The blog of author Dennis Cooper

4 books I read recently & loved: Constance DeJong Modern Love, Eugene Lim Dear Cyborgs, Rosamond S. King Rock | Salt | Stone, Scott McClanahan The Sarah Book



Jennifer Krasinski Modern Love is a novel and a performance as well. How did it happen that you began thinking of literary text as performance, as distinct from a work of theater or giving a straightforward reading?

Constance DeJong I’ve always been strongly engaged with language as a time-based medium. In the writing, that meant an attention to velocity, rhythm, pacing, conspicuous composition and structuring—and eventually, sonority. I was preparing for my first reading—what I ended up calling a performance—and while I was rehearsing in my kitchen, I discovered that I wasn’t looking at the pages any longer, that I could speak the text. That was a kind of epiphany because of my interest in time—in real time. I didn’t want the page to be the past, and the viewer to be the present. I was interested in this area in which language could be embodied and seem to construct itself in real time. So your experience of the text—you being the audience—is in real time. It’s becoming, unfurling, unfolding, which makes it not a reading, but a performance. And from then on, I thought differently about what performance is.

JK Where did your ideas about language and time come from?

CDJ Initially, the Surrealist writers, the Dada writers, and other people of language who didn’t address writing as a terrain of literature with conventions for one to occupy. Someone like Cocteau who embraced hybridity, unfixed to one medium or form. Gertrude Stein, of course, for whom language was a material, among other things. Marguerite Duras and Nathalie Sarraute, and Robbe-Grillet and Le Nouveau Roman.

JK Did you initially conceive of yourself as a novelist? Or a writer? Was there a particular literary space you were trying to inhabit?

CDJ I wasn’t concerned with fitting comfortably into a space. If there was any desperation, it was trying to find the work—trying not to be a second-tier Gertrude Stein. In the ’70s and ’80s, I was living and working in New York within a particular artistic community that was quite porous. There were filmmakers and choreographers and musicians and visual artists of very different stripes, who gave me a perspective on form-making, which is different than fulfilling a convention… short story, novel, maybe novella, the three prose conventions.

JK You didn’t feel stuck out in the margins.

CDJ No, I didn’t. There was a lot of exploratory work going on. Ideas were everywhere, and in very different forms. I was fairly young and in this community, there was almost something we could call a zeitgeist, which inhabited me. There was a certain urgency having to do with women’s self-determination, equal rights, and seizing agency to contribute a voice into the public. I had that urgency.

JK So it was the urgency to have a kind of presence?

CDJ To have multiple presences: for writing, for literature, for language-based forms. That sounds very grand, but as a woman one experiences the oppression of paradigms from multiple arenas and sources. One that mattered to me—that still matters to me—is the oppressive paradigm of women in literature, which fueled some of the thematics of Modern Love. We were relegated to Chick Lit, romance novels, our subjects were love and motherhood and other sexually-defined things. Modern Love mocks that, to some degree. It pushes back.


Constance DeJong Site
Video: ‘Science’, by Constance DeJong
Constance DeJong interviewed @ BOMB
The Complete Works of Constance De Jong (in Five Volumes)
Buy ‘Modern Love’


Constance DeJong Modern Love
Ugly Duckling Presse

‘Constance DeJong’s long-neglected, late-1970s novel, Modern Love, is one thing made up of many: It’s science-fiction. It’s a detective story. It is a historical episode in the time of the Armada and the dislocation of Sephardic Jews from Spain to an eventual location in New York’s lower east side. It is a first person narrator’s story; Charlotte’s story; and Roderigo’s; and Fifi Corday’s. It is a 150 year old story about Oregon and the story of a house in Oregon. Modern Love’s continuity is made of flow and motion, like an experience, it accumulates, as you read, at that moment, through successive moments, right to the end.

‘An important figure of downtown New York’s performance art and burgeoning media art scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, DeJong designed Modern Love herself and published it with help from Dorothea Tanning on the short-lived Standard Editions imprint. Critically acclaimed in its time, Modern Love is now back in print exactly 40 years since its original publication.’ — UDP



I hear talk of a new world Everywhere I go:
eco-paleo-psycho-electro-cosmo talk. Of course,
men do all the talking. I don’t get the mes-
sage, my ears ache; my eyes are falling out,
I don’t see these street talkers as the mak-
ers of a new world. Anyway, they’re not
real losers. And the new world’s an old dream.

They said, “Wait till you’re 27 then you’ll be
sorry.” I’m 27. I’m not sorry.



Video: Constance DeJong reads from “Modern Love’ in 1978


Speaking of the River, Constance DeJong, 2000

Excerpt: ‘Satyagraha’ by Philip Glass / Constance DeJong

Tony Oursler “Caricature”, 2002, feat. performance by Constance DeJong.





‘I was a few pages from the end of Eugene Lim’s wondrous new novel, “Dear Cyborgs,” when I flipped back to the beginning and started again. I wasn’t motivated only by a desire to stay longer in Lim’s bizarre yet familiar universe, though that was part of it. I also wanted a better sense of where the story had taken me; it was impossible to imagine “Dear Cyborgs” finding any kind of resolution. The novel follows two young Asian-American boys growing up in a small town in Ohio. They are kindred outsiders who share a fascination with fantasy worlds, whether from comic books or from the far reaches of their own imaginations. They’re just on the cusp of their teens—a deeply impressionable time, when an unusually self-confident friend’s world view can easily become your own. “We were such outcasts that our isolation hardly pained us as we could barely consider an alternative,” Lim writes. “We journeyed through junior high on an entirely separate path from the others.”

‘It’s as though the narrator and his friend, Vu, the son of Vietnamese refugees, are physically present in the world, yet are beholden to an altogether different plane of possibility. They’re invisible—a theme that runs through a lot of Asian-American literature. And, at first, their story dwells inside this marginal space, a private friendship with its own shorthand and codes. But soon—and rather abruptly—“Dear Cyborgs” widens this sensation of noticing that which is hidden in plain sight. Paragraphs from a different story begin interrupting this Midwestern coming-of-age tale. From Asian-American adolescence, we zoom out to another world, where off-duty superheroes hang out at karaoke bars, swapping stories about performance art and their arch-nemesis—a terrorist whose demands include “single-payer universal health care, mandatory carbon caps, nuclear disarmament, paid yearlong parental leave, and a tax on all securities transactions.” Whether it’s meant to be the future or some parallel dimension, the concerns of these superheroes are very similar to ours.

‘Lim, who works as a librarian at Hunter College High School, is the author of “Fog & Car” and “The Strangers,” novels that flexed his fragmentary and quietly unnerving style. His writing is confident and tranquil; he has a knack for making everyday life seem strange—or, in the case of “Dear Cyborgs,” for making revolution seem like the most natural thing possible. His writing is transfixing from page to page, filled with digressive meditations on small talk and social protest, superheroes, terrorism, the art world, and the status of being marginal. A superhero shows up at a karaoke bar and launches into a four-page monologue about the co-optation of the avant-garde and the “immense, stealthy powers” of money. A supervillain spends an entire standoff talking about the Shanghainese meal she had after going down to Occupy Wall Street for the first time—“to be near a moment that would exist only briefly, so that we could embody the flicker of their protest, a protest that seemed dangerous, that seemed real.”’ — Hua Hsu, Th New Yorker


Eugene Lim Site
Eugene Lim is stranger than (science) fiction
Eugene Lim @ Twitter
Being in the Art World Sucks and Then You Die
Buy ‘Dear Cyborgs’


Eugene Lim Dear Cyborgs
FSG Originals

‘In a small Midwestern town, two Asian American boys bond over their outcast status and a mutual love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternative or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes ponder modern society during their time off. Between black-ops missions and rescuing hostages, they swap stories of artistic malaise and muse on the seemingly inescapable grip of market economics.

‘Gleefully toying with the conventions of the novel, Dear Cyborgs weaves together the story of a friendship’s dissolution with a provocative and timely meditation on protest. Through a series of linked monologues, a lively cast of characters explores narratives of resistance―protest art, eco-terrorists, Occupy squatters, pyromaniacal militants―and the extent to which any of these can truly withstand and influence the cold demands of contemporary capitalism. All the while, a mysterious cybernetic book of clairvoyance beckons, and trusted allies start to disappear.

‘Entwining comic-book villains with cultural critiques, Eugene Lim’s Dear Cyborgs is a fleet-footed literary exploration of power, friendship, and creativity. Ambitious and knowing, it combines detective pulps, subversive philosophy, and Hollywood chase scenes, unfolding like the composites and revelations of a dream.’ — FSGO



Origin Stories

This is in Ohio. We were eleven, twelve years old, and the teacher asked us to name the number of siblings we had. “One,” most said, or, “Two.” “Zero,” a few said. I said, “One.” Vu said, “Nine.”

I burst out laughing because I’d been over to Vu’s house a lot, had read comic books on his bed and kicked the soccer ball in his backyard, and had even eaten his mom’s grilled cheese sandwiches. I’d never once seen the rustle of a brother-like or sister-like figment, ever, and so thought he was mocking the teacher. But Mrs. Clyde just moved on and no one added anything else, and Vu didn’t make any adjustments to his claim.

When I asked him about this later, he just shrugged and said it was true, though he added, “Three are half.” I didn’t know how to pursue it and so let it drop and almost forgot about it entirely, except once in a while it would occur to me again and I would stop suddenly in the middle of something and say to myself, “Vu has nine invisible siblings.” And I did this years and years later, long after Vu had died, and even then I’d find myself out of nowhere thinking, “Somewhere in the world are Vu’s nine siblings, and I’ll never know them.”

* * *

(After doing it for some time, for years and decades, the habit of protest becomes something else, something apart from, almost irrelevant to, one’s initial desires. It becomes, to say it simply, a way of life. Or, to be more accurate if less simple: one’s initial ambitions regress into merely a way of living. Especially this is true if one is clever enough or lucky enough or cowardly enough—let’s just say lucky … Especially when one is lucky enough not to have been crushed. And—this is the important qualifier—it must also be said that the methods of protest one has chosen, if one after a time is not crushed, that these methods of protest must have been entirely pathetic.)

* * *

I met Vu in a dream. Or rather I met him during a time of my life so separated from what happened before and later that I think of it as a dream. Most people must feel that childhood is that way, scenes that are familiar but irretrievable, a hazy dream—but I think those years in Ohio are for me a bit further removed than is typical. I’ll try to explain.

My father was trained as an engineer, but he worked sporadically. He had a thin skin, was a binge drinker, and had a bad temper—a result of which was that he kept getting fired. And so the family kept moving. My memory of childhood therefore, before landing in that small town where I met Vu, is less a blur than a handful of orphaned film clips, too short and too few in number to add up to much. I remember only strange bits: the taste of dark chocolate in a neighbor’s Oldsmobile, pink lotion on a girl’s sunburn, a teacher’s stare marked with hatred, a cut to my finger with my mother’s razor. Bits with no story to them but my name.

And then at fifteen we moved again, to Chicago, and those small-town years got overwhelmed and momentarily erased by the seizures of adolescence and an immediate addiction to the convulsions of a city. And so, in this analysis, there is this bubble. An in-between time, eleven to fifteen, when I’m not quite a child and yet not an adult, where I now think, despite my feelings then of slow death through intricate paroxysms of boredom, I was nonetheless safe. And I knew I was safe, deep in my heart (perhaps crucially because I knew I didn’t matter, because we were invisible, insignificant outsiders).

And my focus during this time of boyhood was Vu, whom I worshipped in a way I think not uncommon in boys of that age. I obsessed without acknowledging it but nonetheless with an open and even heady kind of love.

* * *

He introduced me to comic books. This, not incidentally, was also an introduction to sex and therefore adulthood, because we would gaze intensely at these idealized images, these cartoons of adult men and women in various forms of wish fulfillment or wish embroidering, in swift balletic action that echoed and manifested and were the seeds of our own desires.

Here is one lesson that Vu taught me. It maybe doesn’t seem on the surface to be about comic books, but it is. At least if reading comic books was a sort of hedonistic, perhaps onanistic, act of defiance—and if one believes that such pursuits are coterminous with living. I’d gotten permission to spend the night at Vu’s house. We would watch TV and read comic books and listen to music and talk. His mom ordered us a pizza but other than that we didn’t see her. His father was never at home, and his mom kept to her room, so we had the run of their large and, from my point of view, deliciously shabby home. My own home, thanks to the rule of my father, in addition to the compulsions of my mother, was unforgiving in its order and cleanliness. It gleamed and was breathless and without beauty. So I first was shocked and then bewitched by the mess at the Nguyen home. (And shamefully misread its untidiness as entirely debauched, so once flung my pizza crust at the TV, which, to my confusion, appalled and enraged Vu.)

And in the mornings, when Vu woke up, instead of going directly to the bathroom or kitchen to do the various rituals required to begin the day, he would lazily pick through his comics and read one in bed. That was the revelation: that he could do this, that he was allowed to do it, that he had even conceived of it. It had, in other words, never occurred to me at the age of fourteen that the lounging, pajama-related activity one did in the evenings, after one’s so-called homework and chores were done, could be done first thing in the morning, at the very start of the day, or really—and the extrapolation was immediately clear—one could do it whenever one wanted!

I was made suddenly to realize—Vu and his home taught this to me—that we were more animal than routine.






‘Rosamund King, an accomplished scholar and performer, opens her formally daring verse debut with a version of “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean,” recasting it to address Afro-Caribbean diasporas, and starring Yoruba deities Eshu, Oshun, and Ogun. “My brawn it belongs to the Ogun/ my blood it flows into the sea/ the two meet inside a black body/ and whisper you fight to be free,” runs one of several verses before the newly meaningful call to “Bring/ Back.” It is representative of several defining elements of the book, among them a deep engagement with history and mythology, a sense of play, and formal techniques that require the reader to hear—not just read—the poem.

‘King teases out the tension between poem as print object and performance score, not only through the poems’ music, but also through unconventional uses of the page and typography, extreme lineation (“you/ no/ me/ no/ us/ yes/ we/ then/ who”), as well as through onomatopoeia, misspellings (“Her genus lies in the fat that her writing perfectualy invects the reeder in”), and the incorporation of other languages, including Wolof and several Caribbean vernaculars. King uses English while writing beyond and against the bounds of its conventions, and also to foreground the speaking, hearing body—and importantly, the black, queer, female body—as the site where language originates and lands.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘Rosamond S. King is a creative and critical writer, performer, and artist whose work is deeply informed by the many cultures and communities she is part of, by history, and by a sense of play. Her poetry has been published in more than two dozen journals and anthologies, and she has performed in theatres, museums, nightclubs, and traditional literary venues in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and throughout North America. She has also received numerous honors, including a Fulbright Award and fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson, Mellon and Ford Foundations, Poets House and the Franklin Furnace Fund. She is the author of the chapbook, At My Belly and My Back and the critical book, Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination, which won the 2015 Caribbean Studies Association Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Prize for the best book in Caribbean studies.’ — collaged


Rosamond S. King Site
Three poems by Rosamond S. King
‘Temporary Duty Yonder’, by Rosamond King
Rosamond S. King @ Vimeo
Buy ‘Rock | Salt | Stone’


Rosamond S. King Rock | Salt | Stone
Nightboat Books

Rock | Salt | Stone sprays life-preserving salt through the hard realities of rocks, stones, and rockstones used as anchors, game pieces, or weapons. The manuscript travels through Africa, the Caribbean, and the USA, including cultures and varieties of English from all of those places. The poems center the experience of the outsider, whether she is an immigrant, a woman, or queer. Sometimes direct, sometimes abstract, these poems engage different structures, forms, and experiences while addressing the sharp realities of family, sexuality, and immigration.

‘Nation language, language poetry, prose poems, spells, Caribbean nancy stories, queer issues, Rock|Salt|Stone, African (Yoruba) belief systems and ancestral memory all find a place in Rosamond S. King’s multiplicity of forms. The embodied quality of the poems and King’s willingness to confront the inherent difficulty of relationship with the Other, who is always us, grounds the work in a somatic poetics that demands the reader pay attention.’ — M. NourbSe Philip



Rosamond S. King: “supplicant”

Rosamond King 2

The Pink Elephant: Rosamond S. King on art + gentrification





‘James Baldwin once said, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” I would only add the name “Scott McClanahan” to the end of the quote.

‘There is plenty of pain and heartbreak in his new novel, The Sarah Book, the semi-biographical story of his marriage and divorce. But with McClanahan there is always more. So much more. It is why I love him. It is why I hope he never leaves me.

‘“These are my people. This is West Virginia,” he writes while living in his car in a Wal-Mart parking lot after Sarah kicks him out. “They were the people who the rest of the world didn’t want and they were the ones who didn’t belong anymore. They were the people with amputated arms and they were the people in wheelchairs and they were the people with face tattoos and scars. I was a scar too. I was a giant human scar.”

‘If you laid a ruler on a map of West Virginia and drew a line connecting the three small towns of Milton, Cheylan and Rainelle, the line would be perfectly straight and measure exactly one-hundred miles. If you drew it in red ink it would resemble a scar cutting across the belly of the state. In 2017, this is the heart of the new “Trump Country”. Unemployment, mental illness, depression, divorce rates and opioid addiction run rampant through the hills and hollows of the Kanawah River Valley (aka “Chemical Valley”) like a pack of loosed, rabid dogs. If you weren’t from there you’d feel grateful. You might think nothing good could ever come out of towns like those.

‘But you’d be wrong.

‘This is fertile ground. McClanahan would argue it’s holy ground. This is the land that he mines, digging stories out of the earth like shiny coal from the seam.

‘McClanahan has been quietly honing his writing chops for years. He is a fearlessly honest and inventive writer. Sometimes he is brutal. He writes as if he might be the illegitimate literary offspring produced from an accidental coupling of Flannery O’Connor and Harry Crews after a long night of bourbon drinking and something going awry during the birth.

‘McClanahan, whose previous books include Crapalachia and Hill William, writes stories with a strong sense of place. This place. They are stories about forgotten people living in forgotten places, about drug addicts and fast food joints and shirtless men riding bicycles down the road carrying running chainsaws in one hand. But McClanahan knows he is really writing about all of us, whether we know it or not. He is a master at stripping us down to our common humanity and forcing us to stare at it. Whether we like it or not.’ — Mike Murphy, 3:AM MAGAZINE


Scott McClanahan @ Twitter
A Tender Mercy: Scott McClanahan’s The Sarah Book
Excerpt from ‘The Sarah Book’
Holler Presents
Buy ‘The Sarah Book’


Scott McClanahan The Sarah Book
New York Tyrant

‘Scott McClanahan’s The Sarah Book is a furious exhalation of love and hurt and hate and tenderness and anger. This is a chronicle of a couple coming together and breaking apart. There is courage in these pages because so much of what McClanahan details is ugly and desperate and raw–everything, food, drink, love, heartbreak, to excess. The writing is so intimate you want to reach into the book to save this man from himself but you can’t. That impossibility is what makes this book so memorable, so powerful.’ — Roxane Gay

‘The romance and destruction of a marriage. I couldn’t put it down. Written with all the punches left in. McClanahan shows us the dents and scrapes and breakdowns of a man trying to be to a husband and father while at the same time sabotaging the very things he loves. Unnerving but remarkable.’ — Willy Vlautin

‘Scott McClanahan’s writing is so pure, honest and immediately engaging, it felt like I wasn’t just reading prose: it felt like I was reading the prose. THE SARAH BOOK is hilarious, unflinching and deeply sad. Its every chapter, every page, every observation an addictive delight. I read it in one sitting and days later am still stumbling around from its unexpected wallop.’ — Maria Semple



I told Sarah I was going to live at Walmart until she changed her mind about the divorce. After I lived there a week, I decided that she wasn’t going to change her mind. So each day I sat and watched the buggy boys gather up the buggies and take them inside. I watched the people with handicapped stickers pull all the way up and park in front. I decided to call Sarah and check up on the kids.

I told her, “Well, if you need me, you’ll know where to find me.” Then I shouted, “Oh, God!”

Sarah said, “What’s wrong?”

I told her, “Oh, don’t worry. I think I just saw the biggest woman I’ve ever seen going into Walmart. I wish you could see her. Hold on. I’ll try to take a picture.”

But Sarah said, “Yeah, Barbara said she saw you in the Walmart parking lot. She asked me why you were there. It’s embarrassing people seeing you there, Scott.” She told me she needed to give me something and I knew what she meant. She wanted to give me some money for an apartment.

I told her I wasn’t going to take any of her blood money and she told me I would. I told her I wouldn’t and she told me I would. I told her no. This is where I live now. She told me no you don’t. Then I tried reciting a love poem for her but she told me I was drunk.

“I don’t need her goddamn blood money,” I repeated after we hung up. “She’s not even romantic. Won’t even let me recite poems to her?”

Then I sat in my car and looked out at the parking lot and said, “These are my people. This is West Virginia.”

And they were. I watched the customers walking from their cars and into the store and when they came back to their cars their buggies were full of stuff. One buggy. Two buggies. Three buggies. Four.

They were shopping for groceries to take home and make their children grow. I sat in the car and drank my gin from a water bottle. Then when my bladder got full I went inside and peed. A white car pulled up at the end of the parking lot and just sat there. I decided to call the guy driving “Big Pimpin'” and when Big Pimpin’ parked it was always the same. He was a skinny-looking little white dude who had dreadlocks. He sat in the white car and then a few minutes later another car pulled up. A redneck-looking dude got out and walked over to the white car. I wondered if they ever tried reciting love poems to someone.

I watched the redneck dude lean inside the window. It looked like they were exchanging something and then the redneck dude got back in his car and drove away. Then Big Pimpin’ drove away. I waved at Big Pimpin’ but he didn’t wave back. It was OK. These were my people. But then just a few minutes later Big Pimpin’ pulled back up again. There was a girl inside the car with him now and she had dyed-looking blond hair and a skeleton face. They waited together and then a blue beat-up van pulled up. The meth-looking girl got out of the car. She was inside the van for about a half hour and then she got out and went back inside Big Pimpin’s car. She was trying to put her shoe back on. I sat and thought up my own review of Walmart I could post online. I watched them drive away and I wrote inside my head.

I highly recommend the Walmart parking lot for living in your car after a divorce. The cops don’t seem to bother you if you park close to the entrance. I did notice quite a bit of drug-related activity at all hours of the day. There is obviously some prostitution going on in the parking lot as well. Yay life. 4 stars.

That night I watched people leaving and the lights glowed from the parking lot. I went inside and used the bathroom. I looked at CDs for about a half hour and then I came back out and moved my car to the other side of the parking lot so the cops wouldn’t give me hell. I noticed a text from Sarah that said, “We need to talk about getting you some money so you can get an apartment.”

I wrote back, “I’m not taking anything. And how come you won’t let me recite love poems to you? Seriously.”

She never texted back. So I leaned my chair all of the way back and I put my jacket over my head and I slept. I dreamed about people going inside and buying all of the things that made up their lives. I dreamed about the whole world becoming just one big parking lot and we were all living there thinking about what we could buy. The next day I woke up and someone was knocking on the window. It was Sarah and she was wanting to give me some money for an apartment. I unlocked the car doors and she walked around to the passenger side. There were people going inside the store again and there were some kids playing.

Sarah sat down in the passenger seat and said, “We have to talk. You have to get out of here and let me give you some money.”

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and Sarah said, “Where do you go to the bathroom?” I pointed to the empty Gatorade bottle on the floor. And then I told her I went inside to use the bathroom a lot, too. I snuck my toothbrush in each morning and brushed my teeth in the sink. I said, “And then when I get bored I go in and play the video games they have set up in the electronics section. It really helps to pass the time.”

I told her that I loved going inside after midnight and watching all of the people of the world shop. They were the people who the rest of the world didn’t want and they were the ones who didn’t belong anymore. They were the people with amputated arms and they were the people in wheelchairs and they were the people with face tattoos and scars. I was a scar, too. I was a giant human scar. And then I felt serious and I said, “Walmart is more than a store. Walmart is a state of mind.”

We laughed and I started to rant.


Scott McClanahan: The Last Reading

Franklin Park Reading Series – Scott McClanahan

Matthew Sherling Interviews Scott McClanahan




p.s. Hey. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Ha ha, hopefully your regularity won’t seem unbelievable soon or starting now. Yes, it’s a very impressive and fantastic piece. You should be very proud of it. I sure would be if I had written it. I will apologize for this in advance, but the film screening yesterday was sufficiently confusing and dispiriting and even angering that I don’t feel able to talk about right now. I need to think more about it first. Long story short, we start working with the ‘professional’ editor on Monday. Fingers crossed about the tiny bookstore’s needs re: you. Wow, 15 people is a lot. Well, maybe that increased size will change the dynamic in an interesting way. How did it go? And how was your weekend in general? Hugs from me. ** Bernard, Hi, B. I don’t think legs were broken. Just hearts crushed, or just mine. Cool, well, tell Diarmiud I really want to see him. Week days from 9 am to 7 pm look as though they’ll be work hell-occupied, but evenings should work. We’ll make it work. I think I (and probably Zac too) be at ‘Jerk’ on Friday. ** David Ehrenstein, The reason why I am extremely wary of working with a ‘professional’ editor was only made extremely crystal clear yesterday. ** Steevee, Perhaps you can have him perform the segment of the monologue you need for the different shots plus a bit of it before and after to get his energy up and running. Well, obviously I’m going to tell you that you shouldn’t try to imagine in advance what people’s problems will be with your approach to a taboo because, one, you can’t know and will only end up fantasizing, and, two, because the only reason to do work involving a taboo is to challenge pre-conceived notions about it, and your personal experience is the best way to do that. ** Jamie, Hi, J! The screening did not go as I had hoped. Well, then completely enjoy Portugal starting today, which I’m completely certain you will. Ferragudo: I’ll go find some kind of image(s) of it. Sounds like a dreamy plan. Okay, yeah, it does sound like you guys can talk off with enough confidence that the flat will be yours. Good. You are coming to Paris! Fantastic! Yes, yes, we must definitely hook up! Pastries, yes, and, wow, a theme park visit sounds fantastic if you guys have the time and mood to. That’s really exciting news! Enjoy the sun and surf and printed text and everything else! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Thanks much for your words to liquoredgoat. The film screening has left me very rattled. I’ll say more sometime soon when I come to grips with it. Thank you for the good wishes. ** Tosh Berman, Hi. I feel nothing but dread about what we’re facing with the editor. But we will see. Thank you! ** Jonathan, Hi, man. Very good to see you! Very glad to hear you managed to get to work on new work. Ear music. Nice about those upcoming gigs. I’m going to try to see Moor Mother who’s playing here shortly, if I can. I got tickets for an amazing concert at Palais de Tokyo in September: Tim Hecker, GAS, Prurient, Midori Takada. Charlemagne Palestine is performing here tonight. I’m going to try to go if my mood improves. I have those Saroyan and Wylie books. I used to collect Telegraph Books. What a great project. I think I have almost all of them. I look forward to your mix! Everyone, the fine, fine artist (and d.l.) Jonathan Mayhew has made a summer mix-tape called ‘you can’t spell hopeless without hope’ for the Irish arts site Critical Bastards and you can and really should listen to it here. Miss you too. ** Liquoredgoat, Hi. Thanks a whole bunch again, man. Maddie Day survived. Would you like me to restore it? I hope you have a much deserved wunderbar weekend. ** Misanthrope, Hi. Babies don’t turn me into mush, and I don’t think it’s fun to hold them. I guess/know I’m weird. I think kids and babies are neutral about me. That’s how I interpret it. It’s hard to believe that someone could actually have that contact lens dream, but, as I often say, my dreams, when I remember them, just involve people trying to kill me, so my disbelief is clearly a failure of my imagination. Have a spectacular weekend! ** Okay. If you need or want something new to read, I recommend that you choose one or more of the books in this weekend’s post. See you on Monday.


  1. Sorry to hear about the screening, Dennis.

    The Coil show at Ludwig: it was last summer, actually when I was in Berlin. But I didn’t find out about it until I left. ARGH.

    The Magicum museum was a bit goofy, by the way.

    I was just going to ask you about the new Eugene Lim, great. And that Constance DeJong/Tony Oursler performance is a blast!


  2. Sorry about the screening, Dennis.

    I was wondering about the new Eugene Lim. It looks fantastic, will have to read it very soon — thank you! I also really look forward to Tony Duvert’s Atlantic Island, by the way. Did you read it? It looks like there’s a film based on the novel. (Not sure though.)

    The summer here goes deeper now. I’ve been enjoying it as much as I’ve keeping it quiet. Hope you had a fine weekend.

  3. A shame that “Professional” Editor has proven to be so unhelpful, Dennis. Go your own way.

  4. I was looking through the Eugene Lim book yesterday and was startled that a major publishing house released it.

    I’m sorry about whatever problems you had with the film. Conflicts with the producer about your rough cut, I’m guessing? Do you and Zac have the right to final cut?

    Several people tried to send me computer viruses overnight, one by sending official-looking E-mail from Amazon about CDs I ordered (of course, I hadn’t placed an order for them, thought someone had stolen my credit card, and clicked on the malware link.) I don’t think any permanent harm has been done to my computer.

  5. Dennis,

    I mean, if you want to restore it down the line somewhere I’d be tickled. I’ll do a redux post on her in like five years? Haha. She’s in a new movie that came out yesterday here in the States, but the critical consensus is that it’s a horribly written film, so that’s a bummer. The McClanahan book looks great. I’ll pick it up. Is it just me or does the cover resemble Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion album?

    P.S. I brought The Sluts with me to read while I’m in San Diego visiting family. I know it will be a great read.

  6. I think this shall pass, and things will work out for your film. It’s a hard road to make a film with a budget attached and dealing with others. I’m hopeful that all and everything will work out great. Maybe this is all part of the process. But then again, I think making cinema is very difficult. Stay true to your vision and just sail forward.

    And thanks for the book recommendations. I always look forward to this subject matter when it comes up in your posts.

  7. Dennis,

    Stand your ground and stay true to your vision, my friend.

    This dream belongs to you and Zac, not the ‘professional editor.’

    It will work out.

    Much love,

  8. Ugh. My heart sank. Well I’m not much of a psychic cause I felt like things would lighten up for you friday. I don’t have much experience with this kind of thing, but I don’t think it’s a matter of sticking to principles. There’s work to do, the next phase of the project, and you guys will just plug away to suit the circumstances to your own aims. Of course I and everyone else will be eager to hear how it proceeds.
    Art. It’ll Fuck you up if it gets the chance.

  9. Hi Dennis. Was in the netherlands for about seven days, there was a Robert mapplethorp retrospective in Rotterdam which was good enough excuse to visit the city. But in truth I Was anxious just to return to “base” in Belgium, the company i keep could not even get served a drink in amsterdam – theyr less tolerant of drunks it seems.

    Visited a former penal conoly today in belgium called “colonies of benovolence, ” which enforced feudalism on drifters and immigrants. The colony centered around the prison (still in use) where any of the workers were sent to for various misdeeds and misconduct, a common one being general laziness. They had these rows of up close up portraits of the drifters / “convicts” along with a general synopsis of their misdeeds. Genet would of loved it , maybe..

    Im not even sure i finished more than one book since your previous “Books I read recently” but always intrested in titles to add to my list. Good luck with the movies ? If u dont like the editor, hopefully you can replace him eventually.

  10. I think I’ve mentioned on here before that there was a brief period of my life (mainly senior year of high school and my first year of college) where I had aspirations of being a filmmaker. But then I decided that I was too introverted for that, and I’ve never been good with working with lots of people. Even as a writer, which is mostly a solitary art form, I feel things like working with publishers kind of a necessary (though irritating) evil. I imagine it must be even more frustrating with films where even more people are involved.

    I recently finished David Keenan’s “This Is Memorial Hospital” which I generally enjoyed. I’m almost done reading C.G. Jung’s “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” which is pretty mental: there’s a scene he describes when, as a teen, he experienced a vision of God seated on a throne in Heaven and unleashing an “enormous turd” (Jung’s actual term) onto a cathedral beneath him.

  11. Dóra Grőber

    June 18, 2017 at 4:34 pm


    I do hope that too. I’m cautious, very cautious with this statement but my connection seems to be okay for now.

    Thank you for these awesome book recommendations! ‘The Sarah Book’ is right at the top of my list and has been ever since it came out so I guess I’ll finally order it now. Constance DeJong’s Modern Love also looks thrilling!

    Thank you once again, about my piece too!!

    Oh god. I’m so sorry about the screening. I don’t want to push for details, obviously, I’m just so so sorry it didn’t turn out the way you hoped! With or without the “professionals”, you’ll be able to make your vision for the film come true, I’m certain of that!

    Well, yesterday was a joke. A not so funny one. The organization we work for could not get the keys for the room where we hold the group session (they rent it from another organization) but this whole story only turned out when everyone, including the participants and us, arrived. We tried to find another place but it was kind of an uphill battle (it’s not the kind of thing you just take to a pub or a place like that) so in the end the organization simply cancelled the whole thing and everyone went home. It was fucking embarrassing. Not to mention that I traveled more than two hours completely in vain. I wasn’t the happiest person alive but oh well, I guess. Apart from this, my weekend is quite relaxing and fun. I get to work on SCAB a lot.

    How was yours? What happened?

  12. Hi Dennis. Like always, I’m lurking every post but just don’t get the time to write at all. As the others have said and spoken, I’m sorry this producer wants to take things into his own way. Could never really understand that kind of shit. They know your name and what you do. I’d imagine if they knew better they’d let you and Zac have control over it knowing that’s what people truly want, not a castrated version of it all.

    I was in San Francisco recently (your least favorite city if I recall, right?) and stumbled upon one of their bookstores. I can’t remember the name, but I guess it’s one of the important beat poetry ones. One of the books you made a post for was in there (Writers Who Love Too Much) so I had to pick it up! Also picked up a Rimbaud collection finally, which I’ve been meaning to get for five or six years now. Good bookstore, beat poetry is cool and all, but for some reason I just can’t fucking stand Keaurcock or however you spell his name. It’s always weird when you finish a vacation, haven’t written in a while and then you try to swing right back into it. It would be nice to have my project done by the end of the summer. For now, I’ll read some stuff from that book.

    Take care. <3

  13. Hey Dennis – Been out of town on vacation in the outer banks of N.C. Extremely remote and restful, little internet, which was nice. Read Duras’ “L’Amant Anglaise” and the two Roger Lewinter books from New Directions, all wonderful.

    Catching up on the blog now and really sad to hear about the screening. Hoping the weekend and next week bring better news and keeps up the momentum you and Zac have created by assembling the initial cut.

    Always appreciate these book posts. The Eugene Lim and Scott McClanahan were both on my radar, but the other two are new to me and look intriguing. How different is the Lim from his last book or two? Or is it?

    Have you read ‘This Is Memorial Device’ by David Keenan yet? Friend here read it and liked it, though it was ultimately more conventional than he expected. I’m hoping to hunt it down.

    Been helping my friend refine the audio mixes for the songs we created from some of my lyrics. An interesting process seeing how much even small tweaks and edits can (re)shape the feel and impact. I understand now how musicians could spend months on the process.

  14. Dennis, I’m really digging the DeJong and McClanahan excerpts. Right now, I’m reading Will Self’s “Shark.” Seems he just came out with “Phone,” which is the end of his trilogy that started with “Umbrella.” Seems he’s gone about destroying postmodernism (which I like, btw) in three novels, whether intentionally or not, hahaha.

    Well, I’ve read your books, so it comes as no surprise to me that babies don’t turn you into mush and you don’t want to hold them. I’m joking.

    Like I said, I right like babies and kids all right, and for some reason, they like me and want me to hold them. “Mush” was a bit strong, I admit, and it’s also very cliche, which I hate. And really, I don’t like holding them until I am holding them and then I’m like, “This is pretty neat.”

    I was at a friend’s cancer fundraiser once, talking to another friend who was holding her 9-month-old son. Cute, bald little fucker. Out of the blue, he reaches out to me, wants me to hold him. He was a fun little kid. Surprised his mom too. At a baby shower thing last year, I had two kids I’d never met before just come right up to me and put their hands up for me to pick them up. Don’t ask me why.

    Maybe it’s my size or something and they feel like they’ll feel safe. Or maybe they know I’m a pushover and they’re tired and they’re like, “This dumb fucker will pick me up and hold me till I get my second wind.”

    When I was a substitute, the kindergarten and early elementary grades were the worst. All the kids wanted me to pick them up and hold them or they wanted to sit on my lap. I think a lot of that is because a lot of them didn’t have fathers, which made it all sad and shit.

    I’m suspicious of the contact lens dream too, but from the way the other hosts on the radio show reacted, it seemed that it was real and something they’d heard about a lot from her. She seemed sincere. But yeah, when you think of some of your own crazy dreams, you’re kind of like, “Okay, maybe…………” (I still doubt it.)

    If you get a chance, check out my FB. Kayla put up a quick vid of my mom, which might tell you a bit about her. It’s pretty funny.

    I’m thinking I’m going to the Arcade Fire show in DC on September 16. I’ll probably take Kayla and LPS. Her birthday is the day before, so it’ll serve as a nice bday present. LPS will like it. He just likes concerts in general.

    Okay, this screening. Get that bad vibe out of your being right now. You’ll fix it and it’ll be great. You’ve never put out a bad piece of Art in your life and you’re not about to now. Confidence, my friend, confidence.

  15. Hi Dennis, this is me Florian-Ayala Fauna, sincerely miss you a great amount, though I’ve very much appreciate the quiet support you have given me despite the contact issues.

    I went to NYC for a show at Knockdown Center, it was rather disappointing in some ways with the very low turnout and screw ups with the venue.

    I went around a number of galleries and talked about you a little at Envoy Enterprises. Knowing that Alex Rose is an artist there, it led me to consider it highly.

    I’m not sure how to bring up my email, as it is in the message system, but to say here it is:


    I have a new portfolio site with a CV at

    REALLY hope to hear back soon <3 xx

  16. Hi Dennis, very disheartening about the professional editor thing. I “tuned in” early Sat morning just to hear what you would say and sorry about that, but wishing you much luck with the way it turns out. I sort of expected something like this, but in the long run, I get the feeling that it’ll work out well.

    I’m grateful for this post in an odd sort of way. I hadn’t heard of FSG Originals, and it gives me hope, as Jonathan had asked to see my next novel a while back, so I recently sent it to him, not knowing whether it would be deleted or actually considered. But now I’ve researched this paperback original imprint of FSG – and I think there might be a possibility for my novel there! It reminds me a little of Sarah Kane’s first play Blasted playing at the Royal Court Upstairs, in a metaphorical way, the “paperback” version of the Royal Court. And since Sarah is so much a part of that novel, it would be cool if it’s considered at FSG Originals. I’d be so happy with that. So thanks for this in a surprising way. Especially liked Constance. Chin up about the screening…it’s gonna be good..and that’s my official prediction!

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