Wednesday, September 30, 2009

claim matter-of-factly to have asked a dream question.

Over the weekend I saw Sunn o))) at a refurbished church basement in the ghetto, I have never been a super huge fan of Sunn on record (though their latest album is kind of amazing), as it seems for noise music there is something lost in the recording, thus going to see them live was the perfect way to absorb.

They played for 2 hours straight at the loudest volume I have ever experienced in a smallish room, it was so loud that my whole body was shaking and in the way the chords would vibrate as they rang out it would flutter my shirt and pants, if I put a hand against my chest I could really feel my sternum shaking. I went unearplugged though they were selling them at the door.

Over two hours the sound was drummed and shrieked so hard into me that when they would pause and at the end the whole body still went on gumming, it was as if I had been put through some kind of masher or a tunnel. An amazing sensation that I have never felt elsewhere. Their robes and lifting arms up to the ceiling with the chords vibrating at first seemed silly but by the end I was knowing exactly.

Also during this Attila from Mayhem came out and did vocals over most of the set, he held the microphone out before him like in worship, and played with it in such ways for about 5 minutes before he even spoke, his voice would shift from deep and large to the most pressure-cooked vocal garble I have ever heard, to strange backward speaking and prophecy. At some point he went backstage and came back out wearing a cloak of mirrors, he took his knees and donned a crown of mirrors, then lasers literally shot out of his hands and he would hold them tightly in his face and then spray them into the mirrors and refract, or hold the beams to shoot across the room.

All in all, amazing as performance, and if you have a chance to see them, do it.

Obviously you can't capture sonics like this on tape, much less video, but the sound here is actually OK (unfortunately it does not feature Attila).

Matt Bell kindly wrote about his experience during the remix project, which is still available free for download from featherproof.

In other great news, the 30 Under 30 anthology that I coedited with Lily Hoang has been accepted for publication by Starcherone Books in Spring 2011. Really excited about that, it is packed with some really incredible new work. More on that soon.

Equally excited about ML Press rereleasing their first year of chapbooks all together as a single volume, including my 'In the Rape Year of the Ghetto Toddler the Houses Will Awaken' and a ridiculous count of others.

Heavy at work on my insomnia book. It is coming out like like.

Things good.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Scrotal Cash: the Scorch Atlas remix ebook

The results of the Scorch Atlas Remix Contest is now live and arrived, had a ton of crazy awesome shit come through, and here are the fruits of that freak labor:

a 150 pp ebook full of Scorch Atlas remixes by a crazy slew of folks, including: Brian Evenson, Matt Bell, Elizabeth Ellen, Chris Higgs (who remixed the whole book by erasure), Matthew Simmons, Marcus Whale, J.A. Tyler, Catherine Lacey, Andrew Borgstrom, John Madera, and Jon Cone.

Thanks to all of those others who entered, it was seriously hard to judge, and amazing to see the string of insane results that came through. Watching people take words and remake them and chew them up and spit up new spit up is exciting. Bird peoples. Let's make more.

Out of the all the contest entry submissions, I chose Krammer Abrahams's 'Remix' as the winner of them all: dude took the 1200ish word story and made new sentences for each sentence, then wrote paragraphs appending, a total of 10,000 words in total, each line cut from some fucked language limestone I have yet to see most anywhere at all. I seriously could not believe what I was reading, and how hard I laughed. It is better than the original, that's a promise. Take the time to lick and imbibe, free (or for a small donation to F-proof, if you dig)!

Download Scrotal Cash here.

Also please note that you can enter two win one of two free copies of Scorch Atlas in the post below this one,

and you can buy the book here.

Scorch Atlas Contest

The always very kind Jereme Dean has purchased a few copies of Scorch Atlas for me to give away. These, if you wish, will come as damaged copies like from the preorder period, bloody or waterlogged or otherwise chunked to bits (but readable), which are now no longer available anywhere but here.

So, two copies to give away (a third copy will be given away later this or next week on my blog), and entry is simple:

Name the book you would most like to see beaten into shit and destroyed for all of time, and briefly why.

If you don't ever wish a book would be destroyed because you are not that kind of person, tell me why you are not that kind of person.

Contest will run until Thursday morning when a winner will be picked (based on which answers I like the most), copies will be trashed, and mailed.

Thanks again to Jereme for the support and the fun.

** PS: In the latest edition of the Ninth Letter podcast, a reading of 'The Gown from Mother's Stomach' spoken by Jennifer Bradford.

*** PPS: The SA remix ebook is very very nearly done and should go live any day now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Thanks to everyone again for the kind words about things. Feels nice. Humbling, and I am grateful.

For those that have asked, the nonfiction book is not my book of lists, but a new manuscript that is currently in progress, which will be about insomnia and obsession. Getting along, underway.

Feels like there's more I could/should say about all that but maybe I'll just hush for now. Maybe I should lay out how the whole thing went down, which seems a very unconventional method of a book deal happening. I don't know. Maybe later.

The Faster Times reprinted a conversation between me and Michael Kimball about acoustics and language. It's probably my favorite craft talking I've gotten into. It originally appeared in Unsaid 4.

Tobias Carroll followed up on his profile of Scorch Atlas by posting the full text of his interview with me at the Scowl.

Barrelhouse asked me and a bunch of other people about favorite Patrick Swayze movies.

I ate some more pages of Scorch Atlas but the video came out really dark, I wish I had Final Cut still so I could put a bunch of them together in hyperspeed, iMovie really sucks.

You can review or say small things or post segments from already existing words you've blogged etc. about Scorch Atlas on Amazon, I'd really love you if you did, things like that seem to help.

You might also review Young Jeezy's 102.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Harper Perennial

It's been in the making for a while and is official as of today: I've signed a two book deal with Harper Perennial, for a novel and a book of nonfiction. Crazy and exciting for me in many ways, most of all in having a book as crazy as the novel that has been bought is to be considered in the big houses. It seems a sign of good times, I think.

Massive thanks to Cal Morgan, my editor at HP, and to Carrie Kania, the boss, for not only stepping up to a wild book, but for really working to make HP something else. I could not be more excited to work with such minds.

As well thanks to Bill Clegg, who has recently signed on as my agent, for negotiating the deal, and being amazing.

Also thanks to Dennis Cooper, Tony O'Neill, Justin Taylor, Shane Jones, and Ken Baumann for keeping me clued in and glued up and halfway sane in the proceeding. Seriously. Feels insane.

More on this perhaps later, but right now I'm going to go walk around the block.


Tobias Carroll posted a very awesome article on Scorch Atlas at Flavorwire: "Butler’s decaying worlds resemble the vistas of Steve Erickson in their dreamlike logic and those of J.G. Ballard in their sense of the subconscious eroding restraints mental and physical."

Cari Luna also weighs in at From Utopia: "My god... this book."

The remainder of the tour was excellent and awesome, thanks again to everyone who helped out and came out, it was refreshing and relaxing and this time I did not gain 10 pounds from beer, which is good.

Here's a shot from Baltimore, where thereafter I took down the poker prize of cash and a metal eagle:

Last night watched Philipe Grandieux's Sombre, some of the best static shots and filmwork I've seen in a while, if still a serial killer story, and often quite so lauding of Lynch you could meld the two, which I will take as a good thing, need to watch more of this guy's stuff. The opening driving scenes cut with the children howling in a theater will stay with me for a long time.

Fun, grody.

Now time to start peeling some of this backup work off my neck.

Some exciting news very soon.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


My write up of the 16th story in Brian Evenson's Fugue State 'Alfons Kuylers' is up now at Conversational Reading. Thanks Scott!

Today while in Providence got to go by and read for Brian's Writers on Writing class at Brown with Rob, we both read and answered questions, it was an honor and a blast. Brown seems really good. Sushi and beer was really good. Brian is too kind. Joanna Howard is really excellent also. Excited for her new book On The Winding Stair, which just came out from BOA.

Having a really killer time on the book trip so far with Sam and Rob, laid back and fun and many excellent people coming out, I feel happy. Things are good.

I feel happy. Things are good.

Last night in the lobby of this hotel in Providence a guy approached the front desk while I was on this public computer and told the desk clerk that everybody he walks by on the street has been making stabbing motions with their hand at him. He did not want to go home as he thought there were people there trying to get inside and hurt him. He was Irish and here at Brown studying engineering. The police were called. He was afraid of the police too, told them he was afraid they were going to try to stab him, the cop said something like "The only thing I have that I could stab you with is my keys and I don't want to get blood on them." They talked to the guy for 45 minutes trying to figure out what was wrong, he was sober and not on drugs, they called his father in Ireland, asked him if he was lonely or homesick, he kept nodding at me and saying again that he thought people wanted to stab him and that he just wanted to go to "the safest place." Then I had to go outside and the firemen came and more police came and an ambulance came and they walked the guy out and he got in the ambulance quietly and they drove off.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Scorch Atlas Tour | Reviews | Dog n Cat

More Scorch Atlas hype

Reviewed in the Boston Phoenix by Nina Maclaughlin: "Scorch Atlas doesn't make its point with narrative arc or character development or paragraphs or even the lovely, terrible sentences. Instead, it's the heaping of words — mauled bubbled clods knotted clogged rot foam mold growth cragged bugged curdle boils lumps ooze gunk stung and on and on — that press on you, as if you were being buried, drowned, dissolved, as if you were about to swallow your tongue."

Review at Pank by Roxane Gay: "Scorch Atlas is a fine example of experiment with purpose (writers, take note!), of world building, of decadent, detailed and innovative writing. This is a book that should be read, and widely." + "...if ever there was an argument for the importance of the book as a physical object, that argument would be Scorch Atlas."

Tweeted by @LairdHunt: Just got my copy of Scorch Atlas -- nicely "destroyed" by the author. A few pieces in. Both delirious and controlled. Highly recommend.

Profiled @ Three Guys One Book

Leaving tomorrow morning for reading dates with Robert Lopez and Samuel Ligon, please come out if you are around, would be rad:

9/12: Brooklyn, NY @ Barbes @ 6 PM
9/14: Portsmouth, NH @ River Run Books @ 7 PM
9/15: South Deerfield, MA @ Schoen Books @ 8 PM
9/16: Boston, MA @ Brookline Booksmith @ 7 PM
9/17: Providence, RI @ Myopic Books @ 7 PM
9/18: Clinton, NJ @ Clinton Bookshop @ 630 PM
9/19: Baltimore, MD @ 510 Series @ 5 PM
9/20: Philly, PA @ The Dive Bar @ 8 PM


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Scorch Atlas eats streets today

Today is the official release date of Scorch Atlas, and no better way to kick it off than a glowing review from Time Out New York's Kimberly King Parsons, who writes: "The extreme subject matter and obsessively rendered syntax will evoke comparisons to writers like Brian Evenson and Gary Lutz, but Butler is an original force who is fearless with form."

Also glowing words from the ever awesome Matt Bell at his blog: "Butler excels at forcing the familiar through the a sieve of strange until it is stripped clean of its everyday banality, until it is once again made so fresh you can smell the decay it contains, until you can taste the despair that threatens to destroy not just his characters but also the dangerous worlds they inhabit."

Two kind and killer reviews, both for which I am quite grateful.

Things feel nice. Blessings and blessings. Graciousness from eyes.

Did I mention how amazing Sean Kilpatrick is? His novel excerpts at Spork are black fucking teeth. What the fuck.

Pleasures. Mud.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Today is the last day you can get a limited edition hand-damaged copy of Scorch Atlas direct from Featherproof. All copies after today will be normal and clean and kind. Except for if you bite them.

John Domini wrote an incredible piece about Ever and Matt Bell's The Collectors, up now at Bookslut: "Appreciation of Butler's small, scary miracle requires appreciation of such beveled prose gems, the majority of which appear between brackets. It's as if everything were a whispered aside, the bits and pieces of former lives picked out of a whirlwind."

Thanks John!

Saw Thirst yesterday. It was great, if not quite what I'd expected. I was glad it was not what I expected. Some of the best scenes in a film I've seen in a while: the two main characters sucking blood out of each other's hand and foot in a loop; burping up blood onto a recorder; apartment painted white with people screaming; weird sex; boils, stabbing, hallucinations; the end images. So much. See this. It is wonderful to have a director putting the grotesque onto film, of course it always has to be the Koreans or the Japanese.

Something happened. More soon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chong Li eensanend

Just ran 4.1 miles while watching the climax scenes of Bloodsport, from the friend getting injured by Chong Li, to Frank Dux's fight with Chong Li where he is blinded and must fight using his senses and training, something about that film came over me with great power and I could not stop smiling, I almost clapped standing paused on the treadmill in the gym alone when he forced Chong Li to verbally concede though I have seen that film at least 11 times.

I feel bananas.

Caused and enjoyed this discussion on difficult texts today at HTMLGiant, felt weird, expected maybe 10 comments.

I am going to humor people and trying reading 2666 but from the sections of Bolano I have read I feel certain he is merely well marketed average writing and were he not a young death he would not be receiving this treatment. Sorry. Maybe I will eat my words on that on further reading but I remain skeptical to the nth, and not for not having approached with an open mind.

If someone wants to lend me their copy ok.

I really want that new Nicholson Baker novel, dang. If somebody has a galley of that I will trade you for it.

2 new badass titles from Ellipsis Press, just bought both, mmm deliciouses.

Hopefully going to see Thirst this weekend, excited for it. Previews look stellar.

Time to eat american gelato, which is not italian gelato, but is gelato.

I feel bananas, and this is bananas gelato.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Scrud formt

Birkensnake 2 is out now, in print and online, with a slew of rad new work from Joyelle McSweeney, Evelyn Hampton, Danielle Dutton, Michael Stewart, several others. The issue is both available free to read online and in print handmade for $4. They do a wonderful job with the object, for the price it can't be beat. Plus I hear the covers were burned with a blowtorch, for real.

My story, a newer thing called 'From now on all I'll talk about is light' is readable here.

You can read the whole issue here

It is part of the Glyph Atlas story collection I am thinking about thinking about aligning in the next 1-3 years.

Scorch Atlas preorders are shipping this week from Featherproof, and are in Barnes and Noble and Borders all over, as well as indie stores and the like.

Until the official release day of 9/9 you will be able to get the hand destroyed copies from Featherproof if you order there. These objects will not be available after that day, so order now if you want. Plus it's only $10 from there, while list price is $14.95. Yar.

I ate page three of the book the other night but the shot is really dark and I burp a whole lot through it because I am drinking Diet Dr. Pepper, I may upload it later. Eating will continue. And you too.

The Scorch Atlas remix book is almost done, we have a winner, we have several selections to be printed, should email this week and let those know they've been selected, etc. The eBook is gorgeous and has some crazies in it.

About 50000 words into a new novel, I think it's going to be at least double that when I am finished, I feel like dying mostly

I have a

I don't know what I'm talking about much.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Note from somewhere to someone

The next evening when I returned home I found our vessel’s walls had blanched slightly whiter through the daylight, and while I was away you’d let your body into public pools where sun would kiss you and make you warm.

The present idea that you would look more yourself with the hair cut up around your ears, the shorn ends that much closer to your brain.

While with the stored light still coming off you in our blanched home we this time left through doors at separate ends, turning to look again at one another slowly, and smiling, and with the intent that tonight we would be apart but not forget.

And where at a spot among those noise-sunk houses, I found you in again a different form, among a group of people I had also surely known once but could not herein recall. Their faces far-off surfaces even in nearing, where along a slope of mud between the houses we gathered on cracking concrete to watch the speeding cars, come hurtling in their fury from some nearby ruptured and unrestricted interstate. The cars, they flew off the mud gorge one by one, each one behind the other not seeing the one there just before them flying off again into a cup of nowhere even you (vague in that body) or I or all our others could not see or know or name.

Each car with its windows steamed up. We watched them go and smiled.

Here, though I did not think about the man with black teeth, I know he must have been nearby. Perhaps in one of the many cars decompiling, or the mouth from which the cars or mud had come.

Perhaps inside the body of one of those I thought I’d known then, as I never took the time to check their eyes.

And when David came to stand beside us I saw he carried his guitar, a silver stringed thing with blonde body that he had learned to play by holding up upon the air. With his eyes he made the strings sing, the instrument stiff-armed out before him as a shield.

The song was something even then I knew I would not remember when we left, though in its touching of my body, through my ear coils, I could feel the water in me gunned, the cars passing David often in the mud by inches and his arms still straight out above his head.

I believe Peter was there in his long hair and his slow grin, though you have not met Peter and by then you (the you worn in me) were not part of the crowd there I recall.

You through your own door perhaps with your own me or in another mind in full.

That would be the only section of the evening I’d hold in me when again I went to leave the house.

Where in the day the days last less long every hour we are alive.

Finding my body often wanting for the feeling of the mud room, to remember the sound from the guitar⎯but from here not remembering how I’d found my way there, and wondering what had while I was gone become of you, though when I saw you next, for just a second, in another building, I did not think to ask.