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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Spotlight on … B S Johnson Trawl (1966)

 

‘If anyone knows anything about BS Johnson these days, it is that he was – cue polite sniggers – avant-garde. Or, if that is too French for you, experimental. He cut holes into the pages! He put unbound sheets into a box and invited us to read them at random! He thought he had found a way forward for fiction after the seemingly unanswerable formal advances of Joyce and Beckett! He liked Joyce and Beckett!

‘It is, I suppose, just about possible to have some sympathy with such a middlebrow assessment. Joyce and Beckett’s advances weren’t just formal; they were linguistic. Language, not typography, was what they made dance to their command. For their self-proclaimed heir to use visual trickery may seem a cop-out, or a challenge whose rewards do not make it worth accepting.

‘That’s if you’ve only heard about the work, rather than held it in your hands. Just as it is a delight to see the black page and so on in Tristram Shandy (Laurence Sterne, more than anyone else, is Johnson’s true literary ancestor), so it is a delight to come across the page with a hole in it in Albert Angelo. But by that stage you will have noticed other attractions.

‘”If only they realised it was funny,” was Joyce’s complaint about those who complained about Ulysses . This is something that is regularly forgotten about so many of the notionally austere modernist writers: they are a hoot. It is the precise attention to detail and significance, and the profound acknowledgment of absurdity, that makes it so. And as Beckett, in particular, is funniest when writing about death, despair and futility, so is Johnson. Albert Angelo may be a bleak story, for it is about an architect who has to make ends meet as a supply teacher (which is also how he meets his end), but it has moments of comedy as good as anything produced in the past 50 years. The section devoted to the schoolchildren’s thoughts about their teacher (“the Boy’s including me just fuk about in class and take the mike out of him”) is Nigel Molesworth with menaces.

Trawl, too, is remarkable – easy on the modernist trickery, but a superb mesh of autobiography and farcical sex. (These two novels, first published in 1964 and 1966, give the lie to the idea of that decade as one full of easy sex. Sex in Johnson is a very frustrating business.) House Mother Normal, about the residents of an old people’s home, does make extraordinary use of blank space, random typography and the like – but that is Johnson’s way of representing minds disintegrating into nothingness.’ — Nicholas Lezard

 

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Further

The B. S. Johnson Society
B.S. Johnson @ New Directions
No More Lying: a Primer on the Novels of B.S. Johnson
Modernism’s suicide
B.S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates: Revisiting the Elegy
B. S. Johnson and the Big Stuff
B.S. Johnson Archive
. . . to B.S. Johnson
Book: Re-reading B. S. Johnson
Bloody Stupid Johnson
‘The Mind Has Fuses’: Detonating B. S. Johnson
B.S . Johnson @ The Complete Review
b.s. johnson, brutalist
Gimme Nonfiction
Forgotten authors No.40: BS Johnson
I Fail To Remember: B.S. Johnson Thirty Years On
Buy ‘Trawl’

 

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Extras


B.S. Johnson on Dr. Samuel Johnson (1971)


B.S. Johnson vs. Death


Hommage à B.S. Johnson

 

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‘What Do I Know About Beckett?’: B.S. Johnson’s Beckett Notebook

‘B.S. Johnson’s Samuel Beckett notebooks perform an act of remembering. Principally, Johnson wonders what it is possible for him to know about Beckett, an epistemological problem he tries to work out through writing. The scraps of paper and notebook entries show Johnson trying to remember all he can about his onetime friend and major influence: when he read his work, who he was with, what it meant to him at the time.’ — E&DB

 

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B S Johnson: ‘Britain’s one-man literary avant-garde’
by Tim Martin

 

I shall be much more famous when I’m dead,” BS Johnson told his agent the day before he committed suicide in 1973. Four decades on, in a year that marks both the 80th anniversary of his birth and the 40th of his death, it’s still hard to tell whether history has proved him right.

Despite a revival of interest after Jonathan Coe’s superbly perceptive and compassionate biography, Like a Fiery Elephant (2004), Johnson’s work remains overshadowed by its novelty value. Beyond a loyal cult readership and a hover of interested academics, he’s likely to be known, if at all, as the man who cut holes in the pages of his novel Albert Angelo to give the reader a glimpse of a forthcoming chapter, or as the writer of The Unfortunates, a box of unbound signatures (sections of the novel) intended to be shuffled and read in any order.

These and other techniques have led Johnson to be tagged as an “experimental” novelist, one of a group of Sixties authors providing a British riposte to the nouveau roman that Duras and Robbe-Grillet were exploring across the Channel. But though he admired the spirit of the British experimentalists, he considered himself to be from a more exalted tradition: as far as he was concerned, he was carrying the baton of Modernist technique that passed from Joyce, “the Einstein of English fiction”, onwards to Beckett. Critics who called him an experimentalist received stinging replies. “Certainly I make experiments,” he once wrote, “but the unsuccessful ones are quietly hidden away and what I choose to publish is in my terms successful… Where I depart from convention, it is because the convention has failed, is inadequate for conveying what I have to say.”

So what did B S Johnson have to say, and what have we been missing? This month is a good time to find out, as five of Johnson’s seven novels are being reprinted by Picador alongside a collection of journalism, plays and short stories. Meanwhile, the BFI is releasing You’re Human Like the Rest of Them, a disc collecting his several contributions to film and TV.

It adds up to the fullest picture in years of a man who at the peak of his career was, as Coe put it, “Britain’s one-man literary avant-garde”: a vigorously public poet, novelist, film-maker, playwright, sportswriter, editor and critic who turned out formally daring work at a remarkable rate and backed it with fanfares of unselfconscious boasting. It also reveals that the strengths of Johnson’s writing exist beyond – and often quite apart from – the technical gimmickry that has become his legacy.

In principle, at least, Johnson’s declared mission echoed the great Modernist cry to make it new. Politically socialist and from a working-class London background, he cultivated pithy distrust for the complacency of his novelist peers, “neo-Dickensian” writers, as he called them, who were using a 19th-century form to gratify the “primitive, vulgar and idle curiosity of the reader to know ‘what happens next’”. A truly modern novel would seek, in Beckett’s phrase, a form to accommodate the mess, stripping readers of their escapist illusions while remaining ruthlessly true to the writer’s experience.

This obsession with so-called narrative truth runs through Johnson’s work, accounting for its most unorthodox experiments as well as its greatest flaws. It fuelled the iconoclastic explosion near the end of his second novel, Albert Angelo, when in the middle of a paragraph Johnson hijacks his own narrative with an all-caps howl of “F— ALL THIS LYING!”, shelving the rest of the book in favour of an extended homily on the idea that “telling stories is telling lies”. It is everywhere in Trawl (1966), the third novel, which represented a quixotically dedicated attempt to “shoot the narrow trawl of my mind into the vasty sea of my past” by booking passage on a fishing boat to work and reflect (and, as it turned out, suffer ghastly seasickness) in elemental peace. This was the book that prompted Johnson’s publisher to ask him: “Aren’t you rather young to be writing your memoirs?” – a title he scathingly adopted for a later collection of stories.

In an age where postmodernism is a buzzword, it may already be hard to feel the full force of this furious conviction that we need our ideas on novelistic truth exploded. What makes it even harder is the suspicion that Johnson’s heart wasn’t always in it. “I hate the partial livers. I’m an allornothinger,” says the narrator in Albert Angelo, and Johnson’s mid-Sixties work can often resemble a man cornered in the blind alley of his own principles. The obsession with so-called literal truth, and the conviction that a text could convey it – “To the extent that a reader can impose his own imagination on my words, then that piece of writing is a failure,” he wrote – stand in stark contrast to the work of Derrida and Barthes, who by 1967 were both well advanced in undermining assumptions behind truth and textuality.

All this, combined with the corrosive line Johnson took against critics, has led to a school of thought that sees him merely as a self-promoting aesthetic conservative: there to wag his dogma and damn the consequences. As Coe showed in his biography, though, this position takes no account of the strange contradictions in Johnson’s nature. He was, after all, a deeply superstitious writer, whose professed belief in the inflexibility of truth was ensnared with the kind of personal peculiarities – a troubled credence for supernatural experience, an obsession with Graves’s The White Goddess, a conviction that he’d die young – that hardly accord with the functional rigour of his propositions. Little of this shows up in the books, and his readers might have been amused to learn that the BS Johnson who so stoutly maintained that “I don’t like writing fiction, I like writing truth” did so at a desk with a candle burning in a special holder and a Byronic cup made from a skull.

Seen against this backdrop, Johnson’s pronouncements on realism acquire an edge of concern, as though a sufficiently austere focus on principle, on nailing truth to the wall, might work as a defence against the unknown. Despite repeated assertions throughout the novels that “all is chaos”, their secret impulse was always towards order: even in The Unfortunates, whose unbound structure clearly aims to reflect some of the violent disorder of Johnson’s grief at the death of a friend, is carefully designed to make sense in any arrangement.

Certainly Johnson’s finest novels sprang from a temporary relaxation in his principles. House Mother Normal (1971) channelled his formal ingenuity into creating a superb textual illusion: it consists of eight 21-page monologues, describing a single evening from the viewpoint of the escalatingly decrepit inhabitants of a nursing home and bracketed by the testimony of their vicious and abusive House Mother. Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry, meanwhile, is a book-long streak of brilliant comic contempt, following an accounts clerk who develops his own system of moral debit and credit. It’s Johnson’s funniest and most bitterly satirical work, as Christie pays off the vast debts accrued by Society (“general educational trauma”, “Socialism not given a chance”) with a cheery campaign of slaughter and public bombing.

What prompted this fictional interregnum is unclear, but these two novels succeed because of their broad-mindedness, their anarchic willingness to hold conflicting ideas in suspension. Here, satirical pronouncements on the deceptiveness of the text (“It is a diagram of certain aspects of the inside of his skull! What a laugh!” observes House Mother) alternate with an infectious joy in the possibilities of form.

 

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Book

B S Johnson Trawl
Picador

‘The novel describes, in the first-person, a three-week voyage aboard a deep-sea fishing trawler in the Barents Sea, not unlike the one Johnson undertook in preparation to write the book. Isolating himself from the world he knows, as well as from the ship’s crew, the narrator reflects on past events and relationships, hoping for some kind of redemption. This convincingly authentic and harrowing attempt to get to the heart of the human condition is one of Johnson’s finest novels.

‘In his heyday, during the 1960s and early 1970s, B S Johnson was one of the best-known novelists in Britain. A passionate advocate for the avant-garde, he became famous for his forthright views on the future of the novel and for his unique ways of putting them into practice. Convinced that ‘telling stories is telling lies’ and that he should write about ‘nothing else but what happens to me’, Johnson produced Trawl.’ — Picador

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Excerpt

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Well, that’s a very different kind of bloody. Good bloody, though. The most I can imagine is kind of flipping through ‘Dhalgren’ to get a feel for how the prose works, which is what I do with novels that aren’t my thing a lot anyway. Gonna try to find a way to rewatch ‘Hallelujah the Hills’. It’s been forever enough that it’s mostly a blank. ** Tosh Berman, Yes, rarefilmm.com is a total treasure trove. Let me alert the others. Everyone, if you’re not already hooked up to rarefilmm.com, Tosh very wisely recommends it. It’s full of super interesting films from classic vintage stuff to obscure gems to charming artsy stuff, and it’ll help you with your lock-in, pretty much guaranteed. And it’s free! ** Dominik, Hi, Dominik!! Cool. You had a good day, it sure sounds like. I’m excited about it from over here at least. Yeah, do fight through the uncertainty with your drawings just as I’m doing with my GIF try-outs. Some of the best things start out rusty. My yesterday was odd. This is weird: Someone alerted me to these super far right, paranoid conspiracy people associated with that QAnon cult that have discovered my blog and are losing their shit and seem to think my blog is a just a cover for a child sex trafficking ring and other evil things, etc. So there was this whole thread on their Twitter going off about the evil of this place and that the deep state Illuminati are behind it and so on. Hilarious but very disturbing. I hadn’t investigated those types before, and, wow, they are seriously insane. Like they think the coronavirus is a hoax and conspiracy to cover for a massive child sex trafficking ring. They were going off about some tweet that Oprah Winfrey sent to a friend where OW told her friend she was sorry she didn’t send flowers on her friends birthday because the florists were closed, and the conspiracy freaks think ‘flowers’ was a code word for children and ‘florist’ was a code word for some organisation that sells children. It took a few hours to shake off the creeps those people gave me. So that happened. Took a walk. Macron extended our quarantine until May 11, fuck, so another month, and he says that on May 11 only schools and few businesses will open but that cafes, restaurants, museums, stores, etc. won’t open until mid-July! People are very pissed off, so I think/hope there’ll be enough pressure on the government that cafes, etc. will be allowed open a whole lot sooner. Ugh. And other than that I just fucked around with things, mostly. So not a hugely productive day, sadly. The very best of luck with maxing out all that yours has to offer. Ha ha. Love that is a secretly a code word for a vast conspiracy of feeling, Dennis. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. I agree about the obviousness of Serrano’s photos. Never been into his stuff much. I included them in the post just because they looked kind of technically gross/dreamy in the post’s context. ** Bill, Ha ha, yeah, I was seriously chuffed when I found that splatter class thing. Kind of put the nail in the post’s coffin, that entry. I have in fact seen ‘Violet’. You finally didn’t stump me. I really liked it too. Nice streamed events. We aren’t having anywhere near as many here in France as you would think, or I mean of that kind of music event, I don’t know why. Just lots of old French actors and singers reading poems and blah blah. ** Misanthrope, I do believe I’ve had solid sex where no blood was involved. Yeah, like I told Dominick, or as you might have heard, our lockdown will only slightly start ending on May 11, basically re: schools, with the reopening of things that actually count and make life feel like life not until July. But, as I also said to D., I don’t think the French are going to stand for it taking that long, so we will see. Total fucking misery. Sleep is definitely weird these days. Mine too. For pretty much everyone I know. ** Steve Erickson, I’m guessing ‘Afternoon’ will have to be an online hunt down thing, which is fine. Wow, ‘The Spook Who Sat By the Door’. It’s been so long since I saw it that I don’t remember a damned thing. Huh, maybe I’ll chase it down. Thanks. We’re having unseasonably warm weather here, which is making being indoors harder, of course. ** Right. Do you know the UK writer B S Johnson? Well, you’ve started to now, if you don’t already. Very interesting writer and guy. Rather overlooked outside of the UK. ‘Trawl’ might be my favourite of his novels. Have a look, won’t you? See you tomorrow.


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14 Comments

  1. Hi!!

    Jesus Christ, Dennis, these conspiracy theorists sound seriously freaky. This is extremely fucked up. The fact itself that they’re out there too but especially that they know about your blog and are talking about it – this must really feel very disturbing. Holy shit. And that Oprah Winfrey theory too… My god. I’m really sorry you had a reason to investigate at all… I hope they won’t harm your blog again! Shit…
    And double shit, it seems like – another month of quarantine too… And mid-July for all the fun places to start opening up again?! Oh no… That sounds very, very far away. I imagine we’re about to spend the whole summer in our rooms, then… Simply based on the fact that you’ve already been in lockdown when this whole shit started hitting us at all…
    Well, crap. I’m trying to think of something brighter to share but apart from a walk with my dog (during which she managed to eat someone’s shit in a bush) and a couple of new SCAB submissions (this counts as good news, at least!), nothing’s really happened yet. Here’s hoping that something will, something great now, in both of our worlds!
    Love that feels like walking into a sweet-scented café would feel right now!!

  2. B.S. Johnson is new to me. Merci. He reminds me a tad of Spike Milligan.

    “Hallelujah the Hills’ is available on DVD.

    Today is the 79th Birthday of My Favorite Actress of All-Time — Julie Christie

  3. Conspiracy theories can be odd things. I’ve been thinking on the topic recently, having replayed the computer game DEUS EX and also currently re-reading Grant Morrison’s INVISIBLES comic (both of which really tap into 1990’s paranoia/conspiracy theories: black helicopters, alien vivisections and UFO cover-ups, crop circles, secret death camps in America, things like that). I guess there was a time where such things were culturally kind of hip but now that they’ve been hijacked by the far right have become kind of lame? I don’t know.

    Heard your book news on Facebook, Dennis. Congratulations! Do you have any idea when the release date will be?

  4. Why are these nuts so focused on child-sex issues? It’s an odd sub-culture. It’s a world that I don’t want to be associated with. If only they spent their (way extra) time on rarefilmm.com!

    BS Johnson is fascinating. Jonathan Coe, the novelist, wrote an interesting biography on Johnson. So I read that, and tracked down his novels, which are not that easy to find, but some of his works came back to print. You can still get “Christy Malry’s Own Double-Entry, which is a really good book.

    The lock-down is really absurd, frustrating, and important. I’m fortunate to live and work in these times. It’s kind of amazing that I can track down a really rare album for not-that-much money through the Internet, yet, finding common Tiolet Paper is a hopeless cause. I just finally got through and got some supplies, but it took a lot of energy and time to do so.

    And your book! Congrats Dennis, this is wonderful news. Not only that but in France and Germany. I really want to get my memoir to France and Japan, but alas, it’s not that easy of a process. Other than that, stay indoors as much as possible, and be patient. Great things will happen to you.

  5. Hi, Dennis!

    I just found out on Twitter about the publication of ‘I Wished’! Huge congrats!! We needed some good news and this is terrific. It has made my day. I’m very happy for you! I can’t wait to read it. And what a beautiful title.

    Yes, this week people whose jobs are not essential and who can’t work from home are allowed to go back to work. Obviously, many are against this because it will probably lead to more cases in the following weeks. But as you say many businesses are struggling. And if people have no income whatsoever are going to suffer too. I don’t know, to be honest. It’s pretty bad whichever way you look at it. I’ve read your lockdown has extended to May 11. Ours is supposedly to end at the end of the month, but it’s going to be extended for sure. We started earlier than you guys in France. Anyway, it’s taking so long. For me, the worst is seeing nobody has a clue as to when things will start going back to normal. It sucks but I think we’ll have to be patient. Much love,

  6. Hi Dennis! I was so happy to see your announcement today. Congrats on selling the novel, what a wonderful acquisition! Soho Press is a cool press, I really enjoyed their 80s anthology. They’re lucky to have ya 😉 How are you feeling about it? Excited, nervous, anxious, relieved? Can’t wait to read the new book, I’m sure it’s gonna be terrific.
    As for me, I fell into a pretty bad slump last week. I got super feverish on Monday and Tuesday & had a really bad stomachache too. I finally got a covid screening & the test was negative. I think I definitely had it last month, because I was having a lot of trouble breathing & was super feverish, runny nose, sore throat, etc. I will say this from my experience, covid actually really sucks…And I’m young and in really good physical condition, my diet and exercise routine are in good shape & I don’t drink or use drugs. So if I was so horribly afflicted by it then I can only imagine how much worse it must be for the elderly, for people who struggle with substances, etc.
    But also, the weird thing is, I don’t think I’ve yielded any brilliant political or social insights from this experience. I actually am not sure if it’s the best idea to try & put forth any grand theories of coronavirus quite yet…I spoke to a former crush of mine last week too & he said something really smart: “I think artists should resist the urge to go into overdrive. This is a time when we need to unplug & slow down.” Lonely Christopher also said fuck productivity, look at what’s going on right now. What do you think? I had a lot of stuff I wanted to get done last week & because I was sick I got none of it done, which made me feel even worse. I just watched a lot of shitty TV in bed and didn’t shower. But my friends are right; if anything I realize I’m very very lucky to have smart friends in my life who “get it” on some level and who care about me.
    So yeah, again, congratulations with selling the novel, what a great ray of light in this bleak stretch of weeks. Looking forward to reading 🙂 Talk soon, Quinn R

  7. I looked up those QAnon conspiracy folks on Twitter and found one of the threads you mentioned. It’s really amusing how far their culture is from ours, where sex work, politically incorrect sexual fantasies, BDSM and using violent imagery in art are basically accepted. They take everything so literally when it’s obvious that the “slaves” tales of kidnapping have no connection to human trafficking. I saw that one of them picked up on a remark I made about the Satanic Temple doing a black mass at Anthology Film Archives where I suggested that they cast demons into the White House and took it totally seriously! I am proud to team up with Lucifer, Comet Ping Pong and John Podesta for some spirit cooking aimed at Trump right now! Seriously. do you think there’s any danger of these folks becoming a real threat to you and this blog?

    I never used to listen to the radio, but I’ve been tuning into WFMU a lot lately. Within the past half hour, the DJ has played the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Fugs, Capt. Beefheart, Brian Eno and ’70s Nigerian music, and it feels like listening to cool underground radio from that period. He has mentioned that he’s broadcasting from his kitchen. I have also gone back to the many complete John Peel shows posted on YouTube, although they were recorded off the radio back in then (the earliest one I’ve found dates from 1978) and are pretty low-fi. My big discovery was a No Wave/funk band called Eiti Fits, who did a session for his show in 1979 and released one 3-song EP. Also, a genius segue: Linton Kwesi Johnson into A Flock of Seagulls’ “DNA” into DNA’s “Blonde Redhead!”

  8. QAnon weirdos targeting a DC-style writer sounds both horrifying (for you and the blog community) and like the basis of a short story I would LOVE to read.

  9. happy belated easter dc!! congrats on making the qanon files. also wonderful to hear about the new novel, proper congratulations! any news on a uk release? (i’ll nab it from the US otherwise but yknow to make my life easier)

    i actually read Trawl back in uni, not that it was a taught thing. i don’t think i’ve heard or read Johnson’s name anywhere outside of a couple of websites talking about The Unfortunates… that whole crowd (except Ann Quin) are pretty out of fashion now it seems.

    i am of course quarantining, my jobs are shut until end of june — at least — though luckily i’m still getting paid, the big museums have good unions + are too in the public eye to fuck everyone over. UK-stuff is driving me crazy, lots of faux blitz-spirit Churchill nostalgia and the queen and the slow building of a police state. all of which are normal UK things, now that i think of it, just dialed up to max.

    i’m trapped with my mum and 100yrold grandma, which is… trying. but i’m managing. doing lots of gardening and cooking, reading a lot… The Ambassadors, Zazie in the Metro, a book on Forensic Architecture (which was mind-blowing, don’t know if you know of them but worth checking out). i even managed to write a half-decent short story! for a website, but it was too long for them, so now it’s in purgatory like everything else. my current creative project is to grow a beard.

    i hope you’re keeping sane or something close to it! and that you got your easter whatever-you-have-for-easter, chocolate, urbi et orbi etc. i’ll be back with all the news once something fucking happens.

  10. Hey Dennis – Enjoyed the BS Johnson post. I’ve only read ‘The Unfortunates’ which I adored and need to check out more of his work. I also didn’t realize he did enough film work for BFI to put out a set of it.

    BTW in ‘The Art of Cruelty’ you are mentioned twice, both times in passing and favorably.

    Recently watched ‘Chappaqua’ which is interesting b/c Robert Frank is the cinematographer and comes up with some terrific shots and wild superimpositions. Otherwise, thought the film was an indulgent mess.

    Much better was Iain Sinclair and Chris Petit’s first collab for the BBC ‘The Cardinal and the Corpse,’ a digressive film essay about criminal booksellers in the UK. Do you know it or their work together? I’ve been trying to track down their other films, esp. ‘Asylum’ and ‘The Falconer,’ for ages without luck. It’s on Rarefilmms.

    Congrats on the publication announcement. Very exciting!

  11. B S Johnson is another new name to me and he looks to be a very admirable person. A nice surprise, as it seems that until very recently he was just about erased from UK literature.

    Tonight the Dundee Critical Forum met up via Zoom to discuss Laura Mulvey’s theories of Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. 7 participants, it all went pretty well and I’m getting used to this new quarantined way of doing things.

  12. Dennis, Thanks for this intro -for me- to BS Johnson. Lovely initials, btw. I’d like to have those. GT just isn’t cutting it. I sound like a car enthusiast.

    Congrats on the official announcement of I Wished. Sorry about your editor, though…I’ve heard stories about that guy. 😀

    QAnon…hahaha. Remember a long time ago when I said I got lost in a rabbit hole for about 2 hours on Twitter and advised against anyone doing that? Yeah, it was a QAnon thing. Interesting how they think you make foam mutilated corpses and sell them for $1,200 a pop. Yeah, I did a little research. Saw Steve’s comment included too. One guy was like, “Um, even if this is fake and just dummies, you gotta be a sick pervert to even think about it!” Really? Now you can’t even think about something or make Art about it? Yikes. I hate that kind of shit.

    I think it’s going to be very possible to open thing up again and sooner rather than later. I think the public can do a decent job re: getting about without spreading shit all over the place now that we have some info about what’s what. And if people don’t want to go out, then they don’t have to. But I guess part of the problem still is that the data and info is soooo incomplete. We really need a big push on the sero testing to get a better grasp on how far this has actually spread and what the real mortality rate is. Only testing the really sick isn’t going to cut it.

  13. Hi there, hardstrange time for all of us.
    Wonder if you have written about Catherine Breillat?

  14. I have a copy of THE UNFORTUNATES sitting on the shelf in my living room right now. It might finally be the time to pick the guy up, I had no idea about anything non-loose about him. Insane about that QAnon shit and this site. Curious where they source this stuff, how they perpetuate this to others, etc, really crazy stuff. Sorry to hear about the extension of the French lockdown. Ours is scheduled to end on April 22 but I’m unsure how likely that really is. Our numbers are starting to look really good but I think the government are likely to aim for total elimination before opening back up considering how close we are. It’s hard to say. I’ve actually found this whole lockdown thing rather productive and calming, though just in the last two-three days I’ve been rather miraculously, insanely irritable, not coping well at all. ‘School’ starts back online on Monday so that should keep me largely preoccupied in the meantime, but it’s very difficult to imagine functioning anywhere near as well as before this all started happening. I’ve used the lockdown period to get ahead on some of the work, at least, so I should be more ahead than most students, but it’s a really difficult time and the romanticism that surrounds academia is all crumbling as the romanticism surrounding everything else crumbles too. Anthropology remains the world’s coolest area of study. I was trying to consume more media, but it didn’t really work. I read Tartt’s Secret History, finally, which was excellent, didn’t expect it to be so grisly and….Californian, but it’s wonderful, really, not my thing but really excellent stuff. Almost had me compelled to go write something more explicitly narrative than my recent efforts which is quite wild. In the next five days before school starts I’m planning to participate in the 48Hr filmmaking competition, and also record a set of monologue auditions for a theatre company over here. Who knows when things will reopen though, it’s a very strange and odd and difficult time.

    Congratulations about the news on I WISHED, too, by the way. I can’t wait to read it. SOLA VIRGO is now entirely, 100% finished on my end, so it’s just a waiting game until the ASulphate printers can open back up and start shipping out, and obviously mine won’t be for quite a while – Bladh, Peterson, McCarville etcetera still to release before it. No worries, I’m excited for the entire line-up and am working on a certain something for maybe-their-sci-fi-anthology as well, if it ends up working out, but it’s clunky as shit right now and very difficult to lubricate up, get working the way I want it to.

    J

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