The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Illegible autographs




p.s. Hey. ** Shane Christmass, Hi, Shane. I thought so. Oh, duh, I spaced. I guess the BBDB thing did throw me. Yeah, I liked that book a lot. I agree with you. Excellent, a new story by you with a, yes, most excellent title! Everyone, the fine writer Shane Christmass has a new story up and readable, and its title is ‘Aerosmith Heroin’, which is surely another compelling reason to get thee to it. Excited to read it, thanks! ** Misanthrope, Thanks. Yeah, I mean, yeah, it’s very tough about Chris. Words don’t seem to work about it. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, B. Great, great, about the smooth sailing. My second is on Friday, and … yay/eek. ** Dominik, Hi!!!! Cool. Yeah, try to keep whatever internal writing-related fire flickering at least until the keyboard is all yours again. My Monday was pretty good. Ate a pizza and a sublime pistachio escargot pastry and wandered around in my favourite arr. the 10th with Zac and our buddy Michael aka Kiddiepunk and watched the new, entertaining enough if not at all great horror movie ‘The Conjuring 3’. Not bad. Fun to try to imagine that face of love’s and yours. Hm, so much must have been going through your mind at that moment, ha ha. Love like a skeleton key that unlocks everything, and mean everything!, G. ** Jamie, Hi, J. His stuff is pretty relentlessly cool and fun. My Monday was pretty nice. (See: my descr. to Dominick). Oh, and I got tickets to see the great, great Brigite Fontaine give a rare concert at the Pinault Foundation on Thursday night. That ex-shopping center sounds very charismatic. I love ex-things, as I guess the blog occasionally makes clear. Any Tuesday goodies on your end? I hope it’s sunshiny to the ideal degree. Love, me. ** T, Hi. Cool, I’m glad Markey’s stuff made it into your eyeballs. I’m not very into guitar music these days myself after it being my main diet for a long time. But those were good guitar days. Non-taxing day job, gotcha, very sensible. Teaching English to non-or-semi-speakers: I have friends who do that and are pretty okay with it. Wow, maybe in Paris? On its outskirts? Which outskirts? Some of them are rather intense places, not necessarily in a negative way. How did you know I like synthetic mint? Maybe everyone does. i hope your Tuesday treats your Monday like it’s made of Silly Putty. ** Steve Erickson, Apparently the Black Flag doc is them on their teetering last legs, which sounds very interesting to me although hardcore BF fans pooh-pooh it for that very reason. I don’t know if BOTTLED SONGS is findable, but I’ll certainly try. In my understanding, the traditional ‘literary fiction’ practiced mostly by straight white guys is having a hard time finding traction amongst major publishers, but ‘literary fiction’ by others, especially if it’s issue or identity oriented, is desirable and feasible and buzzy right now — Vuong, Greenwell, Kushner, Yanagihara, etc., etc. So I would say it’s more that the ‘literary fiction’ genre has become something that, with exceptions, needs to have a non-fictional, ‘relevant’ vibe or content to break through. ** Jack Skelley, Oh, wow! You guys are in the Lovedolls movie?! How did I not remember that? Okay, I’m gonna rewatch it or at least FF to you. Thanks, pal o’ mine! ** Brian, Howdy, Brian. Thanks, man. ‘Amarcord’ is a good example in that it’s very well and interestingly made but very given to nostalgia and sentiment, and those things are radioactive to me, so I have to grit my teeth while watching. But, yeah, Fellini is great at what he does. Sometimes. I would avoid his late/last films, if I were you. I remember liking Coppola’s ‘Dracula’ at least to some degree. It’s been ages. I’m not the biggest Winona Ryder fan, but then I know someone who dated her unhappily at one point, and so knowledge of the real her probably colors the acting her for me. Anyway, you had fun with it. That’s all that matters in this god forsaken world. And it was guaranteed better than ‘The Conjuring 3’, which I watched last night, and which was fun enough, but … Good, relax, get another movie under your belt, and enjoy. And I’ll do something similar perhaps. ** Dalton, Hey, Dalton! Ha ha, that’s nice, and you could be right. Good question re: grunge. For a minute there it seemed like grunge was going to be the big new nostalgia/ revival thing, but then it didn’t seen to actually happen. Curious. I think rock may be too out of fashion in general right now or something. The Foo Fighters being treated like a great, important band seems like some kind of death knell. Consider me hungry-eyed and -brained for your writing whenever you think the time is right. I understand the wariness there. I still almost never show my fiction to people until I feel like it’s absolutely finished. Strange. That does sound intense: your writing soundtrack. Huh. No way to milk it for anything? I’m mostly a morning writer, so for me it’s mostly iPhone wake up alarms going off in the apartments around me, which actually has kind of a cheerful effect. But it’s not really milkable. Thanks, I hope your day offers, I don’t know, serenity? Do you like serenity? I don’t think I do, weirdly. So never mind. 24 hours of greatness to you in whatever form then. ** Okay. Today for some odd reason I give you illegible — although kind of legible in some cases — autographs. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with them. Just seemed like stacking a bunch of them up constituted a plan at time. See you tomorrow.


  1. Zak Ferguson

    My signature is different with every single attempt, its frustrating, because signatures in the realm of art, culture, is such a huge thing, and the few of whom have asked for a signed book by me, I usually state, the signature devalues the book tenfold.

    But, also, signatures for specific real world things was a harsh reality too – which had to be changed quickly as mine usually was confused for the STAR shape, that indicates where to put your signature (face palm thwack!!!!) . So many forms have been brought back and pointed at and I’ve told them, “No, that is my signature”.

    So, I kind of just kept it simple, two initials, styled to entwine… even then my attempts are nigh on pathetic.

    **Also, never have your author SIG be the same as, let’s say, your tax and real world SIG, because some sod will try to con you lol**

  2. Ian

    Greetings Dennis, I had a great weekend. Got some writing done, ate tasty tacos and finished a sentimental educ. I hung out in a park with some ppl on Sunday too. Also last night the hockey team in mtl advanced to the next round of the playoffs, which is a pretty big deal in this city. I will interview with a renovation company tomorrow as a possible landing spot for when I finish school.
    What’s new with you? I mostly know as I follow along. What is pistachio Escargot pastry like? Does it have actually escargot?? I’m so curious.
    Anywho!! Take care,

  3. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Agreed re: Chris. :'(

    We’re pretty sure my mom has an Elvis’ autograph. Years and years ago, she was standing in line at a store and got to talking with this guy. Elvis comes up. She says she’s a huge fan. Dude is like, I was in the Army with him, you want this? Pulls out a pic with Elvis’ signature on it. My mom’s like, cool. From the research I’ve done, it looks very likely that it is indeed his signature.

    Uncanny thing about today: The kid in pic with “Rock On” on it looks very, very much like my best friend’s 12-year-old son (who’s better looking, btw). Kinda took me aback there for a second, haha.

  4. _Black_Acrylic

    As a long-haired 90s teen fanboy I would hang around gig venues the afternoon before gigs in the desperate hope of meeting my idols. One time at Leeds Town & Country Club I got my Come On Feel The Lemonheads CD signed by Evan Dando with a truly illegible scrawl. Dunno whether the guy was grumpy or wasted or what, but it was very much a bad effort.

    • _Black_Acrylic

      In a more edifying update, Play Therapy’s host station Tak Tent Radio is to star in The Wire magazine’s forthcoming Issue 449 Radio Activity cover feature!

  5. Dominik


    I surprised myself with a longish writing frenzy this morning, so I’m pretty happy. I’m also extremely… not lazy but dazed somehow? today. I don’t know. It’s a weird day. I’d switch it for your Monday in a heartbeat. Especially because I’ve never had a pistachio escargot pastry, and I just googled it, and it looks delicious. I’m a huge pastry fan. (If it wasn’t obvious yet, haha.)

    The guy with the children’s sock was a regular customer, and he was always very, very weird, with a truly uncomfortable vibe. He had these motor ticks, and every single time he bought a book, he realized after paying that it either wasn’t the book he wanted or that he needed another one, too, etc. And then the sock.

    Ah, thank you, love! I’d definitely be a creep and sneak into total strangers’ houses to look around and pat their dogs, haha. And, as it opens everything, I’d also open that dimension of the universe that witnessed what happened to Richey Edwards and… peek inside. What would you open with it? Love sending you an autographed polaroid of his carefully cultivated thigh gap, Od.

  6. T

    Hello Dennis, Happy Wednesday morning!

    I think that signatures deserve a lot more attention than we give them credit. It’s pretty common for kids to fill in whole notebooks practicing their signature, right? If I’m honest, I think its somewhat of a betrayal of all the time and energy I spent developing more and more elaborate versions of my signature back then that the current version Iuse is so boring. But yeah, I like how they’re both functional and decorative, meant to be somewhat distinguishable but also unrecognisable by other people, that it sometimes hugs close to regular characters but also quite illegible…and that it’s like a personal sigil but it becomes meaningless to almost everyone else. I think my firm favourite was the signature that consisted of a male symbol with an extra arrow, a cross, a circle and a wavy line. Did you have a favourite?

    The job I’ve managed to be offered is at a high school in Créteil – I don’t know if that’s a place you know of or frequent at all. Beyond just changing trains, the last time I was in Paris was 18 years ago at the age of 5, so I’m going into it pretty blind. That said, I have quite a few Parisian friends, and instinctually I feel like it would be a good choice. But like I say, I’m a little way off from confirming just yet.

    No I didn’t know you were a fan of synthetic mint. I was thinking of what an agreeable smell would be for Tuesday’s breath, and mint seemed obvious, but then I reminded myself that the kind of mint smell perfuming our breath would evidently be synthesised. However, I investigated this further and found that the current industry standard for synthesising menthol for consumption was only developed in 2001 it seems, so maybe my surety was misplaced. I also got pleasantly waylaid reading about a decade long project by Wilkinson Sword in the 70s to engineer a minty fragrance for shaving foam that was both cooler and more intense than any naturally-occurring menthol. Do you prefer smelling it, tasting it, feeling it on your skin, or are you generally unpicky on how you receive it? Whatever it is, I hope Wednesday telegraphs you at least one sensory experience that’s just as pleasant. xT

  7. Derek McCormack

    Hahahaha, this day – I almost laughed out loud. What a hoot going through these autographs. I always wanted an illegible signature – alas, I still have the very legible and boring signature I had when I was in grade school! Love, Derek

  8. jamie

    Ahoy Dennis!
    This is one of those rare days when I can see the previous comments, so I’ll say that I have the same thing as Zak up above, in that my signature seems to change like the weather. When I’m doing fully official stuff involving signing I have to secretly peek at whatever form of official documentation I’m using to try and copy what I’ve done there. Also, like Ian, I’m intrigued by the pistachio escargot…I’m guessing the escargot is the shape, but I’m guessing only. Hang on, I just remembered that you’re a vegetarian! It’s like a rolled up thing? Delicious, I’m imagining.
    Were you an autograph collecting kind of child? I’m suspecting that you may have been. I remember a neighbour giving us a signed photo of a Scottish boxer when I was wee and thinking it was pretty amazing, even though I didn’t care one jot about boxing.
    How are you and how was your day? The highlight of mine has been recording a voice for our cartoon. Totally last minute after an actor went awol. I went full Scottish and really enjoyed it, lots of screaming and yelling.
    That ex-shopping centre is more of a soon-to-be shopping centre, which is maybe not as charismatic as ex but it’s definitely got a certain something going on and I’m going to be sad when it comes to life. I was discussing it with Hannah and we agreed that it was something else rather than a simple shopping centre, you can tell the people who’ve designed it think it’s something special and different. Hannah decided it was a ‘lifestyle liaison zone’.
    I hadn’t heard of Brigitte Fontaine, but looked her up and it seems like a gig by her could be amazing. I hope it is.
    Have a très bonne Thursday!
    Love, Jamie

  9. Bill

    For a moment I thought the shirtless boy in the towel signed himself Salman Rushdie, haha.

    I have friends who loved books autographed by their authors, but I can’t get excited about them. Most of the time you can’t read the autographs. But I was pleasantly surprised when my copy of Dean Paschal’s collection showed up in the mail, and it had what looked like his autograph.

    I’m enjoying Joel Lane’s From Blue to Black, with your blurb on the back cover. So much meticulous detail on the music and the scene! I forget sometimes that the band doesn’t exist.


  10. Steve Erickson

    Back in elementary school, the importance of learning cursive and mastering it was forced upon us, but signatures are the only time I’ve used it much in my life. As this day suggests, there’s an aesthetic dimension to it, but that’s not at all how my teachers saw it.

    BOTTLED SONGS will be streaming through the Onion City Experimental Film Festival on the 12th and 13th:

    I enjoyed DETRANSITION, BABY, but it walks a firm tightrope where it seems intended to reach a cisgender/mainstream audience (the writing is quite breezy, in a “chick lit”/SEX AND THE CITY style, even if the themes are not) with ideas that haven’t been shown or have been misrepresented to them.

    I am interviewing Lizzie Borden Friday for the Brooklyn Rail, on the occasion of WORKING GIRLS’ theatrical and Blu-Ray re-release.

  11. Kyler

    Hi Dennis – I just checked your autograph on my MARBLED SWARM – and it was pretty illegible! Just checking…and apropos to today’s theme.

    Maybe you saw it on FB, but I was recently on ABC News – plus I was told all the stations aired it in some form. Huge amount of people approaching me, saying they saw me on TV, as if TV confirms one’s realness in the world. Hope you’ll enjoy:

  12. Paul Curran

    Wonder what’ll happen to the great art of signatures and signature-collecting in the cashless, Covid, NFT crypto etc future…

    Dennis, yeah, I’m pretty much up to speed. Incredibly tough one. I hope things are otherwise going well. Yes, too, thanks for asking, I’m still chipping away on the J-novel. But also I’m hoping to bang out a sneaky side-project novel over the summer, to possibly come out through a US indie next year… Will keep you posted… Also, looking forward to the Infinity Land anthology. That was fun. Oh, and meant to ask, what kind of blog format or theme on WordPress are you using at the moment? I’m also still working on my Setagaya Murders post (although almost hitting 10k words, maybe In Cold Blood/Once Upon a Time in Setagaya…). But I want to finish it over summer too. What’s the best way to format posts these days? I used to just use old blogger and send posts in html directly from there, but I’m using WordPress now too and there seems to be different levels and block formats or something.

    Nice one, Kyler!

  13. Kyle Hildreth

    Hi Dennis, sorry to reach you this way, but it is the only spot I could find to connect with you.

    I was an extra in your movie Academy Boyz/Prep, but never saw the finished film. Is there a place to view or buy it? After spending the time on set, I’d really love to finally see your finished work.

  14. Brian

    Hey, Dennis,

    Illegible signatures are the best. They feel more distinctive and personal in a weird way, no? Or maybe that’s nonsense. That’s the vibe I get from today’s post, anyway. All your advice re: Fellini has been noted. I will definitely steer clear of that final set. Oh, cool that you recall maybe liking “Dracula”. I love it to no end. At the very least it’s gorgeous to look at. Interesting, and sorry to hear, about your friend and Winona Ryder. Her performances can be very hit-and-miss, but I admit to liking her here (though again, the sort of childhood imprint this movie left on me probably has a lot to do with that) and in “The Age of Innocence”, another personal favorite of mine. Anyway. Yikes, “The Conjuring 3”. I have heard not good things about that one. I really didn’t like the first one at all and haven’t ventured beyond that. But it’s good that it was fun enough, at least. Today turned out to be my Kenneth Anger deflowering. I watched “Scorpio Rising”, the first of his movies I’ve ever seen. Totally blew me away. I’ve been thinking about it all day. Definitely going to have to take a look at his other stuff. And then I watched this semi-obscure Canadian gay drama from the 1990s, “Lilies”, which was interesting but overall disappointing (mostly due to high school theater-level acting and glowy, TV movie lighting). But not awful by any means. So that was an interesting little double feature. Tomorrow, I’m thinking “Effi Briest” at last. Salute and good luck to whatever plans you may have yourself.

  15. Jack Skelley

    District of Cooper: pharmacists have a tough job. Ah, yes, the Lawndale toe-tapper “Wingtips” plays over the very opening scene of Lovedolls movie. I alerted Dave Markey to yr post. He was entirely unAware & most legit honored. I see him regularly at the Punk Rock BBQs we stage at Liquid Kitty & Harvelles… or DID stage pre-COVID, and shall do so again soon! BTW: That’s a legit legible PJ Harvey autograph on that Stratocaster. Not speaking of PJ but of guitarist/singer St Vincent, what think you of her new Daddy’s Home? (It’s about yr Wake Island appearance.) I can’t always get into her songs but she doth mightily shred on her axe, Max. Love, the Flying Glove…

  16. David Ehrenstein

    A neat collection!

    A number of years back I got jean-Paul Belmondo to autograph my “Brethless” poster but he wrote so faintly (this was post-stroke) you can barly read it.

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