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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Spotlight on …. Blake Butler 300,000,000 (2014)

 

‘I’ve been told a thousand times that I could change the world if I really wanted it. That I needed to change my attitude first. Change my perception of reality. It’s a piece of lazy and hollow advice that’s never lead to any world-changing endeavors from anybody I’ve ever known. It’s just a mantra that people chant to themselves, in order to feel different, enlightened. Blake Butler’s new novel 300,000,000 looking through the vapidness of contemporary living with weapons far more sharp and dangerous than cynicism. It’s a violently original thriller, a courageous literary novel and an abstract meditation on the thinness of the veil we call reality. It’s also the first literary event in the post-David Foster Wallace era. It’s a novel with fang and claws and it’s going to fuck you up.

‘Troubled police detective E.N Flood is in charge of the Gretch Gravey investigation. The man is charged with the murder of 440 people, including some of his own followers, teenagers looking for cheap drugs and quick thrills, who found a little piece of transcendence alongside the madman. Flood is going through the journals of Gravey, trying to find leads for his investigation, but what transpires of his researches is a madness that goes way beyond what you think madness can mean and what happens after that is a horror that goes way beyond what you think horror is. It’s not madness. It’s not horror anymore. It’s the end of the world as we all know and love it.

‘The first name that came to mind when reading 300,000,000 is Vladimir Nabokov. The structure is reminiscent of PALE FIRE (annoted text), which I believe served two purposes: 1) clue you in on the nature of Gretch Gravey’s crimes and 2) break your natural defenses to believe that Gravey is a meaningless madman, because the analyzed text is not insulated the person analyzing and eventually become part of the same reality. Detective Flood’s obsession with the Gravey case is going to reveal the true meaning of the cult leader’s action and as Flood starts losing perspective on his investigation and becomes a part of it, Blake Butler adds more investigation notes from different authority figures that give you a creeping sense of the endgame of Gretch Gravey’s ambitions.

‘What if I told you I was Gretch Gravey? That I was you and you were me. That everyone I killed was by your hands as I had moved inside you, or just the opposite: you through me. That Gretch Gravey was not a person but a feeling.

300,000,000 is an angry and terrifying novel, and I expect it to piss a lot of people off. It’s an all-out, metaphysical declaration of war against the notions of bullshit individuality that paralyzes most of Occidental society into self-indulgent beatitude. I consider myself an angry person in general and reading 300,000,000 had the energizing effect of an ice bath on me. The ambitions of Blake Butler with this novel go beyond the narrative realm, as exposed by the long, high-flying, scattered passages of abstract storytelling. 300,000,000 is meant to challenge the sense of false security and moral righteousness that you’ve been lulling yourself with. I would call it ”of Nietzschean ambition” but I don’t think Blake Butler is nearly as idealistic as Nietzsche.

‘I gotta say, it’s a complicated and fractured read. I had a couple of ”what-the-fuck-am-I-reading?” moments. 300,000,000 is that kind of novel, one that demands extra effort. If you can’t stomach abstraction and sudden thematic departure, you gotta know that this is heavyweight stuff. 300,000,000 comes full circle though. It’s not a vapid exercise in style, every detail matters and while you might find the conclusion to be a wild and chaotic departure from the original premise, your irritation might be rooted in the fact that you let your strong sense of morals dictate what you believe the conclusion of a thriller should be. Open up your mind and fall into Blake Butler’s abysss, I say. Salvation is not necessarily on the way up.

‘Every time something terrible happens in North America, some pundit is going to play the ”meaningless violence” card and renounce the duty of trying to understand the crawling oblivion. Enter Blake Butler, literary alpha dog, and 300,000,000, a novel of systematic violence and apocalypse that’s inspired by Vladimir Nabokov, Georges Bataille, James Ellroy and Sigmund Freud. Your excuse not to look into the abyss is invalid. Your faith in the fabric of reality is based on empty promises. 300,000,000 is a middle finger raised at the status quo and I fully expect the righteous to raise pitchforks at it. I also expect it to forever change the way we talk about violence in literature.’ — Dead End Follies

 

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Further

Blake Butler @ Twitter
G D C S + S W D P
Blake Butler’s articles @ VICE
Blake Butler @ Harper Perennial
‘Blake Butler’s Waking Life’
Blake Butler’s articles @ Fanzine
Blake Butler inteviews Brian Evenson @ BOMB
‘For author Blake Butler, it’s an abstract world’
Podcast: Blake Butler interviewed by Brad Listi
Blake Butler ‘Insomnia Door’
‘I Do Love God’ by Blake Butler
‘Bleak House: Blake Butler taps into suburbia’s gothic undercurrents’
Blake Butler and Sean Kilpatrick talk
Book Notes – Blake Butler “Sky Saw”
‘A Ribbon of Language: Blake Butler’
‘The Situation in American Writing: Blake Butler’
’13 Inspiring Quotes From Blake Butler’s “Sky Saw” That Will Give You Faith In Humanity’

 

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Readings & Eating


Blake Butler reads from “There is no year”


Blake Butler reading from “Ever”


Blake Butler reading from “Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia”


Blake Butler reading from “300,000,000”


Blake Butler eats Page 1 of “Scorch Atlas”

 

__________________
Blake Butler’s playlist to stop thinking to
from Dazed Digital

 

SOMETIMES I CUT MY PENIS OFF IN MY SLEEP

I only want to listen to music that makes me unable to think. This must be interrupted with an advertisement for the company who will kill your parents. You shouldn’t have to be the one to kill your parents. We’re only ever really ever listening to unreleased Madonna.

If you can still keep thinking then it didn’t happen. I can’t believe I’m typing. I can’t believe I have to have hearing still.

Don’t listen to anything. Don’t read. Don’t do anything but eat so much food you can’t move and the uncreation is all inside you like 87687qyw o8ed7aoiusedfi uayspiud fp;iuahsi o;dufha;ksj df;kjhas;l djfh;lajkshdl ;fj a;lskjhdf ;ljahs ;dljfhao;js dhlfij asiludhfao ;iusyd ;ofuhas ;odiuyf powu8yeo f8uywpeo;ifu ;aousyd f;ouahs;o df;ajskhfk jahds lkjfh lkasjhdf lkjahs difuhaops udhf pouasdpfouyepw9oerufypauyd pfiuay spdoufy aosdfy.

This soundtrack is for sunlight on the elderly.

 

_________________
Blake Butler interviewed by Shane Jones
from Berfrois

 

Shane Jones: There’s a growing stress on first person narratives, female writers/ feminism, and in general, socially and politically conscious fiction. Do you worry that a book like 300,000,000 will offend readers, or worse, is arriving in a shifting literary landscape?

Blake Butler: Is it growing, or was it always like this? I don’t put new emphasis on the desire of many to put practical, reality-based factors into play in a system of art that for me was always about blowing reality out of the way. There are training wheels all over the place, and there are holes. If I’m a hole, I’ll be one. And personally I’m glad to see the strikes against the brutal penises of old blowhards; if reality is your game you should at least not be a bro. Do I worry about offending readers, having no readers? I honestly don’t even think about it. I try to challenge myself to make something that would otherwise not exist if I did not exist. If anyone enjoys it, thinks about it enough to enjoy it or get angry, that’s a celebration. But it’s not the thing. Only time honors. Tumblr won’t exist in two years. MyRealSexLife.com will always out click poetry in the realm of not-yet-dead.

SJ: Do you identify with any group? Are you religious?

BB: I am not religious in the churchgoing sense or probably even many other senses, though I do believe in god, at least where the idea of god could be some force that exists outside reality. I do not necessarily understand why any human would imagine an illimitable entity and then think they can have a relationship with it as a human. My spirituality is more like silence, which is holier to me than wafers and wine. I don’t believe in voting because I don’t believe in acknowledging the lesser of two evils, which are both to me still evil. I would probably be killed in war, though I’m ambivalent to violence often when left alone in front of the computer. In general I try to keep my actions and opinions faithful to a private moral stricture that is maybe entirely arbitrary but to me seems more functional than any label; space is elastic, there are no real rules, though I try to have as much faith as possible, both in people and in fate as it appears over time. For the most part all of this leads me to spending a lot of time in a relative fantasy land, more often offset than aligned, which I guess is how my personality drove me into fucking with books instead of math.

SJ: We communicated on a regular basis while you were working on 300,000,000 and I remember at some point your editor at Harper Perennial, Cal Morgan, sent you a 20,000 word document of edits and suggestions. How did the book change from the version you had and the final version after Cal’s edits?

BB: It was 27,776 words, yes, all mapped into sections with page numbers and notations, including headers such as: What Really Happened?, Why Did It Happen?, Why Is Flood Trapped Twice?; a index of symbols and themes with a list of all pages interplaying into such themes as America, Cities, Corporations and Brands, Dementia, Flood’s Wife: Murder vs. Cancer, Getting Paid To Write The Book, Josh, Magic Eye, Money, Movies/ Films/ Tapes, S-shape, Seven shapes, Writing/ Books/ Language, etc.; as well as a long consideration of voice in the book and specific mechanics of the language; all in all it was like having a statistical readout on the last 4 years of your life, annotated by a brilliant eye who probably knew what was actually on the paper way better than I did by that point. Honestly I wrote the first version of the book, and more than 20 subsequent full drafts over three years, in such a maniacal state of relative emotional hell that by the time we got to the official editorial process I didn’t even know what was there anymore, and had to in some way begin again. A lot got deleted, a lot got added, the total framework was rearranged countless times, and most every sentence was interrogated until I couldn’t stand to look at it anymore. With Cal’s study, his intuition and willingness to enter alongside my manias, and ultimately his total faith in the text and my ability to go through another 30 full-scale revisions of the book during the nearly two years we carried on, I don’t know that this book would have ever been anything but a long death note to myself on some burnt out hard drive. Having someone hand you a map of your heart and persona and say, here are the questions that will lead you to answer that will make the whole thing ten times more powerful for those outside you is the greatest gift you could ever receive.

SJ: Your father was suffering from dementia during the writing of the book and he passed during this editing period. You’ve mentioned before you would write at your parent’s house, where your father was. Did his deteriorating state and his death affect the book in any way? And the hand of Cal Morgan, seems to me, almost fatherly in a sense – tough and loving and wanting to do everything possible for the book and for you.

BB: Most of the time I was working on the book I was going up to my Mom’s to help her with Dad, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and needed constant supervision, daily care. I went up there and worked so my Mom could get out of the house, and so any time I took a break I’d go and check on him, interact with him, an increasingly surreal exchange. In some ways the state that took him over felt very similar to how I felt writing the book, and maybe it was a guideline of sorts; an actual madness, prolonged. I think maybe a lot of the rage in the book is channeled from grappling with understanding what was happening to him, and to those of us around him, not to mention my own troubles. I don’t think I could have worked anywhere else, as being around was like a time shuttle; there was nowhere else to be, during the day. And at night I would go home and spend time with Molly, my girlfriend, the appearance of whom had a wholly other sort of effect on certain stages of the revision; what forms of relief the book contains in many ways resolve through her, and from rallying with my sister and brother in law and mother to help Dad to the end as gracefully as his body would allow.

If I remember correctly, and I may not, I turned in the final edits of the book late in the evening at my Mom’s house on the day before my Dad passed away. He was bedridden for the last several weeks at least, in the final stages of the death process where the person no longer eats or drinks, and the last days or so felt very long, every breath of his possibly the last, and I remember feeling super insane at the computer, but in a calm way, typing in the very last edits then, and going back to sit with my family and him for the last time.

Honestly I thank my luck for my artistic relationship with Cal Morgan every day; there are few who would have given me the faith he has; he changed my life.

SJ: My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s and I remember the last days – how they hand over that little booklet with “dying instructions” that felt so alien and crushing. I’ve thought about this because it runs in my family, but do you ever think you’ll suffer from Alzheimer’s as well? Do you still travel to your Mom’s to write?

BB: Mom has made a point to let me know multiple times that Alzheimer’s isn’t passed from father to son, though whether or not that’s true or verifiable, who knows. I try not to think about it, but it’s hard already to not feel demented and distracted by the world across the board, and probably the inability to recognize its happening to you is the most terrifying factor of it all. There aren’t many other ways I’d less prefer to die. It’s terrifying, right? Your whole life stripped out from underneath you, little by little, while those you loved try to hold on. I won’t waste time in the interim fearing it, though. If anything, it’s motivation.

It’s been really hard to get out of that habit of going to Mom’s, as for so long I did it without question, because I was needed. And I feel now that I need to get out of the house to do my work; to stay there in the same place where I sleep and eat to do this kind of work seems difficult to me, or has become so. But I just went under contract on a house, and will be moving before the year’s out into a new home, which I see as a chance to reset my path, do something new. I need that, because most days since finishing 300,000,000 I’ve felt I’ll never write another book again. I remain hopeful to discover otherwise, or to discover what another new kind of thing for me could be.

SJ: HTMLGIANT, a literary blog you founded in 2008, recently decided to call it quits. As an original contributor, I felt a combination of sadness, sentimental reflection, and relief because the site in the past year often felt dead to me, or that something had significantly changed from the early days. Do you think the site was suffering from interesting content or is there any specific thing you can pinpoint that made you want to end its run?

BB: There was no real definitive impetus that made us want to end it; more like there has been a long ongoing train of effects, from the hellscape like assault that populated much of the comment section, for which a lot of the reputation of the site got beat up in many minds, as well as a general feeling of the landscape of the internet changing. I mean, when we started it felt like there was so much to be done; we were younger and still fiery in the spirit for discussion and overflowing; the beauty seemed worth the bullshit. Not that that disappeared, but the center of the site in some ways slipped out from under itself, as people moved on and comment culture in general became spread more widely thin, and honestly I don’t at all get the feeling I used to from the internet; so much now feels so petty, ego-beating, click-bait-y, overrun. The body was alive but the spirit died. In the end Gene just texted me and basically said, “This isn’t fun anymore, no matter what we try to do it gets attacked, I don’t want to be attacked.” When that’s the case, it should be done. I love what was made and the time it was made in and what it led to for many people but at the same time I just no longer have the same kind of will, and would rather focus my fire on offline life, creation.

SJ: There was a fury of rape and abuse allegations concerning several writers associated with the site and some people connected the closing of HTMLGIANT with these allegations.

BB: It wasn’t part of our reasoning for closing the site. Perhaps it contributed to a general negative feeling regarding the social arenas surrounding the culture, which for me has been growing less and less palatable for some time, but we wouldn’t stop doing what we do because of other people’s actions. It was a website, about art.

SJ: There’s a great line in Thomas Bernhard’s novel Correction: “I have built the Cone, I was the first to build the Cone, no one did it before me.” While reading 300,000,000 I thought several times, “this is Blake’s Cone” in that you seem to pushing yourself harder and further than ever before and when talking to a friend of mine about the book he said something along the lines of “I’m not sure what Blake does after this book.” It just feels so big and exhausting. So what’s next writing wise? And will there be another literary site you’ll start up?

BB: Bernhard’s cone is definitely something I have aspired to; the sublime object more infernal than yourself, representing something nameless and immaculate in its reflection of death as a state of being. To be honest my goal when writing the book was to burn out everything I had so hard I would have nothing left to live for. The last line of the book in the original draft was “The only way for me to complete this book is to kill myself” without a period. Part of the process of revising the book from that old endpoint involved me changing my life, my future outlook, my desires, so in that way the final incarnation of what is there is not only terror and murder but a state beyond that, beyond exhaustion.

And since then I’ve had a really hard time writing anything else, honestly. Which I think means that I have cored through an era of my life, and when I find the edge of the next era it will be different, and I am ready to be different. I’ve thrown away a lot through the last two years. Right now I’m kind of deep into something that is taking a much different set of skills and thoughts than where I’ve come from, much longer stretches between every word, and yet when I think about finishing it or what I would do with it I am more and more liking the idea of never ending, letting the world of the book continue to mutate on and on forever, through thousands of worlds. Or maybe I’ll get bored and start writing about lasers. I don’t know.

I hope I never take part in another website unless it’s pure joy.

 

__
Book

Blake Butler 300,000,000
Harper Perennial

‘An unforgettable novel of an American suburb devastated by a fiendish madman—the most ambitious and important work yet by “the 21st century answer to William Burroughs” (Publishers Weekly).

‘Blake Butler’s fiction has dazzled readers with its dystopian dreamscapes and swaggering command of language. Now, in his most topical and visceral novel yet, he ushers us into the consciousness of two men in the shadow of a bloodbath: Gretch Gravey, a cryptic psychopath with a small army of burnout followers, and E. N. Flood, the troubled police detective tasked with unpacking and understanding his mind.

‘A mingled simulacrum of Charles Manson, David Koresh, and Thomas Harris’s Buffalo Bill, Gravey is a sinister yet alluring God figure who enlists young metal head followers to kidnap neighboring women and bring them to his house—where he murders them and buries their bodies in a basement crypt. Through parallel narratives, Three Hundred Million lures readers into the cloven mind of Gravey—and Darrel, his sinister alter ego—even as Flood’s secret journal chronicles his own descent into his own, eerily similar psychosis.

‘A portrait of American violence that conjures the shadows of Ariel Castro, David Koresh, and Adam Lanza, Three Hundred Million is a brutal and mesmerizing masterwork, a portrait of contemporary America that is difficult to turn away from, or to forget.’ — Harper Perennial

 

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Excerpt
from Fanzine

Gretch Enrique Nathaniel Gravey is apprehended by authorities in XXXXXXX on August 19, 2XXX, at 7:15 a.m. He is found facedown in the smallest room of his seven-room ranch-style home with legs bound at the ankle by a length of electrical wire, apparently administered by his own hands.

He is unresponsive to officers’ commands or to the touch.

When lifted from the ground his eyes remain open in his head, unblinking even to the sound of the canines, the men.

The light inside the room is strong. It blinds each new being at their admittance, bodies shielding eyes and swinging arms until the space has been secured.

Gravey is dressed in a white gownlike shrift affixed with reflective medallions that are each roughly the size of an eye and refract light in great glare. No underwear, no ornaments.

His hair has been shorn sloppily, leaving chunks and widths around his ears and the back of his head, an amber lob of curls the color of beer.

An open wound cut on his left breast appears to have been also self-administered, though not deep enough to require stitching; his wet blood has soaked a small head-sized oval parallel to where he lies; from the pool, traced by finger, the word OURS appears writ in the ink of blood along the mirror-covered carpet.

Questions and actions delivered to the suspect do not seem to occur to him as sound; he does not flinch or turn toward the shouting, the splinter of their entrance, canines barking, the commands.

The meat around his eyes seems to be caving, black and ashy.

There are no other living persons apparent in the house.

Gravey is unbound, cuffed, and taken to a local precinct to be booked, processed, and held.

His eyes in motion do not open, though he is breathing.

He does not speak.

___________________________________________________________

DETECTIVE E. N. FLOOD: The above and the following are my ongoing log of the time following Gravey’s arrest, and the ongoing investigation, over which I have been appointed lead. I have given electronic access to specific colleagues assisting in the case for their perusal and review.

SERGEANT R. SMITH: These notes were discovered in Flood’s shared files online sometime shortly after he disappeared. Several of the quoted sources claim to have not written what they are said to have written. I myself remain uncertain.

*

The front foyer of the mouth of the entrance to Gravey’s home is caked up with shit nearly a foot high; human shit, packed in tightly to the face of the door, which has been barricaded and blocked over with a paneled bureau full in each drawer with ash. Testing reveals the ash is burnt paper; among the powder, lodged, the leather spines of books, photographs overexposed to blotchy prisms, fingernail clippings, mounds of rotting cat-food-grade meat, plastic jewels.

The same ash found in the drawers is found in larger quantity in a small den down the hall, along with the metal rims and scorched remainders of a drum kit, bass guitar and amplifier, small public address system with corresponding speakers, and fourteen seven-string guitars all of the same make, each variously destroyed by flame to disuse but still recognizable as instruments.

A small sheet-stand holds up an empty tabbing book, which on some pages has been rendered with whole glyphs of blackened scribble, matching the front color of the house.

Inside the house is very warm, caused in part under the concentration of the sun’s heat on the black paint even-handedly applied to the north, east, and south faces of the home. Only the west face remains its original cream-tan, the same shade of roughly one in four houses in the neighborhood.

The lawns of both houses on either side of the Gravey homestead are overgrown high enough to nearly block the windows. Gravey’s lawn is dead, a radial of whites and yellows like the skin of a giraffe. An ant bed in the side yard of the unpainted side of the building is roughly the size of a very large sandbox, pearling in sunlight, though there are no ants among the runnels to be found, their turreted bed evacuated.

The majority of the other rooms in the Gravey home are bare. Furniture, adornment, and objects have been removed or were never there. The walls are covered for the most part with lengths of mirror that seem to have been gathered from local dumps or flea markets or trash: platelets sized from that in a bathroom washstand down to the face of an armoire down to the eye-sized inner layers of a blush case or a locket have been affixed to the drywall with a putty adhesive that leaves the rooms smelling synthetic. Many mirrors have crisped to dark with more flame or cracked in spindles from impact with perhaps an elbow or a fist, or having been dropped or otherwise mishandled prior to their installation. The mirrors’ coverage is extensive, leaving mostly no inch of the prior wall’s faces uncovered; even the ceilings and in some rooms as well the floors receive a similar coverage treatment. In many places, too, the mirrors have been applied doubly or triply thick, sometimes to cover something ruptured. Large smudges dot many arm’s-length sections of the more central rooms’ mirrored dimension, rubbed with handprints, side prints, whiffs of sweat, and in some cases traces of lipsticked mouths, running saliva, feces, blood, or other internal and sometimes inhuman synthetic materials, all of it Gravey’s, incidentally or by cryptic, unnamed logic spasmodically applied.

Countless light sources in each of the major rooms fill the plugs of long electrical strip outlets or are attached to generators and arranged around in the space in no clear manner, studding the ceiling and the ground. Burnt out or burst bulbs have not been replaced but hold their dead eyes unrelented in the space filled by the rest. For hours into days the light will remain burned on the eyes of those who’d entered before the knobs were turned to end it.

Officer Rob Blount of __________, thirty-five, finds himself frequently at lengths lost inside the shape. More than several times, even with the excessive lighting fixtures lowed, he finds himself rendered staring off into the conduit of mirrors creating many hundreds of the house and him, and therein, something behind the reflection, a wider surface, until he is jostled by outside sound or a fellow officer’s inquiring arm. Through the remainder of Blount’s life inside his sleep he will many nights find himself approaching in the distance a square black orb, endlessly rotating in a silence. The dream of the orb will fill his mind.

Gravey’s kitchen contains a more colorful decor, if little else of more substantial means of living. The refrigerator, like the front room’s bureau, is stuffed with ash so thick it obscures the contained light. Buried in the ash here are occasional remnants of what might once have been intended for consumption: a full unopened carton of whole milk, several sealed cans of tuna, cardboard encasements for packs of beer, fourteen one-pound containers of store-brand butter riddled with knife divots, a water container full of something white. Later, teeth will be discovered buried in the chub of certain of the butter tubs’ masses, way underneath; the teeth will be later identified as dogs’ teeth. The freezer remains empty beyond a cube of ice forming a globe.

The surrounding floor is likewise thickened, albeit higher than the foyer’s, with used food wrappers, tissue, and containers, as well as many unfinished portions of the food. The pyramid of rotting glop and Styrofoam and cardboard stands nearly five feet high at the room’s far wall, trampled down into smoother avenues and valleys in the mix. The stench is intense, weaving many different modes of rot into a kind of choking blanket. Somehow the stench seems not to leak into the house’s mirrored sections.

Underneath the junk, in excavation, the men will find a massive ream of loose eight-millimeter film. Each frame of the several miles of exposed framework, unlike the other tapes found in the house, will show nothing but a field of pure black, of no star, as if the film had never been exposed. The soundtrack of the film, when played, if played, will feature a sound resembling a young man speaking in reverse, though when played in reverse the language sounds the same, word for word.

(cont.)

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yeah, very interested to see Haynes’ VU doc. I think his three music-centric films — ‘Velvet Goldmine’, ‘Superstar’, and ‘I’m Not There’ are by far his best films. Ha ha, me playing Proust, now that’s an inspired idea. You just say that because then I would finally have to read him to prepare for the role. ** Sypha, Hi. Thanks for thanking Periwinkle. Feel a lot better. Oh, I saw your HSD in my mailbox this morning. Thank you! I’ll open it and get back to you and set it up asap. ** _Black_Acrylic, Thanks on Periwinkle’s behalf, Ben. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. In Polanski’s case, if he asked, and if I said no, it wouldn’t be for that reason. I’ve heard a track or two by Wendy Eisenberg and was intrigued, and your description intrigues me even further, so I’ll pony up. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the This Is Not This Heat shows. Great luck with the Guardian editor! ** Keatroyn, Hi, man. Oh, hm. Usually I guess I lie there working imaginatively on whatever work that I’m working on while I’m awake at that moment — a gif fiction right now — and my brain eventually gets tired of doing that and turns my thoughts into leaping sheep that put me to sleep. I think that’s the usual. I never thought about it before. Pretty boring. I have nothing but nightmares, as far as I can tell, but they vanish from memory about one second after I open my eyes. If you see that snoozy recent ‘Halloween’ reboot, which I do not recommend doing, you really appreciate how good films like the first F13th are. Big day! ** Chris Cochrane, Good morning to you, CC. This weekend is better for me. Next weekend I’ll be in rehearsals with Gisele on a new theater piece all day both days. As for this coming weekend, I’m pretty free at the moment. You could let me know when’s good for you, and it would probably work for me. ** Misanthrope, Thank you for thanking Periwinkle. It really does seem like the shutdown is going to last for months at the moment thanks to the piece of human shit. ‘PGL’ could only have that kind of ending. Otherwise it would suck. ** h, Hi. Thank you for expressing gratitude to Periwinkle. ** Right. Today I felt like putting the blog’s spotlight on the very awesome, fairly recent Blake Butler novel you see up there. Please read what’s up there and talk. Thank you. See you tomorrow.

8 Comments

  1. Blake butler speaks if “pushing reality out of the way.” An admirable artistic goal within certain contexts.

    Yes, Dennis I’m constantly working on Proust-Traps for you!

  2. Well, thank you for quoting my review, but I believe that I’ve written a better piece on then since. The review was written purely out of shock and emotion. I still believe this is the best novel I’ve read in 10 years:

    http://www.deadendfollies.com/blog/essay-revisiting-300000000

  3. Fine work, & my compliments. It’s especially good to see such a range of materials in one place. With that in mind, if I may: https://brooklynrail.org/2014/11/books/monstrous-america.

  4. I’ve been meaning to read 300,000,000 for quite some time and will take this post as my spur to finally spring for a copy.

    Re my forthcoming horror zine, I commented yesterday but had the idea early this morning to give it the happily tautological, Lovecraftian name The Call. I’m thinking the Call of Cthulhu not the call of nature but we’ll see, I’m still thinking it over. The Call: A Zine About Horror maybe?

  5. Wow. Never heard of this but looks like quite something. Concerned about the Pale Fire comparison someone made though because that seems like an especially superficial reading of a text (it has notes and isn’t all fictional! Just like Nabokov!) but then I haven’t read 300,000,000 and can’t complain. His reading with the Bolano anecdote is fantastic.

    J

  6. I think sometimes it is odd that people do not close their eyes and play in that space more often. There seems to be an almost “acidic” play in that theatre of the pre-conscious. I think I was inspired to that thinking by flicker devices.
    This reminds me of the permutations and synchronicities of the Gifs. I’m apprehensive about your Gif work sometimes. Feeling it is potentially lethal. I recently put a bent in a new shoe and thought of how we do things we dont pay attention to. Like sleep on our side, or bend our foot this way or that. Oh gosh, the new Halloween was a snoozer. Halloween kind of ended correctly with the first one. Blake Butler, I have read a couple of his books. Not bad stuff. His Twitter is kind of funny sometimes. Bon almost-weekend

  7. Here’s my first published piece of 2019, on Adina Pintilie’s TOUCH ME NOT: https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/1/touch-film-2019-01-03-gcn.html.

    I’ve now seen all 4 films for my Iranian festival article, and I have a complete rough draft. I plan to finish it tomorrow or Saturday. I don’t have room for generalizations (which my editor told me to avoid), but a lot of Americans and other Westerners were attracted to Iranian cinema as a continuation of neorealism in the ’90s. That’s mostly gone from these films, as are the humanism, absence of violence and gentle tone that were frequently praised back then. It’s pretty clear that Tarantino is popular and influential in Tehran too now (and David Lynch and the Coen brothers, to a lesser extent.)

    I had a weird incident today where a band asked me to remove something I wrote about them that their publicist had told me, and my editor refused. It’s out of my hands, since I have no direct control over the outlet’s website after publication, and I hope they’re satisfied with “I asked my editor to change it.” But if they have secrets, why do they let their publicist share them with music critics?

  8. Dennis, well, I did go to work today at least (and was able to get some sleep last night). Seemed to have progressed to the stuffed-up nose/nagging cough segment of these things. Well, you know how they go. Glad to hear that the HS Day got to you okay.

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