Tuesday, January 13, 2009

EVER arrived.

I woke up early this morning from a dream in which I was being given a recipe to make antiperspirant. We were pouring the wine into cooking oil, which could then be worn to kill sweating. I woke up to an accidental bap in the face with a blanket, which once awake, I welcomed. I needed to get up.

I drove to my parents' house, where UPS was scheduled to deliver EVER, since I can't get mail at my own place still. The rebuilding is mostly done but they still don't bring mail.

It was 11 or so when I got to my parents house. It was quiet. I opened the UPS package tracker. It was listed as 'OUT FOR DELIVERY' at 8 AM.

Over the next 7 hours I circled my parents' kitchen and driveway. In the yard my dad was trimming little bushes. Across the street, men in big trucks arrived. I watched them climb 3 different trees in the yard and saw off all the biggest branches. The trees were huge, probably 50 feet high. The branches got cut and were swung to the ground with ropes. There was one guy way up there doing all the work. Once the branches were down, they started cutting the trunk out in 4-5 foot hunks until it was gone.

While inside I refreshed the UPS tracker probably 50-100 times over 7 hours. I wrote a little for about an hour, expecting at any moment for my dad to come in and tell me a package had arrived. I found I was too preoccupied to write much, so I quit doing that. I ate a lot of little snacky food standing in the cold outside in a t-shirt. I talked to a friend I hadn't talked to in too long. I talked to the dad of a kid I grew up with in the neighborhood about the cold, and how time gets faster, and how tomorrow I will be 30.

I spent a lot of time watching through the window where you can just see above the fence enough that when the brown truck came I would know.

Around 5 pm I started to get a bit frantic and skittish, wondering why the boxes hadn't come yet. I think I told someone that when the UPS guy got here I was going to 'fuck him in the head with a sword.' I'd been calm most of the day, but after so long and now it started to get dark, I was afraid the books weren't going to come. Waiting one more day all of a sudden after all the other waiting seemed something unbearable.

I started looking on the UPS website to see what else could be done. Phone #s or something.

At some other point I went outside again, for probably the 20th time that day.

The UPS truck was pulling into my driveway. It was dark now. I stood and looked at brown machine and waited for the man to get out of it.

He did.

He handed me two large boxes from Book Mobile. He thanked me and I thanked him. I think I started to hug him. He told me to have a good day. He got back in the truck.

Coming back into the house with the boxes my whole face for a second went liquid. I think I squealed or said words that don't exist.

I went past my mom in the kitchen with the boxes and went to the last room in the house where I slept when I stayed here during the hurricane, and where my sister slept when we were kids.

I opened the boxes. There was paper. I moved the paper. I touched my book.

The book is small and beautiful and perfect and exactly the dream object I'd been imagining all this time, even more than.

I took out some of the books and looked at them in reams. I opened one and touched the pages. I read part of one page. I looked at the spine. I stood beside the bed and looked at one of the books for a little while.

There is a lot of light in the room in this picture:



I took one copy of the book and took it back into the kitchen and handed it to my mom. She kissed me and said thank you. I went back to the books and sat down.



Perhaps you can't tell on the spine in the picture, but the title is white and my name is light blue. I feel kind of light blue right now, in the best way.



Tonight I'm going to pack the preorders at my house and drink some water. Looking forward to this finally getting into hands. Thank you again to everyone who has shown so much support already. And most to Derek and to Peter for the greatest 1 day before my 30th birthday gift I could have ever imagined.

You can order the book now directly from Calamari Press.

36 comments:

adam coates said...

they are pretty.
i am impressed by their prettyness.
a standard is set for the content.
i am just writing inane sentances now.
i will stop.
sorry.
happy janurary 14th

BLAKE BUTLER said...

thank you adam. they are even better in hand. pictures are hard. thank you.

chris killen said...

hi Blake, the book looks really good. i liked reading this post a lot. (i took a similar picture of my books when they arrived in a box the other month.)

i misread one line in this post first as 'I was 11 or so when I got to my parents house.'

BLAKE BUTLER said...

thanks chris, haha, i think you read rightly, i was totally 11

Brad Green said...

You have the longest thumb I've ever seen. That must be the secret to your prodigious rate of production. I need Sam Pink to help me invent a machine for increasing the length of a person's thumb. We could start a whole new kind of spam.

I look forward to reading the book!

Matt Bell said...

Congratulations, Blake! Must have been a great feeling, carrying those books in. I can't wait to read the book.

So no more celebrating-- Back to mailing!

BLAKE BUTLER said...

hi brad, i never noticed the size of my thumbs, my whole hands are fairly large. i hope you enjoy the book

thanks Matt. :) :)

Anonymous said...

I smiled when I read how you almost hugged the deliveryman. A sweet anecdote. Congratulations.

sam pink said...

good job man. i am imagining watching a swarm of blake butler's come over the curve of the earth, like in the video "come to daddy."

Shane Jones said...

awesome. i'm looking forward to getting my copy.

Jamie Iredell said...

Sweet. They look beautiful.

Hey, you know what--this is completely off topic--but I think that $20 that you gave to Dockins, which he then gave to me at Manuel's? I'm not sure, but I think that shit's counterfeit, which is awesome.

I'm going to pass it while buying another copy of your book.

Darby said...

This was great to read. Thanks for posting. Congratulations on ever being a thing. and happy birthday!

Michael said...

You have pretty nails.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

thank to all of you for the enthusiam, it is catching.

haha, counterfeit twenty? that is bizarre, i wanna see

haha, ty michael

Michael Goroff said...

It's weird to think you have parents. I always assumed you came to the earth in a comet, naked and gelatinous and sputtering.

Can't wait to get paid this week so I can order a copy. Congrats.

kristina born said...

congratulations, dude. that shit looks rad.

derek brown said...

Ah the days I'd "work from home" waiting for that blasted brown truck. My neck would get sore craning it out the window. Glad it was you this time and not me. And thanks for taking pictures of it at least, I can't wait to cradle one in my hands and burn one in my pellet stove for warmth. It's your birthday already here! Happy 30.

Matt DeBenedictis said...

"I touched my book" such a simple phrase, but a damn huge feeling. Congrats.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

naked and gelatinous for life

:) :) ::)

ryan call said...

cant wait to read it

happy birthday as well

Scott Garson said...

awesome. nice looking book for sure.

desirability of holding: very, very high....

cari said...

Happy birthday!

Hell of a way to start your thirties. (Welcome to the thirties, by the way. It's nice here. I think you'll like it.)

Very much looking forward to reading the book.

Matthew said...

Fuck, dude. I can't wait to get mine. Beautiful.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

hi ryan scott cari and matthew, thank you, i am happy

Keith said...

happy official birthday, at least within 24 hours!

can't wait to get this in my grubby palmz...

such an scorch-esque appe-teaser too.

wow 2009.

Michael Hemmingson said...

this reminds me when my first novel was published in 1994 (The Naughty Yard, Permeable Press), as the UPS guy also delivered the boxes to my parents' address, because I was somewhat "displaced" at the time. I arrived early and waited and waited...it was about the same size as your book...I was 27...turning 30 and having one's first book out at the same time is a cool milestone moment...enjoy it...it'll never be the same for each subsequent book...hope ya got someone to properly share it with...

Daniel Bailey said...

happy birthday. it looks really beautiful.

Keith B said...

as i read this i got giddy and felt a warm fuzz, i think because i was vicariously feeling what i hope to someday experience myself. i've been working steadily towards it for the past five years and hopefully only have a few more to go. i think i'd shit myself to finally see my name on a book.

tim and eric's awesome show says, great job blake!

BLAKE BUTLER said...

thank you my friends. yeah, the wait is one i had always anticipated in waiting, which was like double waiting. it was funny to actually be in the wait. but felt nice.

Lily Hoang said...

beautiful beautiful beautiful. you're a rockstar, blake. eat it up.

Ben Spivey said...

thanks for sharing. I am excited for you.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

:) :)

peter b. said...

congrats man. I am finally ordering one.

pr said...

Yeah, Blake! It looks great. The part where you almost hugged the UPS man, though- that is my favorite. You are aweseome.

christopher higgs said...

Happy birthday. Welcome to being thirty. I have only one more month until I am no longer thirty. Thirty was a good year for me. Hopefully it will be a good year for you, too.

& uber congratulations on the book! I am excited to read it.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

thank you all again. :)