Saturday, November 29, 2008

EVER is for preorder

You can now preorder EVER.

It is 104 pp with illustrations by Derek White, perfectbound.
Projected to ship by 01/01/09 (pending printing, but definitely by mid-Jan, I'd imagine)

The price is $12 plus $1.75 shipping.

You can do the preorder from

EVER site

which now contains two video trailers, 3 blurbs, deleted scenes from book, and more specs.

People who preorder will receive signed copies with bonus stuff I am putting together. The bonus stuff will offset trouble of preordering I think. Later orders made elsewhere will likely not come with free stuff. I don't want to say what the free stuff is yet, but it is going to be good, I think.

Thanks in advance to anyone who makes the leap. If you ain't the preorder type (understandable) it shouldn't be long before it is available as meat.

Spreading word on preordering and/or the book itself would be most wonderful.

Thank you to those who have offered review/interviews, any other who are interested in doing something please contact me.

On Thanksgiving watched 2001 on Blu Ray, wow. Then watched A CLOCKWORK ORANGE with commentary by Malcolm McDowell. At one point they were talking about Kubrick's method, how few seem to be able to conceive the way he had. Malcolm quoted Kubrick in regards to the creation process as saying something like, "I don't know what I want, but I do know what I don't want."


Please preorder EVER

Thursday, November 27, 2008

EVER: cover, Doors video, images, etc.

Thanksgiving: EVER is nearly here. Here is the cover. Derek White blogged about it, including excerpts of images from the book that appear inside the book and now are for sale in their original gorgeous forms. In the blog Derek says: If Peter [Markus] is all about mud, then Blake is all about crud. Them's the words.

More info on ordering and blurbisms and other potential things should be forthcoming soon. If you are with a nice place that might run a review please drop me a line. If you would be so kind as to be interested in doing interviews to promote the book when it comes out, please drop me a line. It might be nice to arrange some things in advance for when it comes out. It would mean a lot to me.

Here is one of 3 blurbs that will appear on the back of the book:

Blake Butler is a daring invigorator of the literary sentence, and the room-ridden narrator of his debut novella, EVER, nerves her way into a hallucinative ruckus of rousing originality. - Gary Lutz

Anyhow, one of the things that is missing from Derek's post is an incredible video trailer he made to go with the book, which is hiding in the crud storm of African internets. Because his will blow mine out of the teeth, here is a promo video I made in response to his response to me, severely crippled as duh by YouTube, but still. It looks better if you look at it larger via the direct link but here it is as well:

Thanks for watching. Watch the Calamari Press site or here for ordering info, some more specs, info and etc.

** UPDATE ** A second video trailer for EVER is now live at Derek's blog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sean Kilpatrick is lipstick beverages

Sean Kilpatrick interviewed me for his Anorexic Chlorine Sex Toy Museum. We talk about rape and Wigs n Beepers and editing and film and William Gass, et al.

His interview blog has so much reading material on it, including interviews with Daniel Borzutsky, Gene Morgan, Letitia Trent, Mike Young, Tao Lin, Kevin Doran, etc. He asks real questions.

I'm pissed at Sean right now because he apparently did not tell me he has a new book coming out from Six Gallery Press and has work forthcoming in Fence also. He is the new truth, I promise.

If you have not yet read his story HUBBY, you are missing probably my favorite short story of the year.

Sean Kilpatrick's first full length book of poems is free to read online from BlazeVox, and is fucking awesome: THE MAN WHO FOLLOWED ME HOME.

The book we are writing is the best thing I have ever touched. This week the father in it had a latte with David Berkowitz, built a chocolate replica of Auschwitz in the attic, a turtle was set on fire, and a woman got a portal into the universe rubbed into her flesh by a tutu.

It is real.

The Guardian did a piece on Michael Kimball's postcard project featuring 4 samples, including mine. The scope of this project just keeps getting bigger. Michael is a force.

EVER just went to the printers. It is more than I could have imagined. Sneak peeks and bonus shits coming.

The last 20 seconds of this video is almost an excerpt from RICKY'S ANUS. The rest makes me happy as well:

Time to get fat.
Please have a day of caloric rest.

Monday, November 24, 2008

She stroked the stroke lymph MMMMMM

I hate Christmas time until the day of Christmas. Cars. I wish gas still cost $4. I do. The luxury of 50% less traffic in the fuckville of Atlanta was so worth the doubledime. I am going to set an oilfield on fire. People here think they can go straight through you when they switch lanes. No collision if you are moving horizontal. Faux urban redneck dynasty. Dick eaters.


Regardless, HTML Giant is doing a Indie Press Secret Santa, check it out, sign up.

The final components of EVER are now in place. The cover is mostly finalized and is totally righteous and tech-headed and made of colored light. Derek's inspiration for the cover art was in part: BUSH OF GHOSTS (I just realized how rad the new remaster of this album is: turned from 80's mud style mix to really defined, hearing all this shit you never knew was in there, amazing). Shouldn't be long before the shit goes down. Derek's art for on and in the book makes me go rubbery. No one else could have made this book.

The EVER site is different now, and primed to have various apparati that are coming together to be installed on it, I will update this as it happens, a lot of cool shit I think.

'GREAT,' which I mentioned last time is now for sale, here's how to get it, $4.

I had a sentence occur to me a couple days ago, I came to sit down and write it down as a place to start for later, instead ended up continuing to write it right then until it was 5000 words. After another 10 hours revising, etc., I think it is the best thing I've written, I had forgotten what writing a longish story feels like. It felt good. I don't know who will publish a very long story about a mother destroying her child.

I think I have about 7 stories so far for what is another set of interlinked stories set in a nether-period occurring after the period of SCORCH ATLAS, I think I am going to call it GLYPH ATLAS, I like the idea of having two paired books like that one that erupts from the other, the idea makes me feel like lifting weights made out of shaving cream, this is a note to self.

Lastly and greatly, the new print issue of Tarpaulin Sky is out, it is $12 including shipping and includes a bunch o bunches:

Cover Art by Brandon Downing. Nw work by 35 contributors: Aidan Thompson, Amber Nelson, Andrew Michael Roberts, Bernard Noël, Blake Butler, Brian Henry, Brigitte Byrd, Cal Freeman, Corey Mesler, Dan Thomas-Glass, Erin Lyndal Martin, George Kalamaras , Gregory Howard, Heather Green, Jamey Dunham, Jess Neiweem, Jill Magi, Joanna Ruocco, Jonah Winter, Kim Gek Lin Short, Kristen E. Nelson, Kristi Maxwell, Laynie Browne, Mark Cunningham, Megan Martin, Michael Clearwater, Michael Rerick, Patrick Morrissey, Peter Davis, Rae Gouirand , Rauan Klassnik , Richard Froude, Rob Cook, Sara Veglahn, and Tim Roberts.

Mine is a section of EVER, though in a pretty radically different shape than it will appear in the actual book, and with lots of different lines etc. I think of it as a wholly different thing I think. I am excited to be in TSky with great people I know like Joanna and Peter D. and Rauan and Mark Cunningham, etc., as well as what is sure to be a boatload of the new and sexy. Check her out.

4 recent Google searches that got people here:

1. a real guy give birth in his dick with no towel
2. nice tits can i try one baby bib
3. frogg in vegina
4. i want to see a man penis in a bitch or goats vegina want to see how can a man fuck them

What the hell is in the water in India?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Massive Halfie plus Earache & Dog Sentence Amalgamator

* Chelsea Martin and Brandon Gorrell made a new print zine called GREAT, before it was called THIS IS STUPID I LOVE YOU. I am in it, Brandon culled an away message I had on Gmail one day for use. The paper says GREAT on it and has ribbon like an award I feel like I win an award when I think about Chelsea and Brandon both as separate entities and together as a publishing locus of penile rupture. It also has gots: Sam Pink, Gene Morgan, Aaron Petrovich, Zachary Schomburg, Daniel Spinks, Chris Killen, Krammer Abrahams, as well as several other bitchass motherfuckers. I think you can order it or will be able to soon, email Chelsea or something. (ACTUALLY IT IS $4, HERE IS HOW TO ORDER.)

* If you missed buy IN THE RAPE YEAR OF THE GHETTO TODDLER THE HOUSES WILL AWAKEN straight from ML Press, there are still some available at Powell's, my color is neon pink because the ghetto toddler has a pink star appear on his forehead while a large woman is outside pissing on his house, the house is in the ghetto (this is not directly revealed in the chapbook, if you call it a 'chap' in front of me I will cut your dick or other applicable appendage off with a teacup lip), I feel ready to become the ghetto toddler in 09, originally the titular character was something much more offensive but I decided to 'be nice,' the original titular narrator is now semi-appearing in the ms with Sean Kilpatrick, I love the ML press series, I bought a 6 month subscription, it is 'off the chain' and also off the chain w/o quotes around it, get out a red pony and red it bitch

* BE KIND REWIND is literally in my mind the shittiest movie ever put on tape, made particularly even worse in that it was created by Gondry, who up to then had seemed so promising. Really, if you want to see a film so dialed in you can hardly stand not to turn it off and yet are compelled to keep watching to see how low it grows, this is the one, it is almost unbelievable, this from the guy who made ETERNAL SUNSHINE, I do not understand.

On the other hand, I really liked SYNEDOCHE NEW YORK, sometime during the first half I found myself thinking 'this is one of the greatest films I have seen in ten years, it is new,' all through there are random scenes of dreamlike hysteria and excellent dialog, it really had a kind of energy to it that made me feel excited to be in the presence, eventually, though, as Charlie Kaufman seems to be apt for, he kind of turned certain things into 'big ideas' and spent too long mining his own brilliance and explained away things that could have been so much bigger if they had been turned inward on rather than explicating, the idea 'we will all die' was repeated directly as if that direct message is not already understood. The idea of dying soon is already contained in the film's hysteria w/o it being laid out, and the meta-meta-meta turning to such resorts to me felt like a mistake. Still, though, this is at least a very good movie especially among the reams of shit that have been coming out lately, I left the theater for once feeling like I had gotten something for my money.

Phillip Hoffman's performance as well is among the best I have seen from him, the things required of him to perform the character were at time amazing, one scene where he is talking to an old semi-lover later in their life with his right leg shaking and acting as if it made me feel something. I also laughed aloud throughout this film more than any I can remember in a long time. WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO EXPLAIN AWAY THE INEXPLICABLE? MOST OF LIFE IS NOT EXPLICABLE. Charlie Kaufman and other filmmakers could do well to watch the interview with Michael Haneke in the bonus features of THE SEVENTH CONTINENT, in part of which he discusses how random images were shown to five year olds who could still souse out their own meaning from them, how storytelling can only progress if the audience is given their own chance to absorb and configure, etc, etc. Michael Haneke is far ahead. Still, SYNEDOCHE NEW YORK is a great piece of work, if still partly digressive. I would like to be able to reedit this movie. I would cut about 20 minutes out of it and it would be doubly better and maybe a masterpiece. All films should come with the option to be reedited by the viewer, though in that case most films would be fully edited to 1-2 second scenes, making the film a total of 18 seconds. I can think of a few that would remain fully in tact, and some that should go on forever.

* I feel tired again, but then today I got the new NY Tyrants in the mail and felt a fucklot better about life, I am going to spend the rest of tonight in the crypt with it, and talk more soon

* No Colony 2 is in the works, we have assembled a small group of works so far that are stellar and thus cutting dicks and other equipments for new necessary length, we are a bit behind on subs but catching up, rejection letters will be brief and sometimes telling, depending on if Ken is sassy or I am pissed off, or if you just clearly haven't paid attention to the kind of stuff we want, we are going to tell you about how to eat a diamond D. We are 'getting handy' or something. We love you, I think.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bacon sweater

Something had been wrong with a few weeks. I was sleeping right. Out 10 min into head on pillow. Dreams all normal, at least for me. Usually my sleep is so scattered and violent, I actually started to get scared when I was just having normal person dreams: if I got stuck in that permanently I don't know what I'd do. I need the raw.

However thankfully, my post 3 AM bedtime has returned, and last night I can't remember what happened, but I know I had on the bacon sweater.

I usually sleep with my hands in fists. When I do not cut my nails sometimes my hands will almost bleed.

Final version of EVER has been turned in, and now I am on to editing SCORCH ATLAS for publication. I think I have 2-3 more weeks until it is due, I should probably check on that.

I spent about 5 hours yesterday line editing the first section of 2 sections in the longest story in the book, 'Seabed,' which was one of the first stories I wrote in the collection, and before I had fully gotten into the mind of what the aura of it would become. Editing in that way is grueling, but I am really beginning to see the texture of the whole thing take shape. Fortunately a lot of the stories feel mostly right where I want them, and it's more just the ones that I didn't have the full-on mindset for when they were created that I am trying to make exactly right.

I think this kind of encombing method for the stories has come out of my recent drive to buy up all the Lish-edited Knopf titles from 1977-95, and seeing how a lot of those books have such a singularity of pitch and 'this is a whole' to them even though the stories are often so widely toned and of different natures. I really want this book to have that object feel to it, and studying those singularities of text has been really great and invigorating. So we shall see.

Editing is such another beast to germinating to me, in a way I think I like it more, as you really begin to see the thing under the thing, but I think also my that disruption in my sleep pattern came from spending more and more time on editing rather than getting new words out: as if my blather contained made me more normal. A rash of new stories though has got me back in the bubble, though I am going to try to put those aside for the next two weeks at least and really get this into what it should be.

Also continuing to work on the collaborative book with Sean Kilpatrick, which is essentially at this point the script for a very destroyed anti-porn blacklisted by Stalin for how the slum grease would appear on his necktie when he watched, then pushed through several gelatinizing devices that were then stored in the brain cells of an 8 year old Autistic child to be deformed by their terror puberty.

When I was reading through what we'd done I thought: if my employers, or my mother, or anyone who knows me sees this...

I am talking to myself.

We are going to go see Synedoche New York in a couple hours.

It looks pretty interesting. I am by no means a Charlie Kaufman buff, though I really like BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ETERNAL SUNSHINE, but you can't really go wrong with Phillip Hoffman. 'Adaptation' I thought had a great start but I hate the meta-unraveling of the story into a Hollywood style script, even though it was a funny idea, it seemed too forced to me. Plus I hate Nicholas Cage. Goddamn I hate that guy. He reminds me of someone coming through a burning room to save you wearing no shirt and with pantyhose on and with his face stuck in one endless 'impregnate me' expression.

I reread party of RICKY'S ANUS for the first time the other day since finishing. What in the name of god have I done. If anyone ever sees this, something will happen: either my scalp will be removed or my scalp will be removed and there will be a tiny white donkey cooking grits.

OK I will say it: God it's fucking good.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Massengil throat singing

* Jason Moore interviewed me for Bust Down the Door & Eat All the Chickens, about all kinds of shit including dreams, William Gass, editing, Oprah, lists

* Jimmy Chen reviewed my chapbook IN THE RAPE YEAR OF THE GHETTO TODDLER THE HOUSES WILL AWAKEN in a wonderful way, and also reviewed Nick and Brandi's chapbooks concurrently released. Thank you Jimmy.

* Pistachio pudding is fucking amazing, I had no idea

* U.S. Maple's TALKER or ACRE THRILLS is all I can listen to, antimusic, I had no idea Michael Gira produced TALKER until just now, I asked Michael Gira to blurb EVER and he said nicely that he had absolutely no time, at least he took the time to respond, if he was a language poet he probably would not have, I feel aggressive with no release valve, if anyone can get me a physical copy of his THE CONSUMER I would like to buy it but not for $50 like it always is on amazon used

* Yannick Murphy's STORIES IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE has me interested in writing short shit again: this is a magical book.

God Knopf made beautiful books, I wish there was Knopf in Lish ways now still, maybe some are close

* Last night in my dream I got attacked by several children, they forced my pants off and were biting me, a helicopter arrived outside the small room which had one large observation window, I was arrested, I was given a chance for freedom by escaping through a large labyrinth, there was a thin bald man in a red latex suit with a handlebar mustache looking for me, if I beat him to a checkpoint I would go free, I succeeded in throwing off my chaser by hiding in a large netted tub of styrofoam confetti while a group of honkies shit-talked me through a walkie-talkie, when arriving at the checkpoint I was told I'd come too late, I was ascended through a glass tunnel out of the ground into a point high above desert earth, my whole dad's side of the family was there, including my cousin whose children were the ones who'd raped me, the whole family's faces were flat, the men's hairs were combed weird, you could see along around them forever, there were a few oil derricks and growth patches but mostly just sand around the glass tower, they watched me get executed, I can't remember the method of execution, I woke up as I was killed

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Unilateral suction of child into ex-glargennum passage, say goodbye

* If you are in Birmingham area by chance tonight (Friday 7:30 pm) come to Greencup Books for their Zine Music and Arts fest, it is going to be a big party apparently, with books and bands and booze. I am reading with local Atlanta mastermind Jamie Iredell as well as Todd Dills of the 2nd Hand and his wife Susannah Felts, T.J. Beitelman, and Al Burian from Burn Collector.

Kind of awesome to me to be reading with Burian having been reading Burn Collector on and off since I was like 18, and having seen his band Milemarker more than a couple times back in the day as well. Cool shit.

* The Fireman and the Caper by Justin Dobbs, I really like this piece by Justin, our dually written chapbook TWIN MOTHER is in design stages and coming on, it is chockfull of masturbation and molestation

* Sam and Shane have never eaten clean pussy

* SIR!, best new litmag debut this side of Lasverrunum, it has so many good people in it: Chad Reynolds, Noah Falck, Blake Butler, Ryan Walsh, Scott Garson,Mike Young, Juliet Cook, Brooklyn Copeland, Rauan Klassnik, Peter Berghoef, Elisa Gabbert, Carl Annarummo, Peter Schwartz, Zachary Schomburg & Emily Kendal Frey, Sean Kilpatrick, Julia Cohen,Charles Lennox, Shane Jones, Spencer Troxell, Brandon Hobson, Nicolle Elizabeth, Nathan Logan, and William Walsh. Massively excellent. My thing is a brief and random excerpt from WHERE AM I WHERE HAVE I BEEN WHERE ARE YOU, the 10 day novel and such.

* I am getting obsessed with finishing these lists now, and sent out about 25 subs today, which is more than I've sent out probably in the last 6 months combined. List sub blast will continue throughout the weekend most likely if I can keep the momentum. Submitting is hard. I need to hire Keith Montesano.

* Michael Ives is a badass, seriously

* Rewatched Lynch's short film 'The Grandmother' last night, hadn't seen it in a while, it is pretty jarring and different than a lot of his later stuff, there is a lot of use of animation and stop motion, you can watch it in parts on YouTube, if you haven't seen it, it's like 30 minutes, it's about a kid whose parents bark at him so he grows a grandmother out of dirt on his bed, here's part one:

* Something else I can't remember

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New York Tyrant 5 / 50 Lists / EVER

New York Tyrant 5 is out, available for sale on their brand new website, which is quite a thing to behold.

The new issue is a mindfuck w/o even touching, including some crazy brilliance, among them: Alex Balk, Eugene Marten, Jason Schwartz, Eva Talmadge, Gordon Lish, Atticus Lish, Sam Michel, Brad Gayman, John Haskell, Cooper Renner, Michael Scott Ryan, Oscar Williams, Ryan Call, Blake Butler, Julian Zadorozny, Ronald Hobbs, M. Thomas Gammarino, Conor Madigan, R.E. Bowse, Justin Taylor, Julian Kudritzki, Pasquino, Greg Mulcahy, M Sarki, S.G. Miller, Joshua Furst, David Nutt, Sarah Manguso, Patrick Leonard, Jeffrey Lewis, Thomas a Kempis, Jody Barton.

Atticus Lish. Hmm, that is intriguing.

And featuring an unbeatable cover:

These always sell out instantly, so check out the website and pick up a copy before they are gone.

My story 'Want for Wish for Nowhere' in the issue is I think the last one I wrote for SCORCH ATLAS, and also maybe my favorite in the collection. I am stoked to have it in such an incredible venue.

I don't know how anyone has time to do anything.

I am reading STORIES IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE by Yannick Murphy and THE EXTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE by Michael Ives. Both are insanely good in insanely different ways.

I finished the 50th list in my set of lists 50 finally the other day. After about 2 years working on them, it is weird to know I will not be continuing in that form, though it also a huge relief in a way. I just realized it's been 2 year since I started as I typed that. Really bizarre.

Here, for sentiment's sake, is the first one I did, before I realized it would be a series, published on Juked. I like how that one is so vastly different in process and method from how the 50th list ended up, and the array in between. Here is the second one, written the day after the first. I have no idea who I could send such a thing to for consideration of publication, but we'll see.

A complete list of the lists as they stand now has been updated here.

I still have a lot of work going back to fix the lists that sucked by completely replacing a couple and getting rid of the excess lines, then trying to get back into the mindset of the time I wrote it (as each list for the most part was written in one sitting). Hopefully by the end of the year I will have that project completely finished and can start a series of 100 lists of 100 or something mentally fucked as such.

I am not going to do that.

EVER is in final stages. Derek sent a mock up of cover and final PDF version for me to read one last time. Weird of that. One more blurb forthcoming and finalizing of shits, and it is on.

I am making a webpage for the book, I did some and then stopped, but here is a preview of the page: EVER. It's just a mock up really but I feel like putting it out there so I'll actually work on it. A lot more to come there.

I have 3 novels sitting on my hard drive that I should be sending out but I am tired. All written this year. Life of paper.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Hand Blender Shat & Looked Upon the Shat & It was 'the place to be'

* Holy shit look at the cover to New York Tyrant 5

* IN THE RAPE YEAR OF THE GHETTO TODDLER THE HOUSES WILL AWAKEN will be released next week. JA says it is almost sold out already, so if you are interested in peeking at toddler violence, you should order now $2. IT IS SOLD OUT NOW, BEFORE THE RELEASE DAY. THANK YOU BUYERS.

* Ryan Call interviewed me for NOÖ Loves Everyone

* Soon I will eat a dog, forget about babies, it is dog time.

* I randomly went through my stacks of books bought and not yet read, which is reaching bad proportion. My goal through the end of the year is to read as much off these shelves as possible.

The first of these was Ken Sparling's DAD SAYS HE SAW YOU AT THE MALL, which, holy fuck, is immediately one of my favorite books. It's from the Lish days of Knopf, consisting of really stripped scenes from suburban fatherhood, really weird and funny, maybe like if Gary Lutz wrote for the Simpsons or something, or semi-like WHY DID I EVER, but those descriptions don't really cut it. I can't think of a single person I know who wouldn't love this book I think.

Here are three random sections from the book, to get an idea:

Tutti and I were living in that apartment when you couldn't put anything in the freezer because of all the ice forming on the freezer walls. I saw my whole life in that freezer. I saw a guy with hairy legs, living in a cave, eating frozen fish-sticks. I saw God in that freezer.

It was having the boner that gave me the boner.

I have never wanted to hang myself, or slit my wrists, if that's what you are thinking. There are certain ways of talking--sometimes I am capable of this--where everyone shuts up and listens. I don't know why they do this.

Here is the interview with Sparling that originally made me want to buy the book, I think it was several years ago.

As well, here is a Sparling story on elimae

I highly, highly recommend this book.

* You can now preorder the 'Handwritten issue' of Keyhole Magazine, is is in full color and every page is handwritten, which is an amazing idea I think. It includes stuff by many amazings, ie: Kim Chinquee, Kevin Sampsell, Elizabeth Ellen, Aaron Burch, William Walsh, Kelly Spitzer, Claudia Smith, Kathy Fish, Laura Ven Der Berg, and scads of others.

My thing is a novel excerpt, from WHERE AM I WHERE HAVE I BEEN WHERE ARE YOU, I am excited to read the reading out of this read.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Anal destructor

Leave it up to Dead Prez to say what no one else is saying on the Obama shitz (from their website):

"When the axe entered the forest, the trees said, 'Look, the handle is one of us!'
Yoruba (Afrikan) proverb

What is real will remain to be seen. I mainly wish people wouldn't just get all carried away in the idea of something. People forget their history too quickly, if only in the mind of 'wanting more,' which to me defeats itself. I honestly hope 'change' is real, but at this point, I'll believe it when I see it.

Shilled out money I won from betting people Georgia wasn't going to be blue this year to see Clint Eastwood's latest hunk of shit CHANGELING. I'm not sure what made me forget that I hate Eastwood's movies enough to go see it, but we thought with the title CHANGELING there would be some kind of magic to the story or something at least remotely otherworldly about it.

This film employs a lot of 'violence' but explains away or cute-ifys any angle that might get the comfortable crowd out of their box for too long. Which maybe should have been expected, but some reason near the end of the way-too-long movie I went from 'duh' to pissed off. Too many jokes at the right time, Jolie tits covered over with vague mists in showers, the true stroke of something awful happening 'saved at the last second' by John Malkovich looking like a scruffy golden retriever, serial killers who might as well been brought in from the Hannah Barbera school of theater, etc. This film will likely be touted for its presence simply because of the notes that are being used, when really, what's being offered here could not only not be more warmed over and 'safe,' but sold in the shell its in, actually becomes a weapon against something bigger.

Of course, there are plenty of people out there who want even their 'violence' to be understandable, 'connected,' a thing they can then contextualize and sweep away and feel ok about. It's the same kind of tendency that extremely narrative writers use in their fiction, to make any loopholes of the inexplicable into exploitatively 'heartwarming' 'HUMAN' tales.

I should insert here (from comments):

'I am preaching to the choir maybe, but there's something in fiction and poetry that seems parallel here, i definitely think there are more working in the Eastwood-sized camp than there are in the true violence camp, even in 'indie press circles,' which is a parallel I don't think I hit on the way I meant to in this post'

It's the 'what is human here' question that really fucking makes me want to just shit in paper and mail it to all the right magazines. Maybe the way I fold the paper will make it make a pretty design.

'This is a pretty design! But I'm afraid we're going to have to pass.'

'Want to order a subscription?'

There is a lot of supposedly progressive whitewashing, in all realms, I think, right now, which actually makes it more scary to me than when shit is all right out there on the table.

To counteract the sonic sinkhole that is Eastwood, here is a list of films you should see instead, if you haven't, off the top of my head, films in which violence is portrayed as a thing with that IS, in which no shitty childhood, no explanation is needed, because humans are what humans are.

Most of these are foreign, well, because when Americans do get violent films spouted on us it's either in the Eastwood camp, or it's campy fratboy shit like 300 or Quentin Tarantino hurrah-ism.

I highly recommend the following:

both of Gaspar Noe's films, IRREVERSIBLE and I STAND ALONE (both totally disconcerting even when the violence is not on screen, which is most of the time)

STRAW DOGS, Peckinpah, with the infamous rape scene in which the woman suddenly begins to get 'into it,' an incredible film, with one of the most nerve-wracking endings ever

Herzog's COBRA VERDE & AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, a lot of people talk about the latter but I think CV is my favorite Herzog film

Errol Morris's THE THIN BLUE LINE (which contexualizes, I think, a truer impetus for violence, in that at one point the perp here says, effectively, that he killed people simply because they'd been hanging out, and then they stopped hanging out, and left him hanging.)

FIRE WALK WITH ME & BLUE VELVET, for obvious reasons

THE THIEF THE COOK HIS WIFE HER LOVER, Greenaway is the insane master of stylizing, this film is gorgeous and bizarre

IN A GLASS CAGE, saw this recently, a Polish film, incredibly beautiful and absolutely brutal film, though there is some background haunting, it becomes a beast unto itself

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, duh, but still incredible

CREMASTER 2 & 3, the scene in 3 where the cars in the bottom floor of the Chrysler building beat each other into a mash in a small room, all moving around in tight quarters, systematically crashing until there is nothing left, is one of the greatest images I can remember

ICHI THE KILLER, Yazuka violence, brutal, though most Japanese directors offer 'background history' to contextualize violence, which always annoys me, though sometimes still works

In recent, funny movies, I think BURN AFTER READING did a good job with it actually, semi-contextless violence as humor, yes

That's not enough but I can't think right, I will list more later maybe, when I have my movies in front of me

You can now preorder Shane Jones's LIGHT BOXES, and should. While you are at it, check out his two new pieces on Sleepingfish. The nightmare excerpt is one of my favorite things I've read in a while, it's one paragraph.

Forthcoming reviews: Lily Hoang's PARABOLA and CHANGING & Brian Evenson's LAST DAYS (all three of which are incredible monsters, each in their own new ways)(and a film version of LAST DAYS made by someone who knows what they are doing would be true-made violence of the best kind).

I am really behind on reviews. Like my review stack is up to my waist I think. Time to take break soon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

6 things + Answers to Your Google Q's (5): EMOTIONAL VEGINA

* You can now preorder my ML Press chapbook IN THE RAPE YEAR OF THE GHETTO TODDLER THE HOUSES WILL AWAKEN, it is $2, there are only 25-50 copies to be sold, there are also new ones from Nick Antosca and Brandi Wells for preorder, I have bought all of them so far, as well there are just-announced forthcoming ones from Sam Pink, Michael Kimball, Norman Lock, and James Chapman. FUCK YES.

* Publishers Weekly discusses Featherproof Books design sense & mentions SCORCH ATLAS

* Massive congrats to new 'label mate' AMELIA GRAY, whose collection of short-short fiction AM/PM has also just been announced for release by Featherproof next year. Amelia is insanely good, I am happy to be in the year of the year with her. If you do not know her work yet, read this ('There Will Be Sense' on Diagram), you will know why AM/PM is exciting as hell.

* 'Rung' 'violent' 'bleak' 'rough' excerpt on Underland Press site

* Why does, when I put on deodorant in the morning, then later in the day go running, then bathe, it hurt to put on a second layer of deodorant? It's like something is ripping out my skin.

* When Agent Cooper comes to find 'Let's Rock' written in cursive on the windshield of the car with the camera shot looking out from inside the car is maybe my favorite part of FIRE WALK WITH ME, I don't know why

* Finally, maybe my favorite Google Q yet (for which I am the 5th result):

(from Bedminster, New Jersey 9/4/08 7:07 PM)

Q: what is the right part of vegina to play to make woman emotional

A: VEGINA PLAY PERFECT PRESENTATION CHECKLIST IN 8 STEPS (must be followed in order, no subs, no skipping)

(1) Clear spit valve in woman, flooding into paper sac to be fed to brown dog on sixth day after vegina play is complete

(2) Wax woman's groove folds with CURPSIS (C) Brand bronze shiner, insert her legs into the rain compiler in which you have allowed eight weeks of rainfall to accumulate (no snow)

(3) Arrange CANNIBAL CORPSE's 'Tomb of the Mutilated' LP on verified 'crodbench' controller, extend volume to high setting (nosebleed recommended)

(4) With six conch shells purchased from the online or recent family vacation, prepare hexagramic aura containment by positioning the shells at the 6 major invocation points

(5) Wear a broach with mother's surname pinned through your navel to her navel, laugh some, share your breath with where hers goes in

(6) Feed with one hand the #1 value meal from BK while feeding the woman the #2 value meal from BK no sauce

(7) The woman's eyes will well with drapery in the flood zone moment, at which point evacuate, seal room, hide eyes, call dad, say 'Hello father, I am apologize for all I have not been to you as a son and as a human I never should have been made'

(8) Reenter floodzone once wall is no longer shaking, say your father's name into the woman's ear, enter the ear inside the ear *VOILA*

For sale: 1 GA vote, either party

Now taking bids for my placebo knocker.

One (1) Georgia vote for either candidate to highest bidder. Polls close in how long?

If one vote really matters, this should bring in huge dividends for both myself and the purchaser.

I defer to George Carlin:

"If you vote you have no right to complain."

Sure, sure, this year's different. Right.


That's really all I'm going to say about it. Don't bitch at me. I've heard it, trust me.


Alternatively, in a completely other sort of h-word, I have a violent BLOOD MERIDIAN-esque excerpt up today 'Rung' from a novel I started and have sat aside for time being, featured on the Underland Press website alongside Matt Simmons's insanely weird witch story and interviews with Brian Evenson and etc.

Underland describes the passage in a way that is likely one of the most ways I could have asked for: Do not read this if you have children, want to have children, or know somebody who has children. And do not read this before bed. An excerpt from Blake Butler's novel...

Read RUNG here.

To the person who reads and comments on 'Rung' or Matt's story in a thoughtful way (if there are several I will choose), I will send one free copy of Sam Pink's most excellent chapbook YUM YUM I CAN'T WAIT TO DIE, as I now have two copies, one from Sam himself and one different version, finally delivered by the Jaguar Uprising. Don't need two. Say something thoughtful and I will reward you. Thankya.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Crush the shitty magician

No one knew who we were for Halloween.

*Dan Wickett wins*

In this photo I really had the look down, I think:

Peewee passed the Bar the other day, first try, good job Josh.

Dressed in such manner, I realized I talk and think like this character a lot on a daily basis, especially while driving, which then encouraged me to think I should reevaluate how I act.

3 other things:

1. 'Shithead' is a fun thing to say loud.

2. Hair gel sucks dick.

3. I will abide by the bolo tie in the future, for sure.

Got a galley of Brian Evenson's LAST DAYS in mail today, all other things in life will be put on hold. New Brian Evenson is probably top of my list of things I get excited about.

I have a short piece that will be on the Underland site soon, it had begun as the beginning of a very violent novel that I stopped writing for now, I will come back to it maybe.

I think finished a draft of RICKY'S ANUS yesterday, it is long, I put it in the think box, I know when I begin the 2nd draft it will grow by another 20-30% probably, unless maybe it shrinks by up to half, I have not decided, I am not going to open it for a while, I like the way I am thinking about it, 'it will likely never see the light of day.'

Immediately after finishing RICKY'S ANUS I decided it was time to write something more planned, something 'not me,' I started another novel, I am trying something completely different this time, something more structured and planned, out of the mode of the last year of writing, 'challenging myself n shit by playing by more rules n shit.' I will not say any of the words I say all the time this time. I will 'have some idea.' Let's see what happens.

EVER is almost done. Final proofing, finishing cover, wrapping that bitch up. Put it on your Christmas list, I think. I am making some things to go with it. More there soon.

A Calamari Press night is planned for March 5 with me, Robert Lopez & Gary Lutz (!!!) @ Word Bookstore in Brooklyn, mark it with a B.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My year of submitting a book length MS to small presses

As I mentioned, having really enjoyed reading Shane Jones's post of the process of submitting his novel LIGHT BOXES, and the amount of time, attention, correspondence, and ultimately often hopeless-seeming seeking involved in finding a publisher for a book length manuscript, I thought I'd write about my SCORCH ATLAS in the same way. As competitive as book publication is, I put myself through some kind of method or routine that at least partially managed to keep me borderline sane over the almost exactly 1 year period it took me to finally place the book (which, in the scheme of things, is quite short). I'm not claiming to be an expert of any sort now, but I do know the things I went through, and perhaps the thinking would be interesting or useful in some way.

I didn't do this kind of post with my novella EVER, as I was lucky enough with it to have a specific place (Calamari Press) in mind when I assembled the book (though not quite during the process of writing it: EVER, in a way, was an accident), and so really with EVER I only ever sent the manuscript to one place. I think perhaps that's one of the big elements in this process: the matter of knowing who you are sending to and what they are interested in publishing. While some houses have a huge array and could dip in most anywhere, many, and especially in the small press zone, have very clearly defined tastes and aesthetics. This was probably a mistake I made with SCORCH ATLAS, in that at a certain I was kind of throwing it around anywhere I could just to try to find someone, anyone, that would take it, which in the long run was really just asking for more grief and hopeless waiting for an almost assured NO. So, reading books from small presses, knowing what they are looking for, and having a very focused menu when it comes to who you send to, to me, is one of the big lessons learned.

I wrote the bulk of the words in SCORCH ATLAS from July 07 to November 07. I can very vividly remember writing the first sentences of the first story (which ended up as the last story in the book) at my desk in the loft I'd just moved into with a certain record I'd just acquired very loud inside the room. Something about the tone and texture of the music pushed these words out of me in a way I'd never written, and it kind of caught fire in me. There forward I wrote one story at a time, working 6-8 hours a day for 7-15 days straight on each story. After the first draft, I would then revise the revise the story over and over until I felt it was done, then I mailed it out to magazines, then immediately began the next. During this time I mailed each story I wrote to between 10-20 places at a time, obsessively resending another copy out when I received a rejection so that each story was always out to the same # of places. My submission log from this year is almost nauseating: 2007 alone takes up 11 pages of an MS word file with one sub on each line in 10 point font. This practice, I guess, is how I was able to place so many stories in such a short span: I was insane.

I hadn't written the stories with any intended sort of collection in mind, though at a certain point I realized that they all were of a mode and almost naturally made a book. I compiled an early draft of the collection and sent it to the agent I had at the time, who said it was my best work but that he didn't think he'd be able to sell such a strange book as a collection, especially considering the hesitancy of big presses to take on literary nonlinear-novels, or even literary novels for that matter. He wanted me to make the stories fit together in a more linear way, to connect them and add stuff to make it a full-on novel. I told him I was going to shop the book myself. I immediately began querying places that accepted unsolicited, open non-fee read subs or queries, which in and of itself was a bit of a process. The # of presses that aren't open, or are open for very slim bits of the year, becomes a pretty short list quickly, though it seems there are enough together that over time you have a decent array of options.

The first two places I sent were Dzanc Books and Featherproof. They both allowed electronic subs of a portion of the book, and I had read and liked the books the presses put out, so I sent the first few sections of the book to both. Dzanc ended up not too long after changing their policy on collections to a contest only (they still read novel length works etc. all year), so no direct response came from that, but about a month after I sent the preview Featherproof said they liked the glimpse and please send the rest. I sent them the full MS then, though it would be a long wait before anything more came from there.

I sent to McSweeney's who wrote back w/in 4 months about only being able to do a few titles a year, thanks but no thanks etc. For as much as they probably get sent, they seem to do a really good job responding to everyone in time.

Through a friend I sent to FC2, who read a glimpse and asked for the whole ms, but then after 4 months or so reported that their readers had really enjoyed certain stories but that overall the ms was too languagey which I found odd considering the history of FC2 (and the fact that the book isn't anywhere near as languagey as most of what they release, which made me wonder about their readers), but nonetheless I was glad to have gotten such a close read from as important a press as them.

I sent the first 50 pp to Hawthorne books, who asked for the rest, and ended up getting passed on from the main reader to the boss, who ultimately said she wished she knew how to market a collection of such a nature, but had to pass, and would love to see a novel if I had one in the future.

I received a very nice phone call on the full ms at Melville House, who said basically the same thing as Hawthorne.

The word 'bleak' was used a lot.

In Feb I met Featherproof at AWP and they recognized my name without me mentioning the ms, which was nice. They said they were really into the book and wanted to talk to me about it very soon. This got me excited, but it would still be a long time before I heard anything (7 months or so), while they continued figuring out certain elements and etc., before it came to light.

Between Dec and June I sent queries and/or samples that came back with form rejections to Coffee House Books, Soft Skull, Milkweed Editions, and a handful more I can't think of right now.

I got quick and nice personal rejections from Bellevue Literary Press, BOA Editions, Turtle Point Press.

I sent queries that were never answered at all to: Small Beer Press, Ghost Road Press, Clear Cut Press, Four Walls Eight Windows, Impetus Press, Exact Change, Verso Books, and probably several others I also can't remember, as at some point I stopped writing it down.

I queried a ton of places that had vague or missing info on their sites and got a range of answers.

During this time I started getting antsy and weird about the book, alternating some days between not wanting to write anymore and manic. I didn't sleep a lot, mainly because the various threads of possibilities that could turn into a yes kept me wanting to check my email at all hours, and when I did get in bed I would lay awake thinking about what I could do, or how to get an answer faster. Some days I felt violent enough to withdraw the MS from everywhere and go get a job as a programmer or something. I really was obsessed and manic most days and would think about my email when I could not be near the computer. If the phone rang from an out of state unrecognized # I would feel a surge of blood as if it were a publisher calling, even as much as I knew it wasn't.

My Gmail chats with other writer friends often got bleak and fuck-offish. I think I told Ryan Call I wasn't going to write anymore and that writing was for fucks probably 15 different times. Shane Jones and I several times had long angry discussions about fuck this fuck that why are we doing this who the fuck do we think we are what the fuck.

I have to sort of laugh at myself on this now but really the process can feel like a knife in the gut. The more you can keep your wits about you and remember that its a long road and that no matter how much you obsess it will not change the pace, the better chance you have of not throwing your body into traffic.

Keith Montesano's reading and helping me see how to fix the MS in small ways, not to mention his insistence on the book's strength and how I should stay vigilant about it, were hugely helpful and important to me. I think he's the only person I ever showed the book to with the intent of talking about it, outside of publishers.

At a certain point I think I kind of turned off and set myself on auto pilot and decided that I would try to think about it as little as possible, and that what was meant to happen would happen, maybe, something.

My main way of unfocusing on the seemingly neverending wait during the whole thing was to KEEP WRITING. The more I was able to dissolve myself in other projects, other novels, the less I had time and energy to worry. That's probably the other major lesson I learned as far as this goes: that if you know the book is strong, you must keep writing, you must keep your head as focused on doing more in the meantime, while keeping your fingers out in the waters searching. It's a long process, a very long process, and if you fixate entirely on the process of publication rather than remembering to keep your eye on the work itself, new work, then you will go fucking bonkers and end up giving up.

I could say something now about how we should write because it is fun, because we get pleasure out of it, but anyone who has been around long enough to get to a certain point already knows this. It's worth reiterating briefly though. It's sometimes hard to remember why you're in it at all, and if you're not enjoying yourself, you should take a break and do something else, and maybe remember your approach. It's a very weird game, the making of your 'art' into a form to be processed and considered by others, and you can't let it become overriding to the point that you hate what you used to love, which I almost let it do.

During the summer I had nice dealings with a couple of other newer small presses that I knew well enough to query personally but in each case they were over their heads with the books they already had lined up.

Calamari Press read and said that though they liked the stories, together it wasn't the kind of 'book object' they normally release, at which point I assembled EVER, which I had written right after finishing the last story in SCORCH, and not really realized at the time that it was pretty much done.

I sent to Keyhole Books and had strong interest from them, though things there were still getting hammered out as to how the press would launch, and we continued to discuss it over a period while things there got hammered out. Keyhole was super awesome about keeping me up to date about where they were at, and their enthusiasm for the book.

This possibility, pronged with the resolution of a few of the possibilities above, kind of came to a fruition at the same time, when both Keyhole and Featherproof both said they wanted to do the book within like a week of one another, after about a year of searching. This was a really bizarre (and great) moment for me, having spent so long in search and then ending up with two very viable places. I thought a lot and hard and long on what I wanted to do, and in the end Peter from Keyhole said he thought he should bow out of the decision, and let the decision be easy and enjoyable for me, and that he would read more in the future. This move on Peter's part, I can't say enough, was so valiant and inspiring, to see how much he cared not only about the book, but about my comfort level. I still hope one day that I can do a book with those guys because everything about the dealing with them left me feeling really happy and positive about small presses, and people in general.

It's funny too, how during the year I spent working and obsessing daily about this thing, more than a few times I was told by other, more experienced authors that this time of transition and formation in looking for that first book publication is a period unlike any other, and often one people look back to as a wonderful and almost wanted-for experience again. At the time, that sounded like handjob b/s to me, and that how could anybody want to be in that mode, but really, looking back (and it's easier to say when looking back), it really was a formative experience in which I felt a certain kind of energy about me that even already I feel myself kind of missing.

Anyway, fuck, lord, I've gone on way longer than I meant to with this. Hopefully it has some kind of bead of method in it that someone who is preparing to send their own books in the same way could get something out of. It's funny how alone you feel in a process that has been replicating itself for forever, and though it may seem like a fuck in the ass a lot of the time, really right now is a good time for books, and it's more in the right hands than it has ever been probably or something. I'm going to go drink coffee.