‘I think when we’re confronted with something colossal, intense, or uncanny, we instinctively retreat into the mundane—the little things—that seem private, perhaps even sheltering in their simplicity. We look down at our toenails and for a moment, we can forget about the rest of our bodies. We look down at those little donut holes and for moment, we can forget about the black holes in our hearts. But ultimately—as your question so beautifully insinuates—these little, mundane things are never really private, never truly escapes, because they’re all just extensions of the colossal, tiny tributaries of the infinite.
‘I think of this tension between the infinite and the (imagined, non-existent) private as a kind of subconscious pulse beneath our day-to-day lives. Like the way we treat our cell phones as these intimate appendages: reaching for them first thing in the morning, carrying them close to our bodies, using them to store our personal information and track our personal habits, collecting our sweat and skin cells all over their surfaces. We don’t really think about what they are or what they’re connected to. On some level, we understand that these devices are extensions of this vast (and kind of terrifyingly unknowable) network, but we’ve kind of inured ourselves to this understanding, numbed ourselves with our mundane rituals surrounding these little portals into the infinite. We treat them like small things, like private places.
‘I think the small things—the mundane—can reveal so much about our relationships with the infinite, the ways we process—or refuse to process—the immensities around and within us.’ — Meghan Lamb
Meghan Lamb Site
“The houses in the hills are bad at being real”: Meghan Lamb on Spaces, Liminality, and Bodies
IS IT STRANGE TO BE AN AMERICAN? AN INTERVIEW WITH MEGHAN LAMB
THE RUMPUS MINI-INTERVIEW PROJECT #91: MEGHAN LAMB
Buy ‘All Of Your Most Private Places’
Meghan Lamb All Of Your Most Private Places
‘This debut collection by Meghan Lamb opens with the demolition of a building called the “Hi-Point”: with the “destruction [and] construction of an empty space.” From an uncanny “Atomic Museum” in the desert to a dying-off peepshow to a far-flung, falling apart hoarder house, these stories examine a series of spaces wherein external strangeness mirrors internal conflict. With quietly charged, unflinching prose, Lamb observes our “most private places”: the elusive, often unnameable accumulations with which we fill our emptiness.’ — Spork Press
from ALWAYS CRASHING
As a child, his wife was frightened of discovery. She was a quiet girl. That’s what her mother said. She preferred empty spaces; after all, she lived within the desert. She should’ve been able to be happy where she was.
It doesn’t work like that, her mother said. She told her, in a perfect world. She sighed, of course, because the world wasn’t perfect. She felt her pocket with the lipstick and the box of cigarettes. She pulled two sticks of spearmint gum out of the other pocket. In a perfect world, we’d all get what we want, she said, but we don’t really even know exactly what we want, most of the time.
Her mother took her swimming. She’d swim while her mother lounged beside the pool. She crawled out of the pool whenever she felt hungry. Pool water seems to designed to make you hungry, she complained. Her mother told her to be patient. She was happy lying in the sun. She tried to lie there with her mother, but her body felt exposed, so she turned over on her stomach, spread a towel on her back. She felt her stomach pinched between the plastic chair slats. She looked through the space between the slats and watched a spider drowning in a puddle.
She went to slumber parties where they looked at magazines. The magazines asked questions about what they wanted, who they could become. Could you be a model? the magazine articles asked. Could I be a model? the girls at the parties would ask themselves. They didn’t know. It seemed like a good question.
They stashed the pizza boxes in a greasy corner by the trash. They dug around the junk drawer with this stupid urgency. They found the measuring tape tucked inside an old tin can of cookies from the days when cookies always came in old tin cans.
The girls lined up—they actually lined up—and a girl would measure ankles, wrists, waists, leg length, shoulder width, hips, height, and neck circumference, comparing their measurements to lists of model ranges in the magazines, the standard units used within the industry.
As it turned out, none of them could have been models. Some girls came close in some ways but fell short in others. They were tall enough, but their hips were too wide. Their waists were small enough, but they had scrawny calves or weird thick ankles. Their shoulder width, hips, waist, were all in perfect ratio, but for some reason, one leg was a little longer than the other.
While driving home, she thinks of how she hates her insecurities. They’re childish, of course. They haven’t changed since childhood. She contemplates this concept, childhood. When did it end? She looks out at the endless desert, thinking that it never did.
Meanwhile, something horrible is happening at the test site.
Meghan Lamb reads at Brain Frame 12
Meghan Lamb Book Launch at Malvern Books
Meghan Lamb performs at Multi-Kulti in Chicago
‘Invisibility: A Manifesto seemed to establish itself as a Surrealist novel, or at least novella, quite early on – capitalised Surrealist as in Andre Breton, Paul Eluard and those guys as distinct from more lazy contemporary understandings of the term usually amounting to not much more than the juxtaposition of disparate images. Invisibility: A Manifesto seems to tap into something of the human subconscious and, as such, presents questions rather than the definitives one might expect from something calling itself a manifesto; and, for what it may be worth, there’s some fairly stark juxtaposition of disparate images going on, but clearly nothing arbitrary.
‘Principally we have the contrast of author as wholesome child detective in the general mode of an Enid Blyton character, although not clearly drawn, with atrocity, murder, fucking, and framing of victims, although thankfully rendered with a degree of honesty thus disassociating itself from low-calorie goth versions of the same contrast – all those wearyingly mental versions of Alice which have kept Tim Burton in Cure reissues over the years. The contrast drawn up by Szasz are genuinely affecting, and possibly a clue to the title: the victim abused as powerless, worthless, and yet whose victimhood constitutes both the real power and value in the equation; so we have elements which simply won’t be jammed together, and perhaps in the resulting interference pattern, the subject becomes invisible, blending in with the background from either angle.
‘Hopefully that makes sense to someone. At least that’s how Invisibility: A Manifesto reads to me. I’m sometimes a little uncomfortable with the idea of the victim as the one with the power because while it may be philosophically useful, I’m not convinced it works in real life, which is why, I would suggest, Pauline Réage’s Story of O is honestly just a massive pile of wank (and not even good for that); although this, much shorter work does some of the same thing, but succeeds simply through an elevated self-awareness, meaning it knows what it’s doing, even if I don’t. I think what this amounts to is another Amphetamine Sulphate title mapping the disparity between the real and its interpretation, which is always welcome, not least because this one takes a quite different narrative approach to others I’ve read.’ — Pamphlets of Destiny
Audrey Szasz Invisibility: A Manifesto
‘’Shut your mouth,’ Mother tells me. I shut my mouth. ‘Wipe that idiotic grin off your face,’ she says. I wipe the idiotic grin off my face. And as I emerge from diazepam slumber I realize that our train has pulled into the station. Pain, invisible, but etched within me like crystal. Welcome to London St. Pancras International, where this journey terminates.’ — A.S.
Plan for the Abduction of J G Ballard: Jeremy Reed & Audrey Szasz
Audrey Szasz // Under The Stars // Doom Annex Youth
Audrey Szasz // Have You Seen This Girl? // Doom Annex Youth
anon I’m us = a posthuman artist whose work spans + often collages diverse mediums + hybrid forms, from text/image to the confluence of music + noise. As founding publisher of Calamari Archive, our target medium has been the book object + most of the writing + visual art/design we have done over the past 15+ years has been to this end. In a professional “day job” capacity we have 10+ years of experience working in new media as web producer + information architect.
a.I.’s punk/DiY ethos was seeded by the ‘80s home-recording + cassette culture on which we cut our teeth, starting our own label (Tapestry Tapes) + releasing 3 of our own cassettes (re-released as the unheard tapes). Initial academic studies focused on music (particularly Indonesian—we played in a gamelan orchestra for 2 years) + sound engineering, then biology + we eventually took degrees in computational mathematics + then did our graduate work in physics + philosophy. In tandem we always aspired to be a literary writer so worked as a coder + then technical writer to bridge our interests + experience (+ pay the bills). This led us to eventually work in web production + information architecture, the field of which also summarizes our personal artistic ambitions—the economical + entropic efficiency of densely packing as much information onto a blank canvas, tape or page (web or print) is our primary concern, often at the expense of aesthetics.
Given our technical background in math, science + engineering, anon I’m us can amalgamate + communicate complex subject matter… when we need to. If we had our druthers tho—in our own art—we’d rather let free association + stream of sub-consciousness dictate the course. Readability + “making sense” (or ¢ents) is not as interesting to us as the unintended epiphanies that may arise from random chaos, or “randumb K-OS” as we might be “inklined” to call her. Ménière’s “d-zzz” + clanging disorder inevitably influenzes our landgauge + muzic output + the natural decay (DK) process is also vital to our personal work—finding beauty in breakdown + ruin, choosing confusion over coherency, lo-fi rather than hi-brow, old school as opposed to newfangled flash, steampunk vs. air-brushed gloss, etc. But we’re not above retooling digital technologies to skeuomorph retro analog FX + are schooled in Edward Tufte’s theories of information design + data visualizations.
a.I.’s “reel-whirled” experience derives from many years spent living in Mexico, Italy + Kenya + travelling extensively to all corners of the globe, often disappearing off the map for extended stretches. We’ve worked as a deckhand on a ship Xing the South Pacific, as a farmhand in New Zealand, doing research in solar physics in Arizona, as a cook in South Dakota, a carpenter in Patagonia, field documentarian throughout rural Africa + Asia, stunt double in a b-grade sci-film in France + as a geophysicist as far north as the Arctic Circle. Our love of hiking + climbing + the outdoors led us to work as a field geologist in the 1st few years out of college. This bipedal zeal naturally evolved into flâneuring once we took to living in cities, systematically walking every street of Manhattan w/ our “bedder-½” in our time spent in NYC + then we did the same in Rome, documenting our walks as we went (on maphattanproject.com + romerioni.com respectively). We’re also an avid runner + life-long journal keeper, obsessively chronicling our entire life on The Daily Noose blog (formerly known as 5cense). Since 2008, anon I’m us has renounced all social media + our work has been anonymous/ pseudonymous + uncopyrighted + our whereabouts are typically at large.
anon I’m us Textiloma or, The Postmodern Epimetheus
‘At the end of volume I of ‘SSES” ‘SSES” “SSEY’ the author has the corpse of his dead dad surgically removed from his Deleuzian BwO but then O.D.s (dying in a parked car, like his father) post-op, before the scar heals, becoming Ulysses in a father-figurative sense. In Textiloma (vol II), the medical transcript of “the making of” (a prescription of sorts) is figuratively transplanted into the BwO of the surviving brother (now Telemachus) who adopts a patient/ghost-writer (anon I’m us) to adapt the script since he’s too close to the material + deathly afraid of needles + ‘sirjury,’ reverse engineering this contextual operation to bring both brother + father home for a proper burial.
‘… this is the story below the surface. Above ground, the 2 brothers work on a film together in France, entitled: Or, A Postmodern Epimetheus, a remake of Frankenstein featuring Prometheus’s lesser-known brother, Epimetheus (literally ‘afterthought,’ as opposed to his brother, ‘forethought’). In this script within the transplanted transcript (that draws analogy to René Daumal’s Mount Analogue), the 2 brothers climb an unnameable mountain in the ‘Himalayus’ to retrieve the corpse of their father (who by now is Sisyphus, Ulysses’s true father) who died (by ‘sewerside’) attempting to scale the same ‘peek’. At the end of the day, the semaphorical summit remains unclimbed (at least not by any 1 that lives to tell the tale). The script is never made into a film. The cathartic operation only takes place in ‘spearit’. Textiloma (from Greek textile + Swahili boma = hiding place) becomes the very textile/ gauze that is accidentally left behind during the imagined operation on their brother/father. By ‘pro-ssesing’ the texts, script, art + rehab ‘journulls’ of the metaphorical ‘gourney’ we become them, anon-ymously, as with the persona assumed by recover-ing addicts/ substance abusers. “The ½ of U in US is the 2nd chants U get,” we read/write, in finishing this suicide note/love letter to y/ourself that U never had a chance to leave behind (but now get to read).’ — Calamari Press
Sound ƒuries—LL re:/cursive surf
Swann st 1st + 2nd stories
Dennis Callaci was born in Corona, California and has bounced around Southern California his entire life. He runs the record label Shrimper, noted for bringing forth the earliest recordings from Amps For Christ, Woods, Franklin Bruno, Lou Barlow’s Sentridoh, The Mountain Goats, Dump, Kevin Morby, The Secret Stars and a few hundred other releases over the course of the last thirty years. He is also in the band Refrigerator who have released twelve records over those thirty years, as well as solo records by Callaci & collaborations with John Davis, The Debts, and Simon Joyner. A former KSPC DJ, booker of shows around Southern California, and GM of two record stores of note, music has eaten up the majority of his life.
‘Callaci conjures a mix of fiction and trivia and memoir and secret code, and when I say ‘I wish I’d written it myself’ I mean that I wish I thought I could have, or even knew exactly how it works.’ — Jonathan Lethem
‘This book could be your life.’ — Ira Kaplan, Yo La Tengo
‘This collection conjures up times and places that are achingly personal and bends them towards the universal.’ — Allen Callaci
‘In 100 CASSETTES, music and whatever else there is to life try to drive through Dennis Callaci’s brain, and continually get stuck in its fascinating detours and rest stops. Who knows which parts are fact and which are fiction, but it’s definitely all true.’ — Marc Masters
Dennis Callaci 100 Cassettes
‘100 CASSETTES started life as 100 hand drawn/painted cassette covers for an installation at the dA Center for The Arts in Pomona, California. Six months after that installation, the book 100 CASSETTES started being written in earnest. The book’s ninety nine chapters (two of the cassettes make up one chapter) delve into the possibility of each imagined release by a wealth of artists spanning over fifty years. Find early entries of abstraction on Ida Cox, Alice Cooper, Talk Talk, Earl Sweatshirt and Lord Invader to nonfiction-based entries on Tony Conrad, Korla Pandit, Jackie Moore and Black Sabbath. Featuring a foreword by Jonathan Lethem and an afterword by Allen Callaci, the book winds around autobiographical information, the rich culture of Southern California from 1969 to the present day, and all musical points in between.’ — Pelekinesis Press
Dennis Callaci “Houdini”
Refrigerator – Bicycle (1995)
Dennis Callaci ‘No Music Tonight’
Chelsea Hodson: I’m curious about the “theatrical violence” you mentioned that you’re drawn to. What is it about certain horror movies, black metal, and pessimistic philosophy that resonate with you as a writer?
Christopher Zeischegg: As a kid, I was most into and influenced by aggressive music. The focus of my middle school and high school years was playing in metal bands and going to as many shows as possible. When I think about those years, I think about the energetic sound, the cathartic performance, and the audience participation inherent in the live shows; the community of subculture. But also, the biting and often devastating poetry imbedded in the lyrical content.
Some of the more sophisticated bands seem to engage in a play between emotional turmoil and mythology. For example, when I was in high school, my favorite band was Converge. They’re not black metal. More of a hybrid between hardcore and other forms of aggressive metal. Their lyrics have to do with loneliness, longing, depression, anger, suicide, and so on. All of the stuff that’s extra relevant as a teenager, because it feels so new and all-encompassing (at least, it did for me). The way the band expresses those emotions, though, are through violent metaphor.
If I look at early Norwegian black metal bands, it’s the same thing: young people making music about feeling isolated, angry, and suicidal. But it’s encased in Norse mythology mixed with a kind of fictional Satanism, gleaned from horror films.
This music probably informed the way I express myself in writing, music, and whatever else. It makes sense for me to write about depression as bodily trauma or demonic intervention, because I grew up watching other people do it. It’s a language I understand.
CH: Auto-fiction seems somewhat performative in the sense of having to decide which parts of your life to pull from and put on display. Do you see your writing as a performative act, or is it something else?
CZ: Auto-fiction is definitely performative. But so is straightforward memoir. I think it’s funny when people talk about authenticity in art, as if anything so carefully crafted doesn’t sift through a thousand personal filters. The older I get, the less I care about performing authenticity. For one, my life is objectively more boring: I no longer fuck for a living; I’m no longer a hooker; and I no longer have such a romantic relationship with death and depression. Not in real life, anyway. — from Bomb Magazine
Christopher Zeischegg The Magician
‘“Andrea’s gore was dark red, nearly brown, and smelled of meat and piss. She must have wet herself on account of all the drugs…”
‘California brings out the fucking worst in people. Makes them junkies, whores, killers – failed saints, predatory sinners. Must be something in the land or maybe the water. Something old and evil. Waiting. The Magician is an incantatory trip to this cursed heart of darkness. A modern horror tale of sexual violence and deep psychological harm. Unflinchingly narrated in spare, economic prose climaxing in hallucinatory brutality, Christopher Zeischegg has conjured a dark fable of the American dream as it slides into unending nightmare.
‘Christopher Zeischegg is a writer, musician, and filmmaker who spent eight years working in the adult industry as performer Danny Wylde. His other books include The Wolves That Live in Skin and Space and Body to Job. He lives in Los Angeles.’ — A.S.
‘The Magician’ promo
CHIILDREN – ‘Girl in the Dirt’
THE WOLVES THAT LIVE IN SKIN AND SPACE (BOOK TRAILER)
p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, It’s true, I agree. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Yeah, suckage about ‘TIHYWD’. Ha ha, about the MCR tie in. The title is actually a slight reinvention of the first line/lyric of a Scott Walker song, ‘Rawhide’, which might be where MCR got the title too? Yeah, I think the plan to go on with the pro writer is doomed from the outset, but it’s not my decision. Well, first our producer has to find a co-producer to sign on to the project for reasons I don’t completely understand, so I guess that’s in-process, and, if that happens, then they’ll hire a pro writer, and then the pro writer will turn the script into a conventional TV series script, and then Zac and I read it and probably go, ‘No, bye’, but who knows. You’re my CoronaHero. I’m chasing your vibes. My day … Zac and I need to shoot the video thing for the film grant this afternoon, so we talked that over. I can’t believe I’m actually going to see Zac in the flesh. Or see anyone I know. Went for a walk and bought some food and cigarettes. Uh, oh, my friend the French film director Christophe Honore was asked to make a short film in quarantine for the French culture magazine Inrockuptibles, and he made a very strange little film about my novel ‘Closer’, and he sent it to me, and that was very cool and trippy. I guess it’ll go online soon. Not much else, but today I get to get out the apartment and actually do something outside of my apartment for the first time in over a month assuming the police don’t stop me, so that should make today count. Oh, no, I don’t expect to hear back from the Twisted Experiential guys for a while, but I’ll let you know when I do. Did you continue your great creative exploitation of your imprisonment today? Love like an open Indian restaurant in Paris (what I’m craving), Dennis. ** Bill, Hi. Her early stuff is very ‘No Wave’ or ‘proto-No Wave’ really since she was pretty much the inventor of ‘No Wave’ filmmaking. Yeah, you were at the Avignon premiere of ‘TIHYWD’. Crazy. A million years ago. Wow. Great about your gig being out and about. I need it. Okay, it sounds like I’ll be able to figure it out. Let me tell the others. Everyone, Bill Hsu (and compadres) did a live-streamed music gig last Sunday from his headquarters San Francisco, and this is the program, and you can join me in attending this gig through your ears and eyes by following the instructions that Bill will now give you/us. Take it away, Bill: ‘The recording of my live-streamed gig last Sunday is up at https://www.soundcrack.net. You have to select “4.12.20 PONIIA #2 (Principles of Non-isolation In Audio)”, then hit play. (The playback controls are tiny and wonky, sorry.) Sharkiface/Marlo Eggplant start off from 00:00 to about 00:30. Then we have a few “dj-ed” pieces (including Paul Bley playing Annette Peacock’s “Nothing Ever Was, Anyway” on Moog, one of my favorite songs!). Peter J. Woods and I play from about 00:37 to 01:00. A few more dj-ed pieces, then all four of us play from about 01:07 to 01:33.’ Thanks, man. Looking forward to it! ** john christopher, Hello, john christopher! A very hearty welcome to you! Lucky you saw that exhibition, obviously. I don’t know if I know that short film in question. The ‘… skeleton … ‘ quote is killer. I promise not to steal it. Anyway, thanks for coming in here. You’re always welcome, it goes without saying. ** _Black_Acrylic, Cool. I think I should have some time free enough to listen to a Jeremy Deller interview of that nature, yes. Thank you, Ben. ** Misanthrope, I do vaguely remember you mentioning that MCR song at that time now that you mention it. Well, it’s up to Gisele. If we even get as far as having a pro writer remake the script, Zac and I can quit at any time if Gisele decides to go forward with a script we hate, although I don’t think she would. Who knows. Fucking bullshit. I don’t know how the testing thing will work here. I guess at some point I’ll be told to get tested somewhere somehow if they test people who have been totally healthy this whole time. Very confusing. I thought Stephen Fry was an actor, but I think I’m mixed up. They have so many Stephens over there, Or so many Frys, maybe. ** Steve Erickson, Fake New Wave. Curious thematic. Interesting. Happy you’ve got some gigs lined up. I still don’t get the Perfume Genius love. It/he doesn’t do a thing for me. But I’ll try the new one. I’ve tried to do a Beth B Day a couple of times, but there was very little online to use, so I gave up. It’s been a while, so I’ll see if there’s more in store now. ** Corey Heiferman, Hi, Corey! Thanks. I’m holding up reasonably well, I believe, and counting the minutes until my door reopens. You? I think it’s worth doing, but I love that kind of stuff. Okay, all hopes that your dad’s chemo does what it needs to do. It does seem like being outgoing and charming will lead you to something interesting and lucrative enough. It does seem to work that way. ‘The Man Without Qualities’ is insanely great, yeah. Musil is major. If you haven’t read it, ‘Young Törless’, the ‘sadistic boarding school’ thing you mentioned, is a lot less complex and demanding than ‘TMWQ’, but it’s also really great. ** Okay. Today I present to you five books I’ve read recently and can recomend to you with bells on and all of that. Give them a shot at your reading list, won’t you? See you tomorrow.