end up getting a block of gibberish on my forearm, I found a quote I want tattooed on me maybe, if I decide to really do that.



very excited to read this book, i ordered it a week ago.

yes, inspiration is blood


sending $$$ to bookmobile today


oh good, i think you will love it ken

thank you, i will put you a check in the mail when i find my checkbook, its still in one of these damn boxes, finding finding

jereme said...

tattoos are addictive.

ryan call said...

good work on 4k words in
whatever they are


jereme, this is what i hear, i dont know, i have mixed feelings about tattoos, but i always said if certain things, i would, we will see

do you have some?

ryan, thanks, good luck moving...

wagner israel cilio iii said...

i read 'the disappeared' and i thought it was very good. i liked the last image of the boy swimming in the water.

jereme said...


yes i have several. the ultimate goal is to be tattooed similar to a 'yakuza'. i am not sure if you are familiar with what a yakuza is or not.

i also know artists who do it for a living and go to tattoo shows. let me know if you have questions. i possess a 'decent' amount of knowledge on the subject.


thank you wagner that is nice. thank you for reading.

jereme, my mother's mother's best friend was in the yakuza, i know them well, i eat sticky rice every other monday with the head of operations in little downtown swiss connector, which is a street zone of milwaukee.

if i do get a tattoo it will be something very specific and not ornamental, and probably of little interest to 'tattoo people'

ryan manning said...

the asian william holden

jereme said...


that is the point. it is a personal expression. the right tattoo artist understands this concept and will do everything to make it a reality in your mind.

first piece of advice "wait"

get/create a design of exactly what you want (do not compromise)

do your research on artists until you find the one right for you

you may need to travel depending on what you want. 'tattoo people' is a form of art. most tattooists are artists at heart. they paint, draw, etc. in their free time.

find the artist that fits with you.

or i can have one of my prison buddies do it with some cigarette ashes, ink from a pen, needle and an old sony walkman.

your choice.

"chicks dig prison tatoos"


yeah you're right. i think i know what i want, which is one huge word written up the inside of my forearm in large black lettering, i dont know what font, if i did it it would probably be spur of the moment, i tend to only do permanent shit in a hurry for some reason

jereme said...

you should know

font, size, color, placement, which way you want the word to read (up to down, down to up).

i am not going to lie, it is going to hurt. eventually it goes numb though and the pain is kind of comforting.

like life or something.

Tao Lin said...

i want 'DINNER' in helvetica very big on my arm or somewhere

i don't feel it will really make a difference in my life or anything so i haven't done it, i've been 'wanting' it for like a year

i will probably never get it, i don't know what difference it would make


dinner would be good. but yeah, i think the thing that's kept me from doing it is that i don't know what difference it would make. if i can figure that out, or accept that it doesnt need to make a difference, then maybe i will do it

jereme said...

no offense but what does anything matter?

i mean this is all meaningless in the timeline of the cosmos

anyways, tao reminded me of a funny tattoo my friend has

on his left index finger is a little black hitler moustache

he brings up to his lip (like he is trying to stop from sneezing) and raises his right arm in nazi salute.

he does it at random intervals and make sme laugh every time.

i think on the other hand he has a handle bar moustache.

i need to verify the handle bar moustache though. it isn't as funny


haha oh man

wagner israel cilio iii said...

jonah hill was on conan the other night and he has a similar tattoo. i think it's supposed to be some kind of disguise.

sam pink said...

i have some tattoos. some i got done and some i did myself the shitty way. i like the shitty way. they look funny and shitty.


i wanted a tattoo, the idea changed at least twenty times in a year

i've decided i would be wrong to believe i'll like/attach meaning to an idea for more than a day let alone forever

i came closest to getting a band-aid tattooed on my ass


i like some tattoos though


Brandon Hobson said...

I have a black cross on my right arm. I got it in Dallas in the early 90's.
If I got another one, I would maybe get my son's name or "Gretsch" as in Gretsch guitars, because I own one, or maybe NOON because it's NOON and I've placed some stuff there.


brandon, black cross like a surfer's cross or a religious cross or a crossbow or wha?

Brandon Hobson said...

Black cross as in medeival.

ryan manning said...

sam pink, serious about tattoos

SSES said...

Please post me the Log of the S.S.

If I were to get a textual tattoo it would be "SSES". I think I will do it now, if I can find someone to do it.

This Kenyan keyboard needs to be remapped. I type one thing and another comes out. I'm in some research library at the world agroforestry center. The guy next to me has a white labcoat that says "Molecular Geneticist". It's the only place I feel connected.

Sloth said...

tattoos are diluted.

I once had a patient in the Denver ER who had 666 on his forehead. A good way to get your ass kicked.


derek, do you have a mailing address now?

what is SSES?

sean, haha

Michael Kimball said...

Unguentine is a particular piece of genius and Crawford's Some Instructions is another particular piece of genius--two great but completely different books. I go back to those two books over and over again (along with Lydia Davis' The End of the Story and Meredith Daneman's The Favourite and DeLillo's End Zone).

jereme said...

sloth speaks of "fuck you tattoos"

those are great

very angst filled

blake maybe you shouldn't get a tattoo. it is not very literary i mean.

literary glory or a tattoo

DOGZPLOT said...

i'm getting EVER tattooed on the bottom of my left testcile and ENAMORED on my right. then all the biznotches'll know the dizzy.


michael, yes, instructions is also amazing, i don't know how he changes his style so well, with such inner consistency

jereme, i am undecided

barry, that is advertising you just can't get for paper money, i will get your face tattooed over my face


DOGZPLOT said...

no need for the face tat although i appreciate the sentiment. i cant be much help to you. the number of people looking under my balls gets smaller and smaller by the minute.

hold on... idea... if anyone out there would like to confirm the presence of the EVER tattoo under my left testicle, by means of oral copulation, i will pay for your copy of the book.


power marketing

sam, your work is in good hands

sam pink said...

oh this i know. he made me get "barry graham is better than me" tatted on my forehead. he said, "hey, it's either that, or no book you little asshole".

The Man Who Couldn't Blog said...

Free minimalist hip hop.

Also, from John Clute's sci-fi novel APPLESEED:

So it was without his intervention that the taut ancient polished wolverine-sleek Tile Dance, which had been home for the half of his life he could remember properly, slid the last few thousand klicks downwards into Trencher, dived across terminator into the vast net of guarded portals that protected the vacuum of docking country from the stinking air, sank into the world, sank deep under the seared epidermis of Trencher, came to rest within the assigned grid.


He stood at the edge of the amphitheatre bulge, a vast fluted hairy tulip-shaped extrusion attached by a hundred yards of stem to the ornate arcade he'd debouched into half an our earlier. There seemed something wrong with the lighting, and the air, which thickened and thinned, faster than seemed possible: as though the mast cells within the lungs of Trencher itself were seizing up.

You should read this book.


nice shitz matthew, 'preciate ya

derek said...

SSES is for my brother (he was a Joyce fan). Either that or telemachus, but that's too long. I just like the letters SSES together and how'd they look upside down.

Address.. hmm, i think i can only receive DHL where i'm at, but I'm working on a po box, evidently i have to wait for someone to default before i can get one.

John Madera said...


I can only agree with your praise of LOG OF THE S.S. THE MRS. UNGUENTINE, but unlike you I had the audacity to review it. You may find it here:

I found your description of the narrative as a "complete blur of dream logic but ordered and rendered in a very methodical and almost guidebook sort of way, layered with so much of the kind of imagery and storytelling mannerisms that are mostly what keep me reading instead of just sleeping all the time for entertainment, trying to get more wedged out of my head," not only apt, but also as a kind of echo of the seasickness one may experience on board that wonderfully crazed ship.

I had a question for you. You mention your love for "books that take place mostly nowhere". What are some of the books you were thinking of?

Take care,

John Madera