Sunday, June 28, 2009

List of 23 things I wrote yesterday that at the time seemed relevant to something








8. I need to investigate people who have killed themselves by drinking water.



11. The other day I helped a tanned man and his fake-breasted girlfriend carry a large oak table up to their second floor loft while I wore the shorts and was covered in sweat. The woman kept starting to say something to me, but did not. The man had small hands.

12. I want to write an essay on the first 42 minutes of Lost Highway but I don't know where to begin.




16. ...always supposed to be doing something else...


18. The last time I was at my parents' house my sister had left her bra laying wet out on the kitchen counter on top of a couple of paper towels. I ate some ice cream.




22. The large security guard outside the 'Murder Kroger' last week, when I asked him how it's going, answered, smiling: "Ain't nobody dyin,' ain't nobody livin'."



Last night flew across a field of solid noise using bloated leaves that puttered water. There were houses in the layers, but after we left the lip we were afraid to land. Everyone below us had knives and torn clothes.

We crashed down in some post-apartment complex and found a way to break into a glassed-in house, though another man, a skinny white man with dark teeth, followed us in as well and was trying to inject us with something he carried in a bladder underneath his arm in hair. We abandoned the room through a small door in the back and found way onto a pulley system that took us to a building where several ruined homes had been appended. We were granted admittance by a kid I grew up with into an area where all these people were sitting around drinking and sitting in stairwells that filled the house.

The man with the black teeth was not granted admittance, but he continued to linger outside the area, coming to stand at various locations on the complex's perimeter, watching, as from the inside the building was mostly open air. I would often see him looking in, watching me move.

I was worried about you and yet we were trying to relax so we went separate ways and I talked to people I had not seen in a long time. At the center of the complex there was a swimming pool with no matter in it that people were jumping into. I could not see what happened to them after they jumped.

There were a lot of leaves and kids from a black metal band who did not seem to want me there. They kept leering and seeming to be about to do something else. My friend who had given admittance kept telling them to be cool.

I ate a meat stick that tasted like wire.

You were in a far off area of the complex. I could see you where you were but not with my eyes. You were walking through the stairwell parts and looking for another exit as there was something about the man with the black teeth.

You were a different you than the you I flew across the noise with, as that person had disappeared when we landed, and now was you.

I wanted to go and find you so that you would not go back out into the parts where the man with the black teeth was, and despite being able to see you (not with my eyes) I could not find you in the house, though at the far perimeter of one section there was a window in a room where no one else was. I saw you (not with my eyes) go into that room and there was the man with the black teeth on the other side of the glass. You did not seem scared.

Today leaving the house, in this light, I felt the man somewhere nearby, I got into the car and it was hot in the car. I feel the man nearby as well here now.

Here are words.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Scorch Atlas is

Waited for UPS at my parents' house from 10 am to 530pm, trying to relax myself and could not. Finally decided to go for a run in the Georgia heat.

Ran 3 miles came back to find my dad standing on the edge of the street, where they've been ripping sod up to widen the road. A ridge of mud and soil.

Dad says, "They brought these 4 big boxes for you. Big boxes." He measures it out. "Boy they were heavy as hell."

I went inside and took the box back to the room where I stayed when the hurricane hit my apartment, sopping wet with sweat. I took my clothes off and opened the box.

I looked at the books a couple minutes then wrapped in a towel and took one down the hall to my mom. She told me congratulations and opened it also. I went outside and jumped in the pool. I jumped in at a good angle and stayed under as long as I could.

Scorch Atlas will be in stores in September from Featherproof.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Days that were going to keep lasting longer the shorter they got

Woke up this morning with my tongue around my head.

Someone had been writing on my arm meat:

The sun came out and killed the South. Killed the south with where. What son. What I am, son said. Sun one. Killed the which, I is.

There are a lot of things you could have done with a substance on which music has been embedded.

Lots of small starts and no beginnings.

I finally found my Mickey Mouse shirt with the paint flecks all over it from where I painted over a tall wall. Doesn't feel like it used to feel to wear it.

Today someone from Texas googled 'personal relate to the copy family by blake butler,' if you write an essay on this and mail it to me I will send you a copy of my head and face through this machine. or.

Famously Jean Genet was writing Our Lady of the Flowers in prison and had the pages taken from him, and then rewrote it in his head? Or I am getting the story wrong. Or it was never in his head and never on the paper. It was never in the book.

There is not a book.

In grad school I almost wrote my graduate lecture on the necessity of dreams in fiction, against the old tirade that dreams do not belong in fiction, instead I

I don't know what I believe anymore.
I need to get up earlier and go on more walks & in more sound.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

'my mother's letters addressed to nonexistent hotels'

People wondering about the results of the Scorch Atlas Remix contest: I've been slowly reading and things are coming together. We plan to have the results to you announced in early July, and the publication of the remix book coming shortly thereafter. More on that as it arrives.

The Scorch Atlas books themselves are about to be on their way: shipped from the printers door tomorrow.

Anybody interested in reviewing who isn't already on my list, please drop me a line with where you think you could place a write up. I'd love to send you a book.

Also, will be on Featherproof Dollar Store tour from July 3-14th, selling early copies (it won't hit stores until Sept.), check dates from Texas to NYC and elsewhere here.

Also will be doing another tour in September mostly in the Northeast with Robert Lopez and Sam Ligon, more on that soon.

A huge honor to have Dennis Cooper name EVER in his candidates for his Best of 2009 Top Ten Lists.

An insanely cool collage of art objects and powerhouses, from the man himself.

My review of the 11th story in Brian Evenson's Fugue State 'Invisible Box' is up at the Identity Theory blog Book Rate

I feel behind on so much, it is impossible to keep up, how does anybody do anything

Telling you now: Mike Young's MC Oroville's Answering Machine is a power energy monster. So happy to have that series of texts together in one place. It's $3.5. You just have to buy it.

Attila Bartis's 'Tranquility' (from the incredible Archipelago Books) is also stroking me inside:

But what would you do, Mr. Writer, if at pig-slaughtering time they handed you the blood bowl to hold, eh? You'd drop it like a hot potato, wouldn't you? About that, Mr. Principal, you are mistaken; I'd just get a better grip on it.

I'm really going to try now to write on this paragraph-turned-novel that is now entering 15k words from having meant to be 500 | saving in the filename 'black fields.doc' | I am really going to pay attention |

Monday, June 22, 2009


god it rains here every day now its like someone telling me no
i feel like someone somewhere is trying to give me a lot of money but can't find my address
martin scorsese was one time a kid walking around trying to think where he should eat
by now he's already made the movie with david bowie playing the guy who ultimately kills god
when i've been going running lately i've been careful to stop running when the readout on the treadmill shows pattern numbers like 424.2 or 3.33
though most all numbers have an inherent pattern in them so really i could get off any time
i should be doing something else like everything i'm not doing now
i'd like it if i had a helmet i could not feel around my head

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Story by Story: Brian Evenson's Fugue State (9) 'In The Greenhouse'

** In case you missed it, my post on FS's 8th story 'Wander' appeared at EWN.

The ninth story in Brian Evenson’s Fugue State, ‘In the Greenhouse,’ is interestingly, and perhaps pointedly, the only previously unpublished story in the book.

The text begins with an author who is attempting to write a study of another author, who in the first paragraph gives up on the project 170 manuscript pages in, burning them. The remainder of the story then is follows an author named Sindt’s subsequent interactions with the would-have-been subject, Craven.

What is perhaps most haunting about ‘In the Greenhouse,’ then, besides that it is a truly gripping and aura-ed story, and particularly with its placement in the order of texts here, is Evenson’s seeming bent to open the text beyond the text, to pull the doors that have so far been crowding his subjects’ lives into the direct meat of the reader/author relationship. We’ve already come through a rather heavy line of identity-blurring and psychic terror, and yet here we are sunk deeper, in the actual meat of what is being made⎯as, this is a book after all, not an actual flesh and blood nightmare (right?)⎯and so what further ways can the text therein claim our heads?

In writing about writing about writing, Evenson further opens the clearly constructed ontology of circling and encasement⎯here, perhaps, is the book within the book within the book.

Clearly, and by the example of the weight of the other works before it in the way even weeks after having read them I still feel pressed against my back, ‘In the Greenhouse’ (the title itself a seeming metaphor for the overgrown hotbox of what must be plumbed in creation), the pages are riddled with the indication that the reading itself, as well as the writing, has as much, if not more, power to enter and alter the flesh and mind.

“The imaginative process could ruin a good house in a matter of days,” Craven says in passing to the protagonist, in touring his strangely sparse and abstrusely described home (77). Later, this thought will be echoed by the protagonist in the midst of his own self blurry, a turn of page so horrifying I should not to even talk about it. “The imaginative process can ruin a good head…”

Via Craven, we are offered glimpses of strangely and provocatively titled texts such as Knife Diet and Box of Sky, which begin to worm their worm into the narrator’s perception both of the strange subject-author, and the protagonist’s own otherwise entirely shaded existence, which in their expounding in Sindt’s head begin to enter his ideas, his waking, and perhaps further on, become.

At another point, as Sindt attempts to more closely examine the Greenhouse by using the only eyeglass sort of piece in the house that he can find: a glass tumbler, which “while it admittedly magnified things, severely distorted them at the same time.” Like the text, then, and the text’s creation, and its induction, all which in concert both act as a portal and a creator of the hole. A systematic method of simultaneous creation and destruction, resulting in a wholly other state.

Exactly what Evenson’s rooms and minds and modes here are aiming at is not the message. Instead, it is the incitement of those passages, and the passages within passages, as by now the book itself has become so riddled with the worming mazeways that we can not wholly regard it as a sequence of associated texts, but as something asking something us, in. As well, the circlings are circled, the doors have doors, the halls further halls, as we, like the people in the book, worm. The circling in ‘In the Greenhouse’ operates more as spirals than as the simple recitation of obsessions found earlier in Fugue State⎯here the text’s two lone men (author and reader), to the point that Sindt begins to imagine that Craven is several people, infused around him, locked in a book inside a book, etc, wherein “they spent their days circling one another, excessively formal (he realized this was a description as well of Jansen and Jansen’s interactions in Craven’s Moody Mouths).”

The result is perhaps the deepest elucidation of the hole state we’ve had here yet, and perhaps more personal, direct, stroked into the ravenous, gluing hemispheres Fugue State has already been fluent in, an ultimate realization of encircling and obsession, circling of self. “…it seemed that the syntax of Craven’s sentences was rewiring his head,” perhaps somehow also in the way that the texts surrounding ‘In the Greenhouse’ seem to be piling up, building a shell around the reader, building, perhaps, an entrance to an even deeper hole within a hole, an exit.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Head full of black teeth for an hour

I finished reading Robert Lopez's Kamby Bolongo Mean River last night. It was, oddly, or not oddly, one of the most emotional reading experiences I've had in a while. It honestly at one point got to me so much I had to stop and look at the wall and talk to myself. Actually, I stopped a lot during the reading of the book, every few paragraphs or so, and either reread a graph (the book is written in mostly very short graphs like a David Markson novel) to hear it again, or just stopped reading so I could continue to hear the first reading in my head.

It is quite a book (one about, on its face, simply a man locked in a room with a bed, chalk, and a phone) and it excites me in the best way a book can: both making me want to write, fueled by the sentences and ideas, and making me not want to write, in awe of those sentences and ideas, and their masterful assembly as text object.

You will hear me talking about this book a lot from here on, and a formal review is forthcoming, but in short: Rob, he did it.

Put this one high up on your list.

Still reeling gleefully this morning in finding this:

the incredible Dennis Cooper says, "'Ever' is easily one of the best novels I've read this year."


Oh you can now 'Search Inside' Ever at Amazon, if you would ever want to do that.

Now it's time to have a good weekend.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

LC contest winner: Bobby Alter's 'A cardiovasc' + Interview

I have posted the winner of the This is not not a Contest, Bobby Alter's 'A cardiovasc' live now at

Chosen from more than 200 entries, I think this piece is at once new, innovative, fun, smart, funny, and at its heart, made of sentences that I am pleased to know exist.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Thoughts and words as comments please are welcome here, as is any spreading of the word. Thankses.

AUTHOR BIO: Bobby Alter is a nineteen-year-old undergraduate in Portland, OR, where he primarily studies linguistics and French literature. He has newly founded a blog, the Hungerjournal where he will keep updates on his writing and further adventures in blissful poverty.

After you read that, here is a brief interview about the creation of the text, the author's thoughts on writing, etc.


How long did it take you to create this text?

BA: That's actually an interesting question in regards to this piece... I tend to be incredibly meticulous when it comes to writing, spending as much as two or three hours on a single paragraph, only to scrap it and try again... but this one I hammered out very quickly in comparison, I think I pumped out the entire first draft in three hours. But, that was greatly helped by the fact that the character of Roland was pretty much already created, sort of a personal archetype for me I think, and I had randomly written an early version of the middle bit with the mother a few months ago. Also, the situation of the last scene with Roland and the liver baby is an idea I've put into writing I think a million times, this being the newest (and shortest) incarnation of the idea. I don't know, point being, it didn't take me very long as far as I'm concerned, but the truth is due to all those factors it was really the first time I've worked on a text that "wrote itself," which I guess is a thing that writers say.

Tell me please about the photo insertions and how they came to be part of and / or influence the text before or after its creation.

BA: Adding photos is new to me, I've never done that before, but when I saw you mentioned it was alright I thought I'd try something new. The first is of course a wedding. I think that the idea of family and marriage and all that was an important theme to the text, you'll notice that it involves husband and wife in two generations, also mother and daughter and mother and son and mother and son in law father and daughter and also sort of anti-family types like prostitutes and drug addicts and whatever. The point wasn't to designate the photo as faces to any of the names in the story but I suppose it's fine if anyone decides that. I guess more important is that nobody is happy in that photo. I like the idea of putting pictures and text together because sometimes text is maybe too interpretable to give a specific feel (not that that's a bad thing) so by putting a photo of a photo of unhappy people at a marriage I feel like I was giving at most a feeling and at least a color palette for the text. Second photo is similar. That last section begins in the middle of the sentence and so maybe the image is the first half of that sentence. I love the color and most of all the compression of the image, I actually have a niceish camera and went out of my way to make that a crappy picture. I don't know, maybe the backstory of all that process was just for me, just for directing me as I wrote and felt and did all the things I tried to do. I might ask, what was your reaction to the photos?

Insertion of other media into text can often be a quick, Hmm, what is this trying to hide, so I guess maybe up front I'm always at least a little leery of them at first. In this case, though, they really seemed to have an aura, and weren't just something stuck there but opened the piece in other angles that broke off from the text and enhanced it, which made me feel happy. Also, when I went back and read your note that the photos were of objects that had been given to you by your grandmother when she thought the Communists were poisoning the water I thought was interesting and cool.

I'm wondering, then, about the way the shape of the text came together as you were writing it, as it seems there are many strands here, some very languagey, like the opening, and some more narrative sounding, but still magical, and sometimes it even breaks into (and eventually ends in) lineated phrases. Were the shifting forms something you were conscious of during the writing or did they just happen? Would you say the ideas affected the sentences here or the sentences affected the ideas?

BA: Ah, see? I should have just left it to the professional to articulate for me in the first place.

Okay, these are hard questions, I don't think I've actually thought about anything like this before, but after some serious forehead-wrinkling introspection, here's what I have to say. I like that you used the word magical, I think that's the single most important aspect to my writing to me. Here's a quick disclaimer: if anything I'm about to say sounds in any way pretentious, my deepest apologies; though I like T.S. Eliot as much as the next guy (okay, with the exception of Nabokov who was the first to realize that the anagram of his name is "toilets"), the idea that writing should be associated with some sort of smoking-jacket-wearing, intellectually-driven hogwash is pretty shitty to me. That said, I'm going to list a few ideas I have about language. My understanding of how language basically works in terms of speech is this: the mind creates concepts, puts them into a grammar, and then assigns the grammar to a set of phonetic units which are then interpreted by a third party semantically. While this is the working model for speech that you'll learn in syntax 101 or whathaveyou, I do think it applies to the way that many "description-based" writers do their thing, like Hemingway, Camus, etc. I write very differently. First I have the idea of what I want to say, but in a very broad sense, not sentence-by-sentence as in speech. Then, I attempt to articulate everything at the same time; syntax, phonetics, and semantic meaning must be created simultaneously for me because they all relate. Syntax is rules like Subject Verb Object etc. but those are completely meaningless without a carefully picked series of words, which are equally useless without a cohesive order, all of which are serving to create a semantic meaning. I think the trick that I try to pull off is, when I create them all simultaneously, I can break as many "rules" as I want, use any sounds I want, and get closest to the exact meaning I want to convey. When we speak, we are in a way narrowing down our notions, which is terrible, i.e., here is a big feeling I have, with some of it chipped off so as to be contained within a grammar, then regulated by phonetic conventions, etc. To anyone with the theory that man will create robots that will then take over the world by expanding their own artificial intelligence: as far as I'm concerned, that's already happened in terms of language. Man created language, which then became its own "organic" matter, and now we are trapped by the conventions it creates. My writing seeks to break apart those conventions, not because I am a Joyce-type writer (who, after writing both Ulysses and Finnegans Wake declared the amount of time it would take to fully understand the texts in terms of hundreds of years) but simply because I, like every writer and every person even, what to express exactly what I feel the need to express.

Could you tell me more about your background as a reader and or maker of words? What got you into it, how often you write, your routines, what authors really bang you, etc? You can be as veiled or as open as you like in response to this.

BA: Well, I mentioned Hemingway, Camus, Nabokov and Joyce above and they are probably my biggest influences. I think the first writer to ever make my mind explode was Hemingway. I was young when I first read him, so I likely didn't "get" a lot, but what mattered to me was how he relayed sentiment to his audience in a way I couldn't imagine before. Nabokov and Joyce are important to me in the way that the narration inhabits the psychoses of the characters. Camus is one of many absurdist writers, includingbutnotlimitedto Kafka, Kharms, Artaud, Beckett etc., all of whom I adore in terms of their ideology, which I feel is very close to mine, in the sense that life is a necessary series of revolts against an unidentifiable absurd, against which our greatest tools are beautiful things and childlike things and other things and also of course language. I'll also add Cummings and Rimbaud, two poets who have had probably the greatest influence on the actual stylistic aspect of my writing, both in poetry and prose.
Those are my influences. For reasons as to why, how, etc., I have absolutely no answer. I'll mention though that one prize for winning this contest was publication on Writer's Bloc, where you'll find a prose-poem attempting to answer those questions.

Ahhhh shit I'm trying to keep these answers as short as possible but they're just such grand questions!

Doubled q meant for crudding: What are you working on these days and what was the last thing that you read online that burped your brain?

BA: I don't know, I'm sort of not working on anything these days, it's hard for me to get motivated. But now that I have this story out there with so many people looking at it and everything I figure I should brave out into the world of online journals and try to get stuff published and all that. Ideally though I also want to work on a longer work, because writing short stories is painful for me I think and also because I hate ending things. I have an idea for a sort of novella I want to work on, for which I'm pretty sure 'A cardiovasc' was sort of a preliminary exercise... something about a world where all mothers are catholics and all daughters are either beautiful angelic beings or drug-addicts and whores or both and all men are semi-well-dressed sexually-driven chainsmoking proletariat semi-poets and all children are sacred and all of the characters have goals but at the same time have no control over their actions is extremely appealing to me, I don't know. Like I say the act of sitting down to write, and furthermore liking what I turn out with, is terribly excruciating for me on all levels, so it's hard to predict anything specific, even though when I do write it is the most wonderful feeling.

This poem [] caused some considerable brain burpage. The poem is called 'Skips' and the poem skips and I somehow feel like it's perfect or some silly adjective like that. I'm really bad at explaining what it is I like about things I read, but what I loved primarily was the way my mind reacted to this, it was to me a sort of battle of expression, like the poet was trying to say something, and the language was trying to say something, and both were being subverted, or maybe it was that the poet was restricting the poem, which actually I would like even better, it would go back to what I was talking about earlier on the subject of language's autonomous power and the need to break that. The important part is that while the narrative part of the piece is disjointed there is a very clear feeling expressed by it, a good one, one to think about.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tickle marriage with bacon ceremony for queet

My write up of the 8th story in Brian Evenson's Fugue State is live now at the EWN, please check it out?

As I typed that I was brought my contributor copy of Dzanc's Best of the Web 2009, in which I have 3 pieces and an interview, it looks amazing as an object and to hold, I can't wait to dig in.

Recently I have been writing a series of short paragraphs in the mind of Bernhard's The Voice Imitator one at a time, on Saturday I started one and ended up writing 2000 words, which since then has become 6000 words, and I think there is a novel in the oncoming, as the further I go in the writing the more there is to need to say.

I haven't felt in a while like I was writing something that feels the way this does, but it feels good to be in the presence of something moving.

The paragraph had become inspired directly by reading Evenson's 'Bauer in the Tyrol,' which hit me, strangely, with an idea rather than a sentence, as I had not written in the mode of 'ideas' in a long while, but instead being thrown forth in chasing an initial sentence, and following the sound and rhythm of that sentence to its end.

Evenson is interesting I think in that his stories manage to both have the battery and brains of an idea based text, in that there is a mode there and a palpable growing of mood and direction, but also sent forth on sentences that are driven by sound and tone.

This is different than, say, Beckett, who is less about ideas and more about sound completely, letting the sound dictate the ideas more than vice versa, and also different than most 'narrative' texts, where the plot or pushing forward often seems less interested in sentences that carry themselves than they are about sentences that carry forward some propulgation (even if they sound good).

Writers I like that I would say let their sentences dictate the mode more than the idea (which then fuels the idea): Christine Schutt, Joyelle McSweeney, Ben Marcus, Jean Genet, Diane Williams, Ander Monson, David Markson, Peter Markus, Robert Lopez, William Gass...

Writers I like that I would say let their ideas dictate the mode more than the sentence (which then fuels the sentence): Donald Antrim, George Saunders, Dennis Cooper, Gert Jonke, Derek White, Stephen Dixon, Paul Auster, Matthew Derby, Donald Barthelme, W.G. Sebald, Robert Coover, Steve Erickson, Jesse Ball, Jose Saramago, William Gay, Amy Hempel, A.M. Homes, Kelly Link, Norman Lock, David Foster Wallace, Julia Slavin, Nicholson Baker....

Barry Hannah I think falls into all of these camps in different hats, as does maybe Cormac McCarthy and William Burroughs. Michael Kimball and Stanley Crawford also both have made works that might, in feel, seem split between the two modes.

zodes soda hats eeky


It is an interesting divide, somewhat, in that the authors whose sentences seem the inspiration more than what is being said are of a certain ilk, as is how is the saying, while those of the idea tend to have a different texture, which is communicable among the reading as clearly as it likely feels to be in the minute of the word.

I have spent all of this year so far entirely writing in the moment of the sentence first, with the story therein divising itself from the language, leading me without really knowing where I am going. This has always been a much more palpable way of saying something that surprises me, which as I have said before, How can you expect to surprise anyone if you are not surprising yourself?

But what about when the idea comes first, and then asks for you to divine the sentences that push it? This has always been slightly more difficult for me, a mixed bag wherein I often fail more often than I succeed, though when I do use the idea first and am able to make the sentences live up to it, it often seems the thing that resonates even longer. Why?

Sentences carry their own ideas, in the blood.

Ideas do not carry their own sentences, the sentence must be derived or divined.

Humans are ill at ideas, rare is the human idea that is new and good, and yet ideas can likewise be divined, perhaps? Ideas can shit down out of nowhere like a money box, and stutter through you like the words do, maybe?

Ideas can be channeled, funneled, too, in the way of not knowing,

so the question then begins about impulse

becomes about how in the body to trick the mind into saying the thing it did not know it was going to say in its front part of its face but knew in knowing that it wanted to say, and had wanted to say, and will continue to try to keep saying

The less-thought thought borne from the sentence or from the idea being the cake meat you were hiding

and can then walk on

and be less hungry and more hungry

dualities being the bomb




ass talk is fun, how bout i eat my dick eh

as is what makes you say what you should have been saying is doors to teach yourself mmmm light

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lamination Colony Contest prizes

Thanks again to everyone who donated prizes for the This is not not a Contest.

Here's what everybody ended up getting, holy shit:

Bobby Alter, ‘A cardiovasc’

* $100 cash via paypal from megaboss Ken Baumann
* (1) copy of Shane Jones's 'Light Boxes' from Publishing Genius
* my used copy of Fugazi's 'Instrument' documentary on VHS
* (1) copy of Molly Gaudry's 'We Take Me Apart' forthcoming from ML Press
* the last hand edited manuscript of THE SELF ESTEEM HOLOCAUST COMES HOME and a printed copy of FROWNS NEED FRIENDS TOO (new two books from Sam Pink)
* a copy of William Walsh's 'Questionstruck,' Thomas Cooper's 'Phantasmagoria' and Issue 7 of Keyhole, all from Keyhole Press
* a CD of live audio mixes from various low power radio programs by Matthew Simmons
* a set of six drawings of video game controllers drawn by Steven Seighman of Monkeybicycle for the cover of Hobart's games issue
* a ruled Moleskine notebook - unopened, in original wrapping; the next edition of 'Smoke: a London Peculiar', the magazine of words and images inspired by the city (issue 14 out soon-ish); + a 'feature article' to the winner of the contest to write their thoughts on writing for Writers' Bloc, if they wish, all from Vaughan Simons of Writers' Bloc
* a copy of the 'Meeting People is Easy' documentary on Radiohead, donated by Shome Dasgupta
* a copy of Jack Christian's Let's Collaborate from Magic Helicopter Press, a copy of Mike Young's Okay Now from Magic Helicopter Press (limited edition Summer Tour thinbook), a copy of Pasha Malla's The Withdrawal Method, a copy of Joshua Beckman's Take It, all donated by Mike Young / Magic Helicopter
* 2 random ass books from Barry Graham's book shelf
* 2 random ass books from Jereme Dean
* a lifetime subscription to Muumuu House, c/o Muumuu House
* Best American Short Stories edition 2000 & Runes from Frank Sung

Andrew Borgstrom, ‘Stories with Teeth in Them’
* a first edition hardback copy of Gordon Lish's Dear Mr. Capote from Chris Higgs

Mel Bosworth, ‘Stump Grinder’
* issues 2 & 3 of Ghost Factory Magazine, c/o David Peak

James Chapman, ‘Rat’
* a copy of Justin Sirois's brand new MLKNG SCKLS donated by Publishing Genius

Mark Doten, ‘Gray Zone Kidz’
* issue 3 of Pank, c/o R. Gay

Sasha Fletcher, ‘we are going to get paid and then we will dress for the weather’
* a copy of Kathryn Regina's 'i am in the air right now' from Greying Ghost Press

Drew Kalbach, ‘Scraps from My Bathroom Stall’
* a copy of Jimmy Chen's 'Typewriter' from Magic Helicopter Press, donated by Josh Maday
* a copy of the debut issue of Gigantic
* Subtropics 7 from Anthony Luebbert & UF

Darby Larson, ‘Digestable Moose Kidney Sculpture Garden’
* a copy of the debut issue of Dewclaw, from Evelyn Hampton
* 5 random journals from Lily Hoang
* a first edition signed copy of William Gay's Twilight, a signed copy of Craig Clevenger's The Contortionist's Handbook, and a galley of the forthcoming novel Johnny Future by Steve Abee, all from MacAdam / Cage

Ben Segal, 'Jelly Bodies'
* a new copy of the new double issue of Sonora Review 55/56 (with DFW memorial section), donated by Brad Green

Christian TeBordo, ‘Rules and Regulations’
* a copy of Fox Force 5 chapbook anthology (forthcoming from Paper Hero Press), donated by pr

All finalists will also get a copy of John Madera's Mother Flux's CD Divine Day Formula

The winning piece should be up by Friday, and other entries from the contest forthcoming thereafter. Thanks again to all.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

13 Jun 02:15:50 PM why there is a shape of hill on vegiana

The man who lives alone next to my parents has been putting up this sign on the front of his house for a week or so at a time every other month, when he feels it:

Some days before they stopped letting him have his kids but while he was under review this guy would have pool parties at his house and would rent a PA and play music and then talk on the microphone between songs to the kids, saying very constrained polite and fun things. He organized them to eat popsicles together and had contests in the water. The PA was very clearly meant so the neighborhood would know what a good dad he is, which made the hearing of the children sounds and music with his talking to them very uncomfortable even if on its face it sounded OK.

As for whatever else happened I don't know.

The always wonderful Amelia Gray reviewed EVER on her blog. An excerpt: "The deal with this book is that it offers a puzzle like The Exquisite but instead of dissecting reality, it dissects surreality as it wobbles in a frame of reality, which essentially turns you on your ass and shoves a prism up there. Needless to say, I recommend reading EVER in the bathtub."

Thanks Amelia!

The also always wonderful Pratha Lor also wrote up EVER on his blog, concentrating mostly on the musical aspects of the work, really nice: "Butler' work is episodic, presenting a paradoxical landscape to explore that is both physically constricted, yet mentally elusive--requiring much more unravelling and sensing on the part of the reader."

Thanks Prathna!

My 6th post on Brian Evenson's Fugue State is on the illustrated 'Dread,' and has been guest posted at Ghost Island.

Thanks Ben!

Sorry I got out of order on those. The 7th story in Fugue State is still here.

Belong is an excellent band.

The Tyrant just took a story that I think is the best thing I've ever written, 5000 words about a mother destroying her child. It had been rejected quite a bit, I



I want to think out loud about ideas dictating sentences in fiction vs. sentences dictating ideas but I'm a little hungover. Some other time then.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lamination Colony This is not not a Contest Winner

The winner of the Lamination Colony This is not not a Contest contest is

'A cardiovasc' by Bobby Alter

Bobby is a 19 yr old from Portland. Congratulations to him.

Ultimately, though I could make arguments for each of the other finalists as a winner (and even several of the nonfinalists), Bobby's piece hit me on many different levels, in the way it uses language in a way I honestly don't think I've ever heard, and then continues to hybridize it and bring in further and further forms within that first form, twisting, all while maintaining a (often buried, but often very clear) narrative.

The piece kind of reminds me of if Joyce tried to rewrite Alice in Wonderland with the grandmother from David Lynch's 'The Grandmother' standing over his shoulder eating cookies while old James smokes pieces of cherry wood and scratches the welts on his legs that he got from rubbing too hard in his sleeptime and trying to wish his saliva into a hallucinogenic drug he could then sell for $ to children in the neighborhood for money to buy a camera with no lens that contains old film with pictures of true death and the inside of a child.

Seriously. And that's not even really close at all, if you can imagine. I'm sure you can.

I'd like to also denote

1st runner up as Darby Larson's '‘Digestable Moose Kidney Sculpture Garden’
2nd runner up as Drew Kalbach's ‘Scraps from My Bathroom Stall’

Anyhow, arrangement of prizes and publication schedules pending, as I am about to go eat and do a drinky, but likely things will be up and abroad by next week, I will detail them here.

I'd like to reiterate what a hard decision this was, and how truly thrilled and excited I am to have gotten so much really high quality writing to read and think about.

Thanks a lot everybody. We'll have to do this again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This is not not a Contest: Finalists

I have selected 10 finalists for the Lamination Colony This is not not a Contest contest.

A winner will be picked from among these finalists on Friday.

I gotta say, it was really really hard narrowing it down. There were more than 200 entires and such a small percentage of stuff that I was able to eliminate with a quick read, which usually cuts normal submissions by at least in half. My usual reading policy is, When I feel bored, I stop. Sometimes, if I feel the boredom might be random, I will give it a few lines to come back to me, but it rarely does. Excitement and interest is a huge indicator for me whether something is doing good and new at once, as even when the reading might be language-difficult, it still will either have that light, or it will not.

All that said, let me say: Thanks to everyone who sent, good god man, I almost feel bad not selecting a whole lot more as finalists, because there were was so much in there that got me going, and for that, this contest is already a success. Pretty much if you sent something, damn. I hate to have to be the decider.

For the selections, then, I read mostly blind for names, I did not read cover letters and tried to not look at the names when clicking on emails. Sometimes I did see but mostly I was able to read blind even though it was not 'scientific.' I marked each piece as No, OK, or Good. Then with the Goods I went back through and cut until I had the nine pieces that most excited me, and simultaneously seemed to be doing something new or at least interesting in both form and content, with language, images, and ways of communicating information. Straight stories, even though there were some good ones, just didn't feel right for this contest n whatnot.

Ok, I'm babbling, here are the 10 finalists, all of whom will get some sort of prize, though the lion's share will go to the winner, who will be announced (from among this group) on Friday.

** To be clear, I have not decided the winner, and the winner will be one of the finalists...


Bobby Alter, ‘A cardiovasc’
Andrew Borgstrom, ‘Stories with Teeth in Them’
Mel Bosworth, ‘Stump Grinder’

James Chapman, ‘Rat’

Mark Doten, ‘Gray Zone Kidz’

Sasha Fletcher, ‘we are going to get paid and then we will dress for the weather’

Drew Kalbach, ‘Scraps from My Bathroom Stall’

Darby Larson, ‘Digestable Moose Kidney Sculpture Garden’

Ben Segal, 'Jelly Bodies'
Christian TeBordo, ‘Rules and Regulations’

Thanks again to all for the support, the words, and the time. You're all tops in my book, for real.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Story by Story: Brian Evenson's Fugue State (5) 'Desire With Digressions'

(read part 4, guested on Corduroy Books blog, here)

Fifth in the order of stories in Evenson’s Fugue State is ‘Desire with Digressions,’ which originally appeared in Conjunctions.

What is odd about this story, even in the rungs of odd that come before it, and surely after, is how the language herein hangs uncentered around a center.

Though in a way, on its face, this story seems to have less palpably happen than any other Evenson story in any of his books that I can recall⎯I could not help but feel even in the midst of its seven pages, a central door, a hole, a black square. Through what is essentially the narration of a man moving in orbit from his home, for a very vaguely rendered reason dealing with the blanked face of a loved one, Evenson seems to have centered, in his uncentering, the unnamable space that delineates not only his work, but the work of the truly human macabre of everyday, its inexplicable lining.

“There is,” our narrator digresses, “in every event, whether lived or told, always a hold or a gap, often more than one. If we allow ourselves to get caught in it, we find it opening onto a void that, once we have slipped into it, we can never escape” (p. 50).

This is the terror space of the dream of Winky’s found in Mulholland Drive; the Shining’s elevator bursting with blood. It is the enormous fields of red or gray color in Mark Rothko’s painting. It is the silence millisecond blips in between certain chords or percussion of true black metal. The rooms where certain kinds of men have lived with their minds before performing certain acts on other bodies. Etc.

Or it is a just a room.

Here the narrator finds himself moving in “orbit” from the story’s center, his loved, moving in a series of locked spirals that he can not bring himself to exit, and that, eventually, in the reckoning of the concept of an actual hole he must find in his terrain, his mind simply drops out of its own awareness⎯a raw spot in the narration where we can not even be sure what happened there between.

The text embodies its hole; carries its hole; is its hole.

Around the hole its strange meat: what we read around that weird terror void, the flirtation of which is what truly burns the blood⎯as it is in texts of films or other that would try to name or have that whole contained within them held that ultimately, psychically and sublimely, fail.

Like the path leading to and from the house where ‘Desire with Digressions’ begins and ends, itself a mirror both looping the narration and reflecting the innards of the story, and the hole, back into itself⎯“…I walked up the dirt road and then up the gravel road and then down the paved road until…” (46) coupled against “…walked the rest of the way up the paved road, down the gravel road, down the road. The house looked just as I had left it…” (52).

Though there may be in Fugue State more distinctive rooms, more divisive in their aiming, I can not imagine that the direct spiritual reckoning of the body and unnamed face of terror here contained could be more fully wielded⎯but with Brian Evenson, I wouldn’t put it past him.

Preorder ‘Fugue State’ here.

Next up, the 6th story, 'Dread,' which I believe will be guest posted elsewhere, and then the 7th, which is already online, if you feel like skipping ahead, at Robot Melon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

please chew my face

What dis?


I dunno. You tell me. What dat?

Have now read 90% of all entries. I believe there are 10 finalists, a handful of additional considerations, and etc. Lots of really impressive, interesting, innovative work, it is going to be really hard I think to judge in finality. More info as this parses, but should have contest results by the end of the week. Check back.

Big ups to my man Matt Bell on Keyhole picking up his collection 'HOW THEY WERE FOUND' for release next year!!

Things are happening to people.

Seems like I can't concentrate more than 3-5 minutes without being interrupted in one of 50 different forms during the day. At night at least it is much more quiet but by then my brain is often gone.

New Robot Melon has lots of good new words, including another of my Brian Evenson 'Fugue State' reviews, this of 'Girls in Tents' which originally appeared in Conjunctions, and is so far the book's most calm, reflective, and yet somehow still ultimately tense sections.

Also has many friends and pleasures in enjoyment Iredell, Lovelace, Berghoef, Young, Smith, in good light. Thanks to Stephen Daniel Lewis for the make.

Dudes outside the window again. I am going to go lay in the street.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I went up north uh and got some holy

Derek White wrote one of the sentences in EVER.

If someone guesses correctly in one guess which sentence it is, I will send that person a custom made mix cd of musics for you to enjoy and a book that you will probably like or something.

The 4th post in my series of posts about every story in Brian Evenson's Fugue State is now up at Corduroy Books, a look at 'Mudder Tongue' which originally appeared in McSweeney's.

Filthy Gorgeous Things is a sexy website about being sexy, it has naked pictures on it, it published my brief essay in their new issue: The Female Body as Conduit: Fleshy Corridors in the World(s) of David Lynch.

'This is not not a Contest' received more than 100 entries, I have yet to count the final count. I have read about 15% of them so far. I have marked two of those for consideration as finalists. I will try to complete this and have results by the end of next week, hopefully.

I just ate refried beans off of a large, white, plastic mixing bowl spoon.

I am very tired I still haven't slept right in about 2 weeks now.

I only want to type short declarative sentences starting with the word I from now on.

Look, me reviewed Andrew Zornoza's 'Where I Stay' from Tarpaulin Sky Press.

Me think you should watch this cool documentary on the making of U.S. Maple's amazing ACRE THRILLS album (might wanna skip to 4:30, as the beginning is just jacking around). Al Johnson's vocal recording techniques make me want to rent a hotel room and sit on the nightstand. Go read dude's lyrics n whatnot. Google U.S. Maple lyrics. It's fun.


alidufopaisudfo8uyas0od8guya0s8duyfgo08ausy dfp08fu as80duf0 8aus08uf[0a8su0[f8uas0[89euf[0a9s8euf90 [uas0er9fua09seruf90aue0-9rfi8-9we8r-90e890r8

HTML Giant is all new fresh faced n sexy, check out Gene's skillz GIANT

Gene is the fuckin boss, don't you forget it.

Today is the last day to enter the Lamination Colony contest, entries not in by midnight eastern time will probably be not read. More details here

New Evenson Fugue State posts coming in a variety of places over the weekend

I watched the last half of Bergman's 'Persona' last night, I have never seen that movie all the way through, just bits. I felt weird in the head for relating to it for some reason

I liked the scene waiting for her to step on glass

I am going to step on glass

I am a dollar bill right now

right now

032940000000000000000000 0 0000000000000000000

Oh, to the guy who left me a voicemail at 3:55 am last night, i think he said his name was moshard, who was looking for 'vitamins,' and who seemed adamant he 'had that cash,' sorry dude, i was actually sleeping for once, I hope you got your vitamins from 'jamon' or whoever you thought you were calling, you sounded concerned

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"What I am fine means is please stop talking."

From the very kind John Domini, a Goodreads review of EVER that I couldn't help but repost:

"Blake Butler brings off sentences that at once estrange & seduce, their phrasing & pacing like some 21st-Century resurrection of the Middle English, constructed w/ an ear to assonance & buried rhymes. From the second page of EVER: "In the light my skin was see-through -- my veins an atlas spanned in tissue." Not much later, more pugnaciously: "Streams of night might gleam like glass. The dirt would swim with foam." Appreciation of this small, scary miracle depends on appreciation of such beveled gems, the bits & pieces of which it's composed. Myself, I might as well've been knocked from my horse on the road to Damascus, & what floored me is also a miracle of compression. EVER contains only occasional full pages of prose, indeed it features a central sequence on which there are no more than a few lines per page, & it has interstititial designs to boot, faint gray hints of Gorey, breaking up the novella still further. Yet I find gleanings of story enough to sustain me. EVER tracks a soiled Alice (unnamed, actually) through the looking-glass & way beyond, drawn on by a force she can't understand, & that may eventually destroy her. But first she travels through room after room of a phantasmagoric home. Sample: "The next room was made of wobble. Magnetic tape streaming from the rafters, bifurcating blonde split-ends. Cashed." (& the rest of the page runs blank... inviting meditation, perhaps?) Strange as EVER's house-tour is, though, it nonetheless recalls a classic turn of the mind, the psychological phenomenon sometimes called "the dream of rooms." Such dreams can occur at any age, but they're most common near the end of life, as a person revisits all the arenas of experience. Garcia Marquez makes brilliant use of this phenomenon, for instance, when he anticipates the death of Jose Arcadio Buendia in 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE. A more compatible figure for Butler's well-paced nightmare, however, would be Beckett's Malone, since if this girl too is dying, it's of some illness or wound she can never understand, in a place she can't say how she reached, & yet it's these very same gaps of self or soul that help her achieve a perverse assumption to heaven -- & the reader's along with her."

Couldn't ask for much more out of a review that that. Much appreciation to John.

Still waiting for his 'A Tomb on the Periphery,' which is currently on hold with Amazon due to ordering a quilting book for my mother that is still estimated 2-3 weeks. Grwouchadl.

Fair enough, though, as Evenson still has me by the throat (next few story reviews coming soon in a variety of places)

and just today in the mail got an ARC for Robert Lopez's 'Kamby Bolongo Mean River,' which I have been anticipating ever since Rob told me about the book in early 2008.

Already in the first few pages, too (which I could not abscond from peeking at immediately), Lopez has me cracking up and lit in the head. Can not wait.

More on all of these soon.

In the meantime, my review of Jeremy M. Davies's fantastic 'Rose Alley,' out right now from Counterpath Press, is in the new update of Bookslut.

Soon I am to explode.

The bags under my eyes from not having slept more than a couple hours a night in the past 2 weeks are now large enough that you could live inside them. Rent starts at $8.99 for three days. Holla.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Story by Story: Brian Evenson's 'Fugue State' (3) 'Mudder Tongue'

3rd in 'Fugue State' comes Evenson's 'Mudder Tongue,' which originally appeared in McSweeney's.

From the two word couplet of the title we're inculcated immediately into Evenson's strange knack of archaic-sounding language, such as that of his 'Altmann's Tongue' years, a title which, after the story is read, will become even more strange and resounding in a different way than it seems to at first glance: a great application of titling, taking it beyond.

'Mudder Tongue' is the first definite instance so far in 'Fugue State' of Evenson's extremely singular black humor, which in the context of this piece seems to work as a counterbalance to what is a man in a dire and ultimately confounding situation: his losing the ability to control his mouth. He finds himself, without will, beginning to insert uncommon words into normal speech, a condition that grows in extremity and discomfort as the story progresses.

Instead of milking this straight, though, Evenson of course continues to build the narrator's disarray in slightly increasing strokes, amplified mainly by his relationship with his daughter and her growing concern (and simultaneous lack of full understanding of) his condition.

It is the realm of many of Evenson's fictions to take a situation like this, that is inexplicable in nature, and to continue to build it in slow, tight loops of worsening. While here the event is comic, the overall effect is that of an increasingly narrowing field of vision from within the protagonist's head, though kept at bay, if in a strange way, by the distanced language (the use of third person limited), and the posture of the even tone, even in the face of such horror. Evenson's choices for words that the protagonist inserts over others work well to simultaneously milk that horror and relieve it, causing strange jerks of both humor at the slip ups, but increasing awareness that something here is going very wrong. His sentences are clean and forward moving, yet voiced in such a way to make the impending seem even more potentially eruptive: it is a pacing kind of silence, a build: and clearly, as with many things in life, it is the anticipation of the eruption, instead of the eruption itself, that is the truly pleasured and fevered form.

If anything, one major lesson that any author interested in the macabre could learn from Evenson is his immaculate restraint, his careful plodding and use of space and uncertainty, to counterbalance the sense of impending horror (which sometimes never even comes, or when it does, might come in glimpses, as we've seen in the first two stories here.) It is at once cold and warm, hard and soft, waking and awaking. In this way, using subtle, well conceived strokes of familiar unfamiliar over the usual horror traps of over-the-top or ridiculous (even in the presence of a conceit that is not, technically, familiar to most, if any, humans), the narration becomes claustrophobic as it opens up, instead of more raw, like a rope tightening around the neck.

The positioning of the protagonist in odd and uncomfortable situations among his body, among other bodies; his growing inability to make that body perform in reflection of how he wants: it all comes in a way that concentrates the laughter more on the shake of the body than the pleasure of it.

And it is Evenson's unique sense of humor, voiced and aimed in a terrain where the jokes are not jokesby themselves but also further amplification of the story's center, its condition, making them not anecdotal or amusing, like much of fictional humor can be, but further nodes, further fire: this is his great key. Getting a person to laugh in the midst of such discomfort is the sign of the real doors being opened, the right walls coming down. This is a worm that is going to feed.

The story's ending, which I will not allude to here for those how have not read it, is perhaps the ultimate example of that final door opening, leaving the reader stunned and off-balance at the same time, in a way completely unexpected. The last paragraph of this story is among my favorite of all last paragraphs in a story that I can recall.

In the context of the book, this story is so well placed, in that it opens on the recursive fear and inward paranoia of the first two stories, and turns them on their head, inflicting an even weirder, at once more comfortable (because you're laughing) and uncomfortable (because you're laughing) twist of the ideas at hand, setting up already that this book is not a 'collection of stories' by association alone, but clearly a reflection of a singular text, a body.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I have decided to try to take my Brian Evenson 'Fugue State' story-by-story series around the web a little, reviewing them in some other places such as lit blogs and/or journals, where interest accrues, to maximize spread. If anyone running a venue of such sort where this kind of post would be welcome is interested in letting me guest post about a story, please drop me a line.

Meanwhile, the debut issue of John Madera's The Chapbook Review is up, including two interviews between Chris Higgs and myself, each asking the other questions about our respective Publishing Genius chapbooks.

A ton of other chapbook related essayisms etc. make this site exciting and right and good, I think.

Over at EWN, Dan is using this month to talk about each piece in the new issue of Unsaid, with follow up questions with David McLendon about why the piece was selected for publication, what he likes about it, etc. Really wonderful already, and it's only day one.

The prizes for the Lamination Colony 'This is not not a Contest' have become just ridiculous, now definitively valued at more than $500, including cash. Entries will remain open until the end of the day this Friday, so get on it. Gracious thanks to the many many generous souls who agreed to send in prizes, I wish I could enter, I am almost afraid to open the submissions inbox for all the good.

On Friday night read Tina May Hall's All the Day's Sad Stories, really awesome and fun to read, you should buy it. The total package.

OK, going to go try to finish this story I've been working on for a couple months now, i don't know why, I'm really behind on a lot of stuff...

I want a shirt with a big pear on it, that's all.

Story by Story: Brian Evenson's 'Fugue State' (2) 'A Pursuit'

Spent a nice two day weekend driving to Florida and back, during which much of the time, in my silences, I found I could not stop thinking about 'Younger,' and its infections. My notes of ideas birthed in thinking about it fills a whole page I wrote while driving at high speed, or typing into text messages to myself. 'Fugue State,' one story in, is already the kind of book that reminds me why I love to read: not only for the pleasure of sentences and the stories themselves, but for what they stir out of me, light my mind.

The second story in Brian Evenson's 'Fugue State' is 'A Pursuit,' which previously appeared in Ninth Letter.

This story is one of the handful collected here that I had read before reading in the book itself, and yet in revisiting it, particularly as a story following the lead-off, 'Younger,' found it even more surly and disturbing in its pitch, as now that I knew the tale's outcome (which is surprisingly surprising in its relay, particularly for Evenson's work, and in its pointing).

In a story with such tension as this, in which, like his 'The Installation,' it easy to allow the pacing and weird folds of the story's mystery to overtake the sentences and the patterns of logic that herein are so strong, and so definitive to Evenson's tone: it almost demands an immediate reread to find the many loops and curlings that are hidden in the unfurl.

One of the things that Evenson is so amazing at, in these kinds of fictions where 'questionable' narrators are quite common, is that the voices he constructs are not only questionable, but also pleasing, almost pleading, in a way that you want to believe the narrator as if he is a person much like yourself (and therefore, of course, not so sick as all that, because you aren't sick are you?), and therefore become invested, and then in some way trapped, in siding with ill, left with some of the blood (what blood?) on your hands as well, beaming.

The effect, then, becomes not only that much more pervasive in the reader's mind, investing them, but also leaves those amazing holes and doors open for the pervading mind to continue to weave in the space the fiction creates, and again, as before, the spaces the fiction intentionally circles but does not enter. The doors are wide and dark and many here: reigned not only in the slowly locomoting force of the main narration, but the many asides of the narrator: his dreams, his delusions (are they delusions?), and in this story in particular, scenes which could be exploited as incrimination, but instead are left, nearly literally, with the blood on the hands.

I think it's important here to note Evenson's odd mix of high (a mash up of the discursive and suddenly creepy texts of Thomas Bernhard and Robbe-Grillet) and the supposed low (detective pulp novels, Hitchcock-isms, noir), which in their combination are often a great part of what makes Evenson's work so singular, and so simultanesouly disorienting and powerful. This mash of style is particularly rampant in 'A Pursuit,' mixing French jargon and bluntly familiar and defamiliar coins like 'multitude of irrititations' and 'trinity of ex-wives,' and at the same time pushing the meat of the story forward with indirect and quite abstract chains of thought, (i.e. 'Days shaded into weeks at some point, but I could not say when.') here delivered by a narrator, which in weaker hands could amount to rattling on.

In Evenson's, though, as always, the layering of odd phraseologies against the common, the slow and subtle build up of memory-dirging musings on the behalf of a narrator becoming more and more lost inside himself, against the wall of the definitive puzzle image on which the story centers, and the endless circling of the narrator around it (literally driving his car in circles where the landscape seems to shift, as does his pursuer): all of it utilizes to its maximal point the effect of latent energy, the intoned, the non-consummation of countless doors inside a puzzle where you are just as sunk in the narrator as he is in himself, and so on, to the point that the whir of the story's lines themselves are just the doorjamb, the precursor, to the real meat of the eating, left to stay at large, which is yet another reason Evenson's texts and situations end up seated so hard in my mind and in my head (both, two).

I would be lax to not mention also the way this story, coming out of the immediately prior 'Younger,' sets up a kind of amazing parallel of mental strobing. Interesting again to see the central image of the story in both cases a thing only mentioned, and then intentionally skirted by the narrator, using that massive blip in the rug to act not as a plot crux, but as a dark needle in a whole suit made of such needles. More...

See also my selected sentence from this story at my post on htmlgiant

Next up, the third track, 'Mudder Tongue.'