The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Please welcome to the world … Thomas Moore Your Dreams

Artwork by Michael Salerno


“I’m so close to falling apart. Fuck it. Who isn’t?”

Thomas Moore’s latest novel Your Dreams, the follow-up to 2021’s devastating Forever, is a visceral yet contained inquiry into the endless need to be understood. Eavesdropping on a debate about cancelled bands, listening to a close friend’s explanation of his disturbing desires, facilitating a conversation about kinks at a party until it goes wrong, Moore’s narrator is less of a character than a witness of desperate disconnection. Your Dreams, despite its impulse to hide, faces the reader head-on in an intimate unmasking, still grasping for closeness in a world of limits.

“Simple words. Deep emotions … beyond prose to another plane. Openness that pours through you.”
Jack Skelley, The Los Angeles Review of Books

“Thomas Moore is one of the best writers the world has in stock.”
Dennis Cooper


Your Dreams – in conversation

An exclusive interview with Thomas Moore about Your Dreams, conducted by the incredible writer, Nate Lippens:

Fantasy and desire are central to the book, and this leads to questions of consent, abuse, and freedom and about what happens when fantasy spills into the real world or causes harm. This feels like a theme that threads through all your work but becomes explicit here. Was there a catalyst for this?

Yes, you’re right it’s definitely been a theme before, and it’s an area that I’ve thought a lot about over many years, but this time for whatever reason it just seemed to feel like the right thing to bring to very front of the work. I’m not sure what made me decide to make it such a key part to the book this time – it was a conscious decision, but I can’t remember if there was a specific catalyst for that. Once I made that decision though, I did have some in depth conversations with a few people about it. It just seems like this really rich area of thought for me, and my ideas about it change all the time and also there are just so many aspects of it … and once you start bringing other people and their ideas and experiences of fantasy versus reality into things, you’ve suddenly got a million different things sparking at once.

There’s a dreaded meeting with John, a longtime friend, that includes an incredibly disturbing conversation. The narrator attempts to get an honest answer and then the answer is so honest, so set in its own logic, it ends communication. The revelation of John’s true self is too much.

Yeah, that’s an important part of the book, I think. It kind of sets off a load of questions that kind of bounce around from that point onwards. And I guess that’s the thing – when you’re trying to align fantasy and reality it can be very difficult in a lot of ways. Sometimes the two are a lot further apart than people think they are.

Afterward the narrator briefly interrogates the way certain artists and writers talk, hewing close to ambiguity, eschewing definitions, embracing unknowability. That approach to language and knowledge can be freeing but also in dire moments where things need to be spoken and confronted grounded in the world, it can be frustrating, or even moral agnosticism that permits the horrific. Later, the narrator’s friends describe their sexual fantasies and one of the friends is shouted down by another for hers.

I was interested in the idea of speaking something – you know – like, the moment when something that is an idea is shared and goes from being this private moment to something that is suddenly heard by others. When something is so personal and private, there’s no way of promising that other people will think of it, perceive it, see it, react to it in the same way that the person voicing it might hope, that is if they can even articulate it in a way that fully gets across their idea, because again – when something is not really intended to go outside of the thoughts of the person thinking it – how can it really be explained fully with just language. Then there is the idea added on of people wanting to police what other people think. The idea of whether or not the mind is a free space or not.

At the beginning of Your Dreams, the narrator expresses anticipation, fear, and numbness. He wants diminishment––“Maybe I’m craving for life to be less important right now. Maybe I don’t want things to count as much as they do.”––and nothingness. Both Forever and Your Dreams have a desire for the annihilation of oversized emotions or at the very least containment. The language, your syntax, creates this high tension between too much and too little. I’m wondering how you arrived at that, was it a process or was it more fully formed?

I’m definitely interested in trying to express or communicate hyperemotionality. I also interested in how hard it is to do that well, and I like the idea of therefore flattening it out and using that to make this tension that I find really fascinating for reasons that I don’t think I could explain. I think a lot of that is instinctual, really. It’s there, and I don’t know why, and I don’t know if I feel too inclined to unpick it.

The narrator observes his own and other people’s performances of their selves, the ones they present to the world and the ones they construct just for themselves. When he meets up with a queer artist he’s been in communication with online, he notes, “there doesn’t seem to be any disparity between the online and the real self.” He seems surprised by this. Accustomed to the mask or the split. The encounter is a sweet reprieve from the anxiety that’s consuming him.

You’re the first person to pick that moment out, which is cool and nice to see. Thank you. Yeah, sometimes we have these moments when things just seem to click naturally, and there’s no other cultural baggage getting in the way of stuff. I think they can be quite rare. I think sometimes if we are still, we can have these moments where we just exist and things happen and we are right there in the moment of it, not overthinking anything from the outside. I think it’s a pause that the book needed at that point, too.

Sightseeing in New York City, the narrator goes to the Christopher Street Piers, once home of infamous 1970s cruising spots. “Google lets me know which one is probably the most important to me.” It’s funny and also true, the vanished worlds, especially queer, especially around gay sex and cruising. This is also something that appears in Forever and Alone, seeking for primacy not just personally and sexually but also historically. I have a similar preoccupation, so I’m wondering how it’s shaped your life and your writing.

Oh, I mean, just certain points of queer history, and my imagination of what they might have been like– have also haunted me and inspired me, and for whatever reasons have ended up in my work. Artists from those periods have been very important to my work. And for this book it felt like it all linked in because I’m dreaming of these places and times where I never was, so again it’s this version of fantasy versus reality. My imagination rather than memory. And then memory itself versus reality – memory isn’t real either, memory is just a reconstruction anyway. And then with reality – how large a role is perception in any of this? What is actually real?

At the Piers, the narrator expresses ambivalence about community and describes how the gay scene was repulsive and reductive to him when he was younger, especially assimilation and consumerism and the body fascism of the ‘90s. Then he has a whole fantasia of men fucking that ends abruptly with a man tutting at him lighting a cigarette. It’s so perfect to how sanitized and moralized and monetized queer culture is now. Simultaneously there’s a vilification of trans people and the ugly return of the Christian trope of gays as groomers. What do you make of the moment we’re in?

I guess I was just thinking about the difference of being young then, when the idea of community and assimilation seemed like the boring thing to do. It was the people on the outside of it all who attracted me. Now, for a number of reasons, a lot of the narrative seems to be about fitting in and acceptance and all of that stuff. I’m not casting a judgement – it’s complicated. The moment we are in? I don’t know. I’m always loathe to try and sum things up because I like to think that things are constantly changing. A man jogging did tut at me on the piers though. That much is real.

I know you work instinctively and intuitively but you’ve mentioned that when writing In Your Arms and Alone you had the final lines and wrote toward them, but with Forever you didn’t know the final lines until you got to the end of the book. What was the process like for Your Dreams? Were there different devices or stylistic choices than your other books?

With Your Dreams, no, I didn’t have the final lines until towards the end. With this one the process was that I had a number of ideas that I wanted to address and I tried writing scenes that involved them. I had a constant running list in my head of stuff like brain vs body, dream vs real, awake vs asleep, and on and on. I tried to find ways to tick off as many from the list as I could but also not get stuck in this very obvious repetitive thing so that the narrative could keep some kind of propulsion.

I hesitate to give too much away, but there’s a section where the narration jumps to third person and a kind of direct self-recrimination/self-exposure. It’s what someone might call brutally honest and it shifts what has come before. First-person is often considered more intimate and direct, but this chapter has an excoriation that wouldn’t be possible as an “I.” It’s confrontational. How did you decide to do that?

I felt like that was the most natural way to go after all the stuff that had come before it – the overarching writer and what has been written: the ultimate fantasist and fantasy – me and my work. And again, it’s messing around with what is fake and what is imaginary and what is real and all of that. And it’s also a total change to anything that I’ve done before so I think that it really gives this jolt that hopefully people will feel – I think it was probably important to have something like that after dealing with the inside of the mind and daydreams and stuff for so long.

You address the label transgressive in that chapter and the author––who I’m still calling the narrator, rather than a one-to-one with you––dismisses it as a matter of course but being driven by a need to shock. I hadn’t thought of your work as shocking. It creates an extreme intimacy with the reader, an identification, which because of the emotions being described can be disturbing or upsetting––though for me, I find them to be freeing. The expression of honesty we’re all trained to stifle and to fear feels radical to me. What’s your relationship to shock value and transgressive art?

No, I never think of my work as shocking. I used that idea in this chapter because I was thinking about the idea of art being misunderstood, or simplified or when people just take things on surface value. I’ve seen that happen a lot of artists that I really like – I find pieces of work that I think are really deep and interesting and have this complex mixture or amazing things happening inside them – and then just because of the surface or the most obvious skin that the piece wears, people sum them up really crudely and miss the point. It was important for the work to be attacked in some way by this point in the book, so I felt like calling is “shocking” or implying that it was designed “to shock” felt like a pretty nasty and dumb insult to throw at it. The book is all about thoughts being misunderstood so it kind of made sense to me at the time.


Photos I took in New York

The first section of New York is set in New York. Here are some photos I took in New York in October 2022. Some of these are very relevant to images I was thinking about in Your Dreams.


Some clues that might help you unlock Your Dreams:

Fantasy VS Reality
Fake VS Real
Fake VS Impression
Impression VS Act
Act VS Tribute
Real VS Tribute
Real VS Acting
Body VS Brain
Brain VS Mind
Cartoon VS Real
Dream VS Real
Dream VS Nightmare
Pain VS Pleasure
Porn VS Sex
Masturbation VS Sex
Thinking VS Doing
Legal VS Illegal
Action figure VS Character
Character VS Actor
Writer VS Written
Written VS Read
Book VS Reader
Reader VS Writer
Touch VS Look
Documentary VS Movie
Scripted VS Unscripted
Improvised VS Planned
Thought VS Spoken
Internal VS External
Shared VS Private
Imagination VS Real
Online VS Offline


Read an extract from Your Dreams


Buy Your Dreams

Buy the USA edition of Your Dreams (paperback, comes with 3 exclusive art cards by Michael Salerno):

Buy the UK/EU edition of Your Dreams (hardback edition):

Further links:

Amphetamine Sulphate:


Thomas Moore @ Instagram:

Thomas Moore @ Twitter:

Thomas Moore @ Goodreads:




p.s. Hey. This weekend the blog assigns itself the joyful task of being a doormat for the new novel by Thomas Moore. Thomas has been a distinguished local of this blog for, gosh, years and years, and it’s such a thrill to see his work being given the recognition and respect it’s deserved for ages. If you’ve read his earlier novels, you know, and if you haven’t, maybe start here? Enjoy, and thank you so much, Thomas, for thinking of sharing the great news with this place. ** Mark, Very true about Printed Matter. I’ve often wished it had outposts all over. Quimby’s in Chicago at least used to be an excellent zine supporter/stocker. Yeah, not for a while re: Tom of Finland, but I’ve had a bunch of friends who worked there, so I’ve penetrated it on occasion, ha ha. Totally, about the Beats as a stepping stone. I have a lot of friends who had the same experience. I just happened to find the kind of work I was really drawn to before I checked out the Beat guys. I tend to like the first, oh, ten or or pages of Kerouac novels, or his prose at least, but then I get tired of it. ** _Black_Acrylic, Early Kusama is definitely her best work by far, if you ask me. I had a crush on Dexter Fletcher back in the ‘Caravaggio’ era, but he has one of those Mick Jagger faces that didn’t age prettily. ** Mieze, Hi, Mieze! So wonderful to see you! ‘Dick around’, right, damn, that post could have been so much rangier if I’d had my head screwed on. Yep, seeing Sparks on, mm, I think the 13th. I haven’t seen them live in ages. Well, I hope you come across a pot of gold at the very least on one of your walks. Thanks about the film, and the warmest hugs to you, my pal. Love, me. ** Misanthrope, Urgh. Yes, attend to that now, Georgy, *rausch* It’s pretty sunny here, so I suspect RG will play out. I’ll remember to turn on the TV later. I’m going to try to enjoy the outdoors this weekend since we have a two-day editing break. Great luck with yours. ** Darbz 🐘🎪, Hi! No, I didn’t hear about the little elephant. In Hawaii? I can almost imagine it having a successful escape there. Yeah, I used to spend summers in Hawaii (Maui) when I was a teenager, and my dad lived there (Oahu) in his later years, so I’d go over to visit him. I know embarrassingly little French. I understand it sort of a little, at least when I read it, but when people speak I kind of get it at first but then my brain gets tired. ‘Laika’s Window’ is a nice title. Maybe I’ll seek it out. Yes, feel free to ask me whatever you want, yes. I definitely consider us to be friends. I feel like you can trust me, but that’s something only can you ascertain. Really big things? Well, tell me what if you want and when you want if so. Day like a day with a million days inside it. ** Jack Skelley, Dear Liam Gallagher, How is it that you can be so minusculey talented and such a lunkhead and yet be very funny in your interviews? You met Dave Davies! That’s so cool! On the other hand one of the big reasons why ‘Susannah’s Still Alive’ is such a good song is because of that killer piano riff that Ray Davies supposedly added to it. Tim was in seminary in his later years, yeah. He even gave up poetry for while in the heat of that. FOKA time! A very original post! I’m slobbering over here. Love, your only slightly less minusculey talented brother Noel Gallagher. ** David Ehrenstein, Dickies ** Bill, Thank you. I didn’t know that Lenk mural existed until it popped up in my search. Yes, I did an attempted google search on Enya, and of course you-know-who was all that came up. We’re up to just about 60 minutes in the edit now. But it’s a really early edit, tons to do. Did you get to any of those events since we last spoke? ** bruno msmsmsm, Hi, bruno! Thanks for coming back! I’m doing pretty well at the moment. I strongly suspect you’re not so ordinary, and you don’t seem remotely boring in any case. Thank you about my work and my blog, and about my taste. I imagine yours is pretty stellar too. Yes, I make films with my collaborator Zac Farley, and we just finished shooting our third film, title: ‘Room Temperature’, and now were editing it. Kisses back from the self-styled city of love Paris. How was your weekend? ** Steve Erickson, Ah, well, that explains it. Ultimately it sounds like a positive break. Yeah, when I shared yesterday’s post on FB, I used what I thought would be an image that evaded their algorhymthic spy — that image of the dick dressed up as Mussolini — but FB immediately killed it and warned me, so I had to use the pretty much only dick-less image in the post instead. We’re taking this weekend off from editing. Everyone, Three takes by Mr. Erickson re: three cultural items this weekend: (1) His review of Abel Ferrara’s PADRE PIO, (2) his review of Romance’s two albums of 2023, and his review of King Krule’s new album SPACE HEAVY. ** Kettering, Hey, Kettering. ** Nasir, Hi. I’m happy you returned. Yeah, I wouldn’t know what to say here either, but luckily I mostly get to answer questions. Thank you so much about my work. Opening you up creatively is really the ultimate thing I could possibly hope for. I have seen ‘The Dreamers’; but not since it was first released. I’ve actually been thinking I should rewatch it. I love Bertolucci’s early films. Is ‘The Dreamers’ a favorite of yours? Have a fine weekend. ** Right. Mr, Moore will take good care of your eyesight and related brain areas this weekend if you allow him to. See you on Monday.


  1. Charalampos

    Big Woo for the Thomas novel spotlight – l am going to read asap. Dennis, what are your favourite Bertolucci films? l have soft spot for Partner – with cutest couple Pierre and Tina

    lf you have some l must absolutely see tell; l was very saddened by the death of Fassbinder regular actress Margit Carstensen. l will watch The Third Generation tonight. The opening titles alone featuring clip from Le Diable probablement are something else

    Good vibe from Crete

  2. T. J.

    Already read and dug Your Dreams recently! Also very saddened by Cartensen’s passing. Big fan of Fassbinder’s MARTHA. I took some blurry pics of my laptop playing JAWS 3-D that look cool last night so that’s where I’m at. Hope you’re editing is going well.

  3. Dominik


    What an absolute treat this post is! Thank you, Dennis, for sharing! And thank you and congratulations, Thomas! Instant buy.

    I’m back from Vienna for a few days. Everything went really well – we’ve got the apartment all to ourselves now, and we managed to deal with most of the bureaucratic crap we had to. We’re moving in next Wednesday. It feels pretty surreal and exciting. I still expect my usual anxiety to creep up on me at some point, but as we were criss-crossing the city, I felt this sense of… “rightness.” It felt good to be there.

    How was your meeting with Puce Mary? It’s super exciting that she’s making the music and sounds for the house! And how’s the editing going?

    Thank you for your love; the sun almost did feel like a roving spotlight! I’m going back to the latest slave post I missed for today’s love. So: love who’s a sadist brute but he feels in love with you inside him like deep inside, Od.

  4. Jack Skelley

    Whoa! Sir Thomas Moore AND Nate Lippens (not to mention Philip Best/AmphSulph) — congratz to all. You excel yourself, Thomas, w/ each spare-yet-sparkling iteration!! Dennis, yes, International FOKA Launch Day is Tuesday. But let’s just denote all of June FOKA month. I’m collabbing w/ Lydia Sviatoslavsky on a multi-media performance of FOKA in NY and L.A. These images can be part of exclusive DCBlog thang if you so desire. Re; The feuding Gallaghers: Gallagher the “comedian” also has a brother who subs for him on stage. Enjoy the editing. Don’t leave it all on the cutting room floor. xoxox Jack

    • Thomas Moronic

      You’re so kind. Massively appreciated. Thanks again, Jack xx

  5. Mark

    Your Dreams is on my reading list. I just finished Wojnarowicz’s Close to the Knives. Did you know DW, or cross paths with him at all?

    I worked and lived at the Tom Foundation for several years and am still quite involved with them. There are several of my works in the collection. Who did you know there? I assume you’ve met Durk? They are producing a number of international events these days. And they have a very active and interesting artists’ residency program. This issue of My Gay Eye features a good cross section of the collection of Tom’s work and the work of hundreds of other artists.

    I’m dabbling in the queer zine space these days. Have you seen this doc? Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution (2017) It’s pretty rad! It was written and directed by my friend Yony Leyser.

  6. l@rst

    Hey Dennis!
    Big Congrats TM!

  7. myneighbourjohnturturro

    Dennis! Howzit? Been far too long. How have you been? I became a lurker again, dunno why. I’ve ordered Thomas’ novel, had almost forgotten it was out, he writes beautifully. Such a nice dude too. Very excited about the new film. Do you think it is likely to get a release in the UK? Been some great albums out this year? I guess your Mine for yours will be up soon…

    • Thomas Moronic

      Hey! Thanks for ordering! Hope you’re doing good.

  8. _Black_Acrylic

    Thomas is a valued friend of Yuck ‘n Yum and he contributed some delightful haiku to our recent show in Seattle. His new volume seems essential and will be picked up very soon.

    I saw Jarman’s Caravaggio film yesterday and thought it was very great. I was after a decent biography and was looking at Peter Rob’s M. It’s been heavily trashed by various art historical types, but I really have no problem with that.

    • _Black_Acrylic

      Leeds United update: Big Sam has left the club. He played 4 games and got 1 point, got the team relegated and trousered £500,000 for his efforts. Nice work if you can get it!

    • Thomas Moronic

      Thank you, Ben. Much appreciated!

  9. Jamie

    Hey Dennis, how are you?
    Of course I’m going to buy this book. Thomas Moore is hands down one of my favourite writers.
    Amazing work with the editing. Forty minutes in less than a week seems like miracle working to me. I hope your pace keeps up and you continue to be pleased with what you’ve got. Sounds like RT is aligning pretty well, from where I’m standing/sitting.
    You’re right about essays being hard. I kind of jumped in at the deep end with a can-do attitude, which slipped by the end of the week but is rekindling this weekend. I’ve been devouring essays by Dodie Bellamy and Chelsea Hodson and they’re giving me more of a feel of freedom in what an essay can be and do. Dodie B in particular is unbelievably good.
    How was your weekend? I’ve got impetigo on my face and have been staying home feeling like the Elephant Man, but it’s good for keeping working.
    Sleeping like a normal person love,

    • Thomas Moronic

      Hey Jamie – that’s so nice and cool of you to say – thank you!

  10. David Ehrenstein


  11. Misanthrope

    Yay! for Thomas. He’s such a STAR!

    Dennis, Yeah, I was outside most of the day yesterday. Got a little sunburnt. Just a little. I wanted to get a little sun, so I wore a tank top. My friend’s son scored a goal. The kids were great. And I ran into a coworker from 15 years ago and we picked up like we’d just seen each other the day before. He plays tennis, so we might get together and play sometime.

    Thanks. Yeah, I gotta get it taken care of. Beyond just the physical aspect of this—the mesh ripping further or ripping off and going places it shouldn’t—is the chance of infection, which could lead to a whole host of problems. I just gotta schedule it around my mom’s oral surgery.

    Hope your weekend was good too. I go into the office tomorrow, so my day’ll be truncated a bit. Family game night didn’t help much either…think I got to bed at 3 a.m. 😀

    • Thomas Moronic

      Thank you George! Hoping all is well with you, mister W xoxo

  12. Bill

    Congratulations on the new book, Thomas. Hope my copy with Michael’s cards arrives soon!

    Caught a program of Simon Liu shorts. I like how the images and sound work together, though a lot of his footage and processing is not terribly surprising. Yesterday I went to the local carnivorous plant society meeting for the first time in years. I entered one of my plants in the competition for the first time, and was shocked that I won a prize. Beginner’s luck, clearly.


    • Thomas Moronic

      Thank you for checking it out, Bill! And the cards are lovely x

  13. Kettering

    Mr. C— (sounds like a 70’s sit-com character, sorry ha sorry kindof great tho— “MisterCEE!”, like the janitor who pops in on the retiree to fix his toilet or the semi-cool teacher who represents the adult fringe in a world of teen-aged kids… What kind of sit-com character would you be? I share W. Koestenbaum’s ‘humiliation’ at ever having cut my teeth on sit-coms and other crap tv as a kid… too funny/gross/slightly enraging/funny/ha)—

    So everytime I go to post I find you have a bazillion folks to respond to so I delete delete delete! Ha-ha-Have a most wonderful day, Sir. -k

    • Kettering

      P.S. Fell asleep to “Toby Dammit” last night and had the most wonderful dreams… That airport sequence is better than chocolate (and Terrence Stamp… mmmm… yum./// bxt him and the blazingly gorgeous girl who towed my car yesterday I think I was set-up for the best mind-cinema soporifics ever/// sigh…). Have you seen TobyD? I need to again but I do like Fellini and your Delphine Seyrig post led me to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie which led to the Toby. I love watching movies in languages I can’t entirely interpret… you’d mentioned your mind gets some spoken French and then tires out but isn’t that a little like reading JJoyce or Bernhard? Isn’t there something really great about letting go?
      Whoops. I did it anyway. Posted. Sorry! I’m right here right now sending waves and waves of lovely pink energy your way! Have a great day! -k.

      • Kettering

        Thomas Moronic is Thomas Moore?!
        Sir! I listened to the most wonderful interview you did just the other evening (listening, not the interview itself)– I had no idea you were “you”! Your writing seems to approach such a subtle aspect of being– loneliness, yes, and solitude, but the self as a complex of being moving under the surface of the world (like a snake, shedding; the dead skin goes semi-transparent and you see the body moving underneath, working it’s way out… ). Oh wow! I really hope you see this. I will probably start reading “Alone” first as it’s been on my list for a while, but I so look forward to reading “Your Dreams” as well. SO exciting! -k.
        P.S. Your photos above are killer. Esp. the last, of the city from the plane– you can’t even really discern what is earth-bound and what is sky… wow—

  14. Tea

    Your Dreams was the last book I finished and I loved it, especially the ending. Thomas Moore has a way of saying almost exactly what I think on the page, it’s kinda eery, haha. Lots of those passages really stuck with me.

    • Thomas Moronic

      Tea – I just read that at 5:47am and it was a lovely way to start the day! Thank you so much for the kind words. You’ve already made my day!

  15. Thomas Moronic

    Dennis. Thanks so much for posting this. And for just being you. I’ve thanked you so many times for so many things over the years – you are continually so kind and supportive and cool. I never forget any of this, man. Love, me xoxo

    • Kettering

      Mr. Moore– I only realized so very late that you are who you are… I posted to you as a second P.S. above– really want you to know how important your voice is in the world…-k.

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