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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Please welcome to the world … Alone by Thomas Moore (Amphetamine Sulphate)

Paperback, 168 pages
Published June 2020, Amphetamine Sulphate
Artwork: Michael Salerno
ISBN: 9781734316025

“Thomas Moore is one of the best writers the world has in stock, and I always expect a ton from what he writes, but, even so, Alone is beyond the pale – immaculate, febrile, deadly. A complete stunner.” – Dennis Cooper

 

Introduction

Alone is my third novel. I’m indebted to Philip Best and Sarah Ruth Best at Amphetamine Sulphate for publishing the book, to Michael Salerno for the beautiful artwork that he has bestowed upon it, to Dennis Cooper for his generous praise and support, and to anyone out there who decides to give Alone their time.

You can buy Alone from Amphetamine Sulphate: https://amphetaminesulphate.bigcartel.com

 

It’s hard to know how to sum a book up. The book is the sum itself. There are a lot of things that go into it. Alone took a couple of years. I write very slowly. Well, that’s wrong – I write a lot, fast. Most of it then needs to be brushed away. I end up with a fog that I need to feel my way through to find out what’s inside. I have to feel out the shape in the dark – the actual thing that’s buried in the mess that I’ve written – scrape away a ton of shit to find out what’s buried in there – the actual ideas that are wanting to be found.

I can never explain my writing and I never really want to. I feel compelled to write and so I do. I have no idea where this compulsion comes from and that’s fine. I’m glad that it does. I can’t imagine what it would be like without having writing. When I write, it doesn’t always make things better, but I know that things feel a lot worse when I don’t.

For whatever reason, Alone has a lot of themes and motifs and internal operations going on. Rather than try and explain the book itself, I thought it might be interesting to lay out some of those themes for you today. Maybe it might be an idea to think of the following as bunch of clues, that might help unlock or accompany the core and soul of Alone. Maybe they won’t. Maybe I’m talking shit. Maybe we are all just alone and that is that.

 

Being alone

A number of teen stars are referenced in the book for various reasons. I’m not going to go into it. You’ll see what I mean if you read the book.

Jonathan Brandis pops up in the book and plays a kind of important part. Here are some pictures of him.

This is him as a young kid:

Here he is probably at the height of his fame:

These photos of Jonathan Brandis in the TV movie version of Steven King’s IT are particularly important to the novel:

And so is this one – it’s Jonathan Brandis as a grown up. Not long before he committed suicide:

 

Also, I think I should probably post this video of another teen idol, who has also sadly died, Corey Haim. Corey Haim released this documentary himself. He made it straight after leaving rehab:

 

I also have to mention Edward Furlong, specifically his role in Terminator 2:

If I wanted to start getting all deep about things I might suggest that this photo kind of hints at part of the novel in a way, but it really depends how you think about stuff, so I won’t dwell too much:

 

This gif of River Phoenix and Will Wheaton is very important:

 

What else? OK … this 1980s advertisement about AIDS:

 

Sometimes I listen to music when I write. I’ve always found huge inspiration from music. I’m more interested in tone and mood when it comes to getting ideas from music. Here is a bunch of stuff that I remember listening to and getting inspired by while I was writing Alone.

 

I also thought a lot about Attachment Theory:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory

 

Grindr:

 

Darja Bajagić:

 

Sarah Kane:

 

Jean Claracq:

 

The way that The Malady of Death by Marguerite Duras makes me feel:

 

The last three episodes of The Sopranos:

 

Cult members:

 

Dark rooms in gay clubs:

 

Jordan Wolfson:

 

EXCERPT FROM ALONE





 

You can buy Alone from Amphetamine Sulphate: https://amphetaminesulphate.bigcartel.com

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. Please join the blog in celebrating the birth of Thomas Moore’s extraordinary new novel! ** Scunnard, Truer words hath ne’er been typed. I’m pretty good. Life is almost normal with some exceptions. How is stuff in and around you? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Very happy to accidentally and coincidentally help! Unfortunately, I can not enter the NYT, but I guess excepts will end up somewhere. ** Misanthrope, Some days it feels that way. Dry ice. Now that’s a flashback. Or maybe it’s still employed on occasions? It has a 1950s vibe to it to me. I think I tried to use dry ice to mystery-ify a haunted house I built in my family basement as a kid, and I think I remember it being woefully inadequate. You have a good weekend too! ** Armando, Hi. I’m good. I just woke up so my day is going hazily so far. You do seem to like insulting things that others really like, it’s true. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Interesting. So is the new drug they’ll put you on an improvement and preferable in theory? Hoping so. And that your need to self-isolate will end soon but at, importantly, a perfectly safe time. I hope you have a really swell weekend. ** chris dankland, Hi, Chris. Yeah, a few of them were kind of actually magical even. I agree about fog/smoke moving. Even clouds, to get kind of corny for a second. I’m really happy you like the array. I’m going to my first post-quarantine amusement park tomorrow, so my weekend will be pretty ace, I think, and I hope yours ponies up with an equivalence. ** John Christopher, Hello, John Christopher! It’s a pleasure. I did see and read that roundtable thing. That was cool. Especially finding out that Sean Ford had read the book and related. (Ha ha, autocorrect wanted to change ‘related’ into ‘felated’.) That was trippy. I don’t reread my own stuff unless I have to a do reading from it or something, but it’s always educating and honoring to read what people write or say about my work. How interesting about the magazine! A print thing? Will you have it online in any form? Yes, I am indeed a Mark Morrisroe fan. I did get to see some of his films. I co-curated an exhibition ages ago at his gallery, Pat Hearn, and she showed me some of his films in the back room. Very heady and wonderful, as I remember. Someone needs to upload them. The original ‘Dracula’ or various versions? I haven’t watched any films in the most recent days for some reason other than some films by Daniel Schmidt because I was putting together a post about him. Nice to see you, sir, and have a fine weekend please. ** Bill, I had a little stinking suspicion you might be a fellow false fog fan. Outdoor dining makes such a difference. Since they reopened restaurants in outdoors form and cafes Paris has become recognisable again. I didn’t see that SF was arrested at a protest but ,based on my quick tour of his Twitter, I am not surprised. The Wonder Boy. ** Steve Erickson, Unfortunately the invisibility problem seems to be systemic. Never watched ‘Hannibal’, but I do know people who’ve found it to be  a top notch guilty pleasure. Yes, I remember when ‘Black Panthers’ was basically Varda’s most obscure film. ** Corey Heiferman, Cool teacher. My high school physics teacher was a total bore. I always have had and still have thoughts of learning French, but I think it’s fairly safe to say that at this point I never fully will, or not formally at least. Terrible of me. I just have never been willing to give up the giant, central, all-consumed portion that learning French would require of my busy, scattered brain. I so wish I had learned from the outset. I obviously urge you to mind-embrace it. ** Okay. Let the Thomas Moore-based festivities begin or continue! Have a great weekends, one and all. See you on Monday.


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18 Comments

  1. Hi Thomas, your stuff always makes me happy (haha probably not the correct response!). Nice work and impressive.

    Hi Dennis, yes things are actually good but the satanic Groundhog Day/ness of it all is getting to me. I just keep busy and seems to work? Did I see you are doing Manifesta?

  2. Great stuff, Thomas. Teen idols are a source of furtive joy and soi-distant pain. Dennis wrote about one of them (a clef) in his collection “Ugly Man”

    River Phoenix is dead but Will Wheaton is still alive and has appeared as himself on “The Big Bang Theory”

    Oh and Thomas Sondheim Sez. . . .

    Gary Indiana on Andy I disagree about his supposed lack of spontaneity.

  3. John Christopher

    June 13, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    ‘Felated’, ha! I guess it would be cool to have something you wrote a while ago be revisited and acknowledged. I remember when I came across The Sluts on amazon and scrolling through it with rapidly increasing excitement and confusion. I don’t think I knew what it was. I never saw your books in Dublin, where I grew up, which sucked. Scanning the shelves, it was always just Douglas Coupland, Douglas Coupland… Fuck Douglas Coupland!

    Re: the mag, yes it will have an online presence! I can’t wait for it to come to life, I’ll post it here when it wakes, that cool? And woah, I didn’t know you were actually like, involved with Mark Morrisroe’s stuff/legacy. That’s class. I got access to the films a few months ago because I wanted to write about them, but you’re so right they absolutely should be available for anyone to watch online, or at least screened more often. But I don’t know how that stuff works.

    And it’s Coppola’s Dracula, always and forever! Oh it’s so romantic. And sexy. And RED! I’ll look up David Schmidt. Natalie said I should watch DEATH NOTE. This book ALONE looks fucking cool, thanks for sharing. Random question but didn’t you catch Gregg Araki’a Now Apocalypse? If so, what did you think?

  4. Hey Thomas – Excited to read your novel, especially after sampling the excerpt. Love the behind-the-scenes tour of the book’s inspirations, etc. Great soundtrack, too. I hadn’t thought about those last episodes of The Sopranos in ages, but seeing this I instantly recalled how intense they were – the penultimate one where AJ tries to kill himself particularly, couldn’t shake its bleak mood for days afterward. Big congrats on the publication!

    Dennis – Forgot to say how much I enjoyed the Alan Burns post. Glad to have his work on my radar.

    Last night, I watched James Benning and Bette Gordon’s ‘United States of America’ which I thought was terrific. Struck me as a companion piece of sorts to ’11 x14.’ Wish the film was available to own, but haven’t been able to track it down yet. I know you’ve done at least one day on Benning, yes? Have you done one on Gordon?

    The movie also reminded me visually and tonally so much of Stephen Shore’s photographic road trip of the U.S. around that time which resulted in ‘Uncommon Places’ and ‘American Surfaces.’ I guess his work is ultra popular these days, though those images still retain their off-kilter magic for me.

    New drummer for JC seemed amazing on first meeting, even playing quietly on small kit. Really excited about that.

    Catch up via Skype next week?

  5. Congratulations, Thomas, as you can imagine I’ve already pre-ordered this one and will let you know what I think once I’ve read it!

  6. Congratulations on the new novel, Thomas! Very interesting inspirational gallery and soundtrack, and Michael’s cover is striking.

    The felated/related switch attempt is just too perfect, ha.

    Funny Jeff mentioned Bette Gordon. I have Variety on my watchlist, will probably get to it this weekend.

    Just saw a couple intriguing shorts by Cecilia Condit. “Possibly in Michigan” is quite bizarre and beautifully low-tech. At https://www.ceceliacondit.com/video

    Have a fine weekend…
    Bill

  7. Thomas, Congrats, my man. Awesome to see something new from you!

    Dennis, Yeah, I had very little experience with dry ice, but I remember thinking it was totally overrated when I did encounter. Was like, “Why not just use a fog machine?”

    Weekend is fine so far. Slept like a baby. LPS went to Ocean City, MD for the night last night and is back without getting in trouble (as far as I know), so that’s good.

    Gonna make stromboli tonight. That’s my highlight, hahaha.

  8. Derek McCormack

    June 13, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    Congrats, Thomas! Amazing cover art. Amazing post you put together here. I’m going to get the book asap. I just picked up Diarmuid Hester’s, too, which I believe you’re mentioned in, yes? Love, Derek

  9. Hey Dennis,

    Thanks so much for posting this – it means a lot.

    I can’t see any comments at the moment but if there are any I’ll reply tomorrow!

    Love,

    Thomas xoxo

  10. Hey again!

    So at present I can see some comments when I look at the blog on my phone but not on my laptop.

    Scunnard – Hey! Thank you! If it makes you happy then that makes me happy. Thank you!

    David Ehrenstein – They certainly are – they’ve been haunting my brain for years for a multitude of reasons, whatever they are. Thanks, David!

    John Christopher – Thank you!

    Jeff J – Hey! Thanks so much, Jeff. I really hope you enjoy the novel. Yeah the final few Sopranos feel so bleak – the whole colour palette of the show becomes so gloomy, these greys and dark blues. It feels like the wheels are really fucking falling off – heavy and depressing. I only first saw the show for the first time about a year ago – I was very late to the game, but it’s been a revelation for me.

    Sypha – Thank you, James. Thanks for always being so supportive. I hope you saw on Twitter that I loved Harlem Smoke. Thanks a ton, James. Hope you’re keeping safe and well amid the madness.

    Bill – Thanks you very much, Bill! That’s really kind of you and I’m glad you dug the post. And yeah – I feel incredibly lucky to have Michael Salerno’s artwork dressing my work – the cover has definitely caught some eyes!

    Misanthrope – Thank you, George! I hope stuff is good with you. Do you still have the same email and everything? It’s been way too long.

    Derel McCormack – Thank you, Derek! Wow – thanks for grabbing the book. I really hope you like it. I can’t wait for your new book – it sounds fucking incredible. I will wait, though, only because I have no other option. But it will be fidgety waiting! And yeah, I believe I am quoted in Diarmuid’s book – I’m not sure what, but I’ve ordered it so hopefully my copy will drop through the letterbox soon. Really excited about that book.

  11. @ Thomas, I sprang for this one from the very get-go and cannot wait to receive it. Really enjoying the behind-the-scenes material here. I know Morgan from Yuck ‘n Yum has also ordered to her Florida address.

  12. Hi!

    Thomas, huge, huge congratulations!! As soon as I get something resembling a paycheck, I’ll order Alone – first thing; I’m super curious! ’til then, thank you so much for this fascinating behind-the-scenes post!

    Hey, Dennis! I just finished Withdrawn Traces (one of the Richey Edwards books we’ve talked about). I’m still forming my full opinion. I definitely liked that it had lots of letters and diary entries I haven’t seen before along with a few new photos. I think the authors were quite enthusiastic about their research and ideas too. However, it was a little too speculative for my taste and I often had the feeling that they tried to prove their point by selecting a few very specific journal entries, etc. which obviously fit the cause but represented only minuscule shards of Richey’s full archives. All in all, I’d say it’s worth a read, though, especially if someone’s as obsessed as me.
    How was your meeting with Gisele? And how was your whole entire weekend? It’s been raining both days here, everything’s grey and dark.

    Oh, what a pity about Eddie Furlong, right? Love with a heart-shaped birthmark on his left thigh, D.!

    P.S.: I’ve never karaoke’d either! I can’t say I wasn’t tempted on a few not-too-sober occasions but I’ve never actually done it. I don’t think at least, haha.

  13. Thomas, If you see this -and I hope you do- yes, same email and everything. Would be great to re-connect. I was just telling some friends here in Maryland about us going to that Animal Collective concert in Paris. 😀

  14. _Black_Acrylic – Hey Ben! Ah wow, thanks so much for grabbing it so quick. Super excited that you’re gonna read it and nervous now hoping that you’ll enjoy it! Really hope it hits the spot! And pass my thanks to Morgan, too!

    Dominik – Cool! Thank you! Interesting sneaking a listen at your comment to Dennis about the Richey Manic book, too …

    George – cool, gotcha. That was a great gig. I think they were definitely in their prime at that point – I haven’t dug their stuff of late as much.

  15. Congrats, Thomas! You listed a great collection of influences, especially those doomed young actors.

    Movie theaters may reopen in New York in August. The new Christopher Nolan is supposed to come out July 31st, and it’s slated to be the first post-COVID blockbuster. In other parts of the US, they seem to be opening next month, possibly at 25% capacity. But I wonder if anyone will wear a mask indoors for 2+ hours in the dark.

    There’s been a surprising positive effect; with few Hollywood films being released during lockdown and the usual “one week in New York, then one week in L.A., playing a dozen cities over the next few months, then video release” pattern broken, independent films have received far more press and exposure. Dan Sallitt’s FOURTEEEN has been streaming for 5 weeks in 88 North American theaters. It was originally scheduled to play BAM for a week. The idea that there’s one “important” release each week, usually a Hollywood movie or at least a high-profile English-language film, that the media needs to cover has been challenged. But I’m sure things will go back to “normal” when the movie theaters open up.

  16. Congratulations again, Thomas! Fantastic it’s finally out. Can’t wait. I love what you’ve done with this post too. My has shipped to Tokyo! Also Diarmuid’s ‘Wrong’ on the way (like Derek – love the sound of your new one too btw!) What a pair…

    Dennis, hope things are good! Yes, Fog Machines always need life! Things creeping back to normal-ish here. Still online for the semester. I think I meant to say before, I’m teaching at a university, mainly English academic skills, but will be running a creative writing course next semester. We’re half way through a 12-week reduced online semester. Kind of exhausting figuring out at the start of ok now. got to get to zoom now… 

    Love to all xx

  17. Corey Heiferman

    June 15, 2020 at 7:05 am

    Today the stars have aligned and comments are fully visible!

    Congratulations, Thomas. What’s the back story on that Phoenix-Wheaton GIF? Must’ve been quite the creative process at the ad agency to come up with that creepy AIDS public service announcement.

    @Jeff J Is the Benning/Gordon “United States of America” available in decent quality somewhere online that won’t destroy my computer? Thanks.

    @Bill Thanks for the Cecilia Condit rec. I will check out.

    Dennis, I bet you know a lot more French than you think you do. I think I somewhat get your feelings of regret. I’ve spent years regretting not having learnt it at school so I figure even slow baby steps will at least stop the regret from festering and turn it for the better.

    The hiring manager responded to me at the tech company that makes a remote work platform. Said she’d talk to HR. I have a good feeling about this one so here’s hoping.

    Gosh is it the 15th already? I stopped a regular porn habit since the last slave post so I expect them to make even more of an impression.

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