The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Torn Down Schools

Sir James Douglas Elementary School, British Columbia


Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, Texas


Valmont High School, Vermont


Twin Cities Elementary School, Oklahoma


All Saints Catholic School, Missouri


St. Rita’s School, Pennsylvania


Maroa Grade School, Georgia


Denison High School, Texas


East Fairmount High School, West Virginia


Old Paulina School. Louisiana


Davis Street School, Massachusetts


Ryder High School, New York


Onoway Jr. High School, Alberta


Taft Elementary School, West Virginia


Lorain City School, Georgia


Lincoln School, Iowa


St. John-St. James Lutheran School, Wisconsin


Orem High School, Utah


Colby Elementary School, Wisconsin


Parkside Elementary School, Indiana


Key West High School, Florida


Williamstown Elementary School, Massachusetts


Grovetown Elementary School, Georgia


Île-à-la-Crosse Residential School, Alberta


Penn State College, Pennsylvania


Madeleine Grammar School, Nevada


Huffman High School, Alabama


Harrison Elementary School, Ohio


Homeland Jr. High School, Oklahoma


Millington Central High School, Tennessee


Cast Technical School, Michigan


Connaught School, Ontario


Ellensburg High School, Washington


Granger High School, Utah


Westmont Middle School, Pennsylvania


Red Bank Middle School, New Jersey


Ames High School, Iowa


Alchesay High School, Arizona


Patrick Copeland Elementary School, Louisiana


Mattoon High School, Illinois


Sacred Heart School, Connecticut


St. Joseph’s Indian Residential School, Ontario


Schaeffer Elementary School, Pennsylvania


Sumner School, Minnesota


Houghten Elementary School, Michigan


Woodlands School, British Columbia


Evergreen Elementary School, Oregon


Sudbury Secondary School, Ontario


Martinez Elementary School, Georgia


Murphysboro High School, Illinois


Yarmouth Junior High School, Nova Scotia


Montezuma-Cortez High School, Colorado


Phil Campbell High School, Alabama


Jefferson Elementary School, Nebraska


Beaver High School, Colorado


Upper Dublin High School, Pennsylvania


North Platte Junior High School, Missouri


Forks High School, Utah


Timpanogos Elementary School, Utah


Wasatch Elementary School, Utah


Dee Elementary School, Utah


Beauval Residential School, Saskatchewan


Goodland High School, Indiana


Lee High School, Alabama


North Middle School, Michigan


St. Helena School, Montana


Cooper High School, California


Hayward Intermediate School, Wisconsin


Spruce Street School, Wisconsin


West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys, Pennsylvania


Hambright Elementary School, Pennsylvania


Charlotte Anderson Elementary School, South Carolina


Trenton High School, New Jersey


Sooner Rose Elementary School, Oklahoma


Moran School, Washington


Malibu Middle School, California


Holy Trinity School, Ohio


Miller Valley Elementary School, Arizona


Mineral Ridge High School, Ohio


Riverview High School, Florida


Amherst Elementary School, Massachusetts


Mount Carmel Preparatory School, North Carolina


Serra Complex School, California


St. Angela School, Illinois


Eastport Elementary School, New York


Granite High School, Utah


Niagara Street School, New York


Wilson School, Pennsylvania




p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Howdy. Oh, I did see ‘Edward II’, so that’s a start. I even interviewed Jarman about it. At the Chateau Marmont. Thank you for the link, which … still works! ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Well, I add about a thousand so’s to that thank you and send it back your way. It went really well, no? I even checked the blog’s traffic, which I usually avoid doing, and the visits yesterday were through the roof! My cold is still meandering about in my upper body acting like a touchy-feely tourist. I’m glad you wrote happily yesterday, and about the submissions too! My day was, yeah, work, what else is new. And I visited my friends Michael, Bene, and their increasingly less infant-like infant Milo. That was nice. And used the early spring weather as a chance to walk about. Oh, I think I forgot to mention I had a handful of celebrity sightings in the last few days, and I’ll pretend they all happened yesterday. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (spotted dashing from a limo into Galeries Lafayette’s main building), Michel Houellebecq (spotted entering Galeries Lafayette Maison loaded down with many shopping bags), and Rei Kawakubo (spotted standing in a doorway near mine wearing one of her classic crazy, gigantic dresses). How was today where you are? Great, I sure hope. ** Ferdinand, Hi, man. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Probably, on OMD playing the hits, but they seem to be serious about their new music being relevant, so … I guess Misanthrope will let us know. ** MANCY, Hi, S! Good to see you! Thank you so much about the gif work. That means a lot. I do think the newer ones are the best ones somehow. Yeah, thank you! You good and hopefully much more than? ** Jamie, … let’s go, Jamie. It was a Japanese lollipop, and I’m not entirely sure what was in it, but it sure was pretty. Yes, the cross-pollination/contamination thing, I know well of what you speak. It can be confusing. I’m still there even though I’m forcing myself not to work on ‘the other’ more beloved script. Re: dialogue. Too bad we can have a chat about that. It’d be easier. Hey, we could Skype. Wanna Skype? For now, have them not quite say what they want to say. As though they’re talking to someone who knows them so well that they don’t have to totally spell out what they want to say. Or, if you can pull it off, they can say something that is transparently not what they actually want to say. So they say just enough that the reader/viewer knows what they’re trying to get at but are left with the sense that there’s more going on in the characters’ heads or hearts or psychologies than they’re either willing or able to say. I always think about charisma. The dialogue should be charismatic, and charisma involves a compelling mystery and, in the case of language, a quality of withholding or diverting that makes the sentences technically clear but also beautifully inadequate. Does that make any sense or help? My cold is still hanging around like a guest who’s so self-involved he doesn’t realise you have other better things to do than keep him company. May your day be as generous to you as a Jack Kerouac novel would be to that bongo player you mentioned. Delicious pinecone love, Dennis. ** JM, Really? Wow. About the Gibran readers. But then I saw some young guy no older than maybe 19 reading Herman Hesse’s ‘Steppenwolf’ on the metro the other day and I could barely believe my eyes. Gotcha, on the nervousness. Do you usually feel that you know what it ‘is’ for audiences so well that the reaction is more rewarding than surprising? ** Wolf, ‘Added’ sugar, okay, that’s a horse of a different color. I would say a better color, but sugar can add something to something else in a gratifying way sometimes, I think? Yep, hate summer. Grew up in a valley of LA. Way, way over summer. Been there, overdone that. Judicious intrusions of desert heat for short periods, fine. Sweltering steamy shirt-soaking heat for days on end, no way. So, yes, let’s trade. Although summers in Paris aren’t so bad. Yet. ** Amphibiouspeter, Hey, oceanic Peter! I’m good. Bit of a cold. Working. Not bad. Are you good hectic? Nah, we did get some snow, thank goodness, but not giant dumps like other places, which I guess is good, although I really wanted the dumps at the time. Lovely to see you! Catch me up when you get a chance. ** Marilyn Roxie, Hi, Marilyn. Thanks, pal. Oh, that Nicholas Royle post does look really good. I’ll get all over it. Thank you for the share. How did the presentation go? Excited to see what it was! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hey, Ben. ** Jeff J, Hi. Huh, that’s interesting. I.e. whether Didion was influenced by Duras. I always think of Didion as being so quintessentially American, but where else would she have learned to wield prose like that other than from writers over here. Huh. No, never seen her talk about Duras. Have you googled? Work’s going but too slowly. I’m still having to force my way into the required zone, but it’ll be fine. The mysterious project is still mysterious due to just endless fucking contract negotiations that continue to be just about to finally reach their conclusion any day now as they have been for months and months. And that certainly isn’t helping Zac and me want to work hard on the project. Incredibly fed up with the situation and waiting and cursing the power that be, basically. You good? ** Kyler, Hi, K. Well, that does sound to have a very promising day indeed, and you don’t need to be told by me to not get too, too excited about it until the ink dries, but, yes, it sounds like a possible big breakthrough at last, and fingers very crossed. ** Okay. I started making the post today on an odd whim but I think it turned out kind of beautiful. But my opinion means squat now that the post is yours, so see what you think. See you tomorrow.


  1. JM

    “Do you usually feel that you know what it ‘is’ for audiences so well that the reaction is more rewarding than surprising?”

    Er, sometimes. Some things I’ve been in that I haven’t felt very good about have really caught me offguard – glowing audience reactions and so forth – and other things I’ve been really confident in until the last minute finally have the ball drop totally the moment the audience come through those doors. So. Mixed process.

  2. JM

    also, my school was torn down !

  3. michael karo

    aw hell, i think i commented on yesterday’s post just as this one was going up. it was about my secret hidden scott heim autograph. oh well. 😉

  4. Dóra Grőber


    There’s something sad but thoroughly pretty and exciting about these ruined schools. Some of them seem so small.

    Yesterday went very-very well! I’m really glad and happy so many people saw and liked the post! I got so many interested and supportive comments. I feel proud to be SCAB’s birth parent.
    Your day sounds pretty nice! I really enjoy this early spring weather too.
    Wow, haha! I literally don’t think I’ve ever seen or met anyone who could be called a “celebrity”. I always have the feeling that I probably wouldn’t even recognize most of them, even if I like or “follow” them – I don’t know why. Do you ever have the urge to go up to some of them to talk or something?
    Right now, I’m home with a guy who’s making some reparations in our apartment. It’s a bit weird because he always comes with his wife – she doesn’t have anything to do, she just accompanies him. They’re both nice but still… hah. Then, in an hour or so, I’ll have to leave for Budapest to see my psychologist. And all of these would be absolutely A-OK if I didn’t want to continue writing so damn much instead.
    How’s the day over there? I really hope your sneaky cold leaves you finally!!

  5. Marilyn Roxie

    Here you are Dennis! – This is a very general survey and mostly relates to my own memories and experiments so far. One of the big reasons why I was interested in doing this and focusing on Nintendo 64 and NES titles is because most virtual photography concerns games made post-2004 or so and not older games, despite the availability of tools to broaden the camera view points available, cheats to remove the interface or character models from the frame, and so on. I’ll definitely be continuing my explorations. Met new people at the event as well, it was a great program (Provoking Discourse at Manchester Metro). 🙂

  6. David Ehrenstein

    “Today’s Salute to the American Public Education System is brought to you by the Letter Z”

    I miss Derek Jarman something’s awful.

    Didion and Duras? I don’t see the connection. Didion isn’t a fag-hag and she’s not obsessed with her own prose style. Moreover she deals in “Home Truths” rather than erotic myths.

  7. Steve Erickson

    I can just imagine a conversation between West, Houellbecq and Kardashian. Or maybe Houellbecq contributing lyrics to Kanye’s next album?

    I hope your cold goes away soon. It can’t be fun to deal with difficult contract negotations under these circumstances.

    The Pretenders’ “My City Was Gone” runs through my head when I look at these photos. The most striking are the ones where the school has been totally obliterated and the grounds are just dirt now.

    Now that the embargo has been lifted, I can opine that A WRINKLE IN TIME’s direction and cinematography look amazing, especially its use of color, but the film is severely damaged by its desire to hold up its heroine as a role model and idealize her instead of treating her as a real person, who would make a far more interesting character. At various points, she’s serenaded by a Sade song calling her “the flower of the universe” and told she belongs on a list of the 20th century’s greatest heroes.

  8. _Black_Acrylic

    I was never given to school destruction fantasies during my own childhood but it’s true, these do all make for a beautiful stack.

    This thing with the benefits, I got knocked back because my capital is over the magic £16K threshold to be eligible. Which is the exact amount of my redundancy payout, funnily enough. So now I’ve started a new application and am booked for another appointment on Monday by which time I’ll meet their criteria. I guess this must be what Kafka was on about.

  9. Kyler

    Dennis, thanks for your wise and sobering words! I was a little drunk with red + white wine when I wrote that! Still excited, and we’ll see….It’s snowing and thundering here now. I think I’ll take a nap. Sorry to hear about your own frustrations in your comment before mine. Good luck with that! Torn-down schools are symbolic, and I use that metaphor in my novel, so I appreciate seeing them here.

  10. Jamie

    Hey Dennis,
    This post did indeed turn out quite beautiful. It nicely taps into my ‘yearning for school destruction’ memories. For some reason I like the couple of pics where folk are watching the demolition best. There’s demolition going on just outside my work and just next to my flat atm, now with this post I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something. I spent some quality time standing in the street time watching the demolition of the old hospital next to ours the other week and had to restrain myself from cheering at certain points.
    Thank you so much for your dialogue advice! Totally helpful and beautifully put. At the moment I’m considering most of the dialogue I’ve written as place-holderish, which actually makes some of it work well in the ‘not quite saying what they mean’ manner you mention, although it’ll need a fair bit of finessing. It’s quite a plotty piece too and I’m mostly not having any of the dialogue have anything to do with the ‘plot’, which also will hopefully work towards that effect. Charismatic is such a great way to think about it. With that notion I feel like you’ve just handed me a key, so thanks a trillion. I kind of would love to Skype with you, but I’m kind of nervous about Skyping in general, so I don’t know. It’s so kind of you to offer, Dennis, and very, very much appreciated. Do you think in rhythms and stresses and stuff when you’re writing dialogue? Do you speak it aloud?
    What happened to Wednesday? Did the cold finally get the message and make like a banana? I hope so.
    May Thursday make you feel as happy as that bongo-playing, Kerouac-reading guy felt when he realised it was just the drugs and it was starting to wear off.
    Pantone love,

  11. Steve Erickson

    Here’s my review of A WRINKLE IN TIME: Just in conversation on Facebook earlier today, someone already called my take on the film sexist, so I’m sure this will go down well (although the general reaction to it seems mixed at best.)

    • Kyler

      Refreshing to see a review that is critical with a suggestion of how the film might be better. I didn’t think it was sexist at all, just honest. Well-written, Steve.

      • Steve Erickson

        On Twitter, Vulture critic Emily Yoshida said “What if A WRINKLE IN TIME is bad but representation is important?” I think my review is sympathetic to that POV, but totally honest about its flaws.

  12. Steve Erickson

    My Facebook post earlier today about left-wing anti-Semitism really pissed off the actor in my last film. He E-mailed me in response, and in turn, I really disagree with some of what he said. I do not want to get into an extended argument with him. I would like to remain friendly with him and work with him in the future, but I cast another actor in the film I plan to make later this year. I think I should wait about 2 weeks and see what I think about contacting him.

  13. Nik

    Hey Dennis!

    I just returned to my hometown this week for spring break, so this post is totally resonating with me. I remember they were doing a bunch of construction while I was there, so the general vibe of cranes and rubble was always present, and usually around where we hung out. At the same time, now that the renovations are done, it probably won’t feel right again until it’s destroyed haha.
    I know it’s late to say, but I was really into the new gif work you posted last week. I think the more recent work’s have connected with me in a really cool, intense way. It almost feels like there’s a bunch of different “storylines”, if that makes sense? Like in past works there might have been some sort of “protagonist” the themes were centered around, but this is a lot more about intertwining different experiences. I’m not sure if that was intentional or how you’d put it, but I was super into it. I’m really interested in seeing how all of these gif works come together.
    Since breaks started I’ve been catching up on reading and movies, and slowly trying to get started on a new script. Usually I’m into writing the first draft, but this time I’m terrified for some reason. I’m not sure if it has to do with knowing a little more about writing and feeling unprepared / intimidated of starting or what. I’m just gonna make sure I have something together before I’m back in school.
    How’s your week been? Did you get past the work you didn’t want to do unscathed?

  14. Joey

    Yo, my fav living artist. Hope you fellows are doing well. I’ve been working very hard on something; I haven’t been doing a good job AT ALL of promoting it, but I want to share it with you and Joel. Just left a message on your LA voicemail cause I can’t seem to find your emailly. I’d like some feedback, please email me. I love and miss you. “Jarrod….do you have something to say?”…hang on…he says, “no.” but says it with love. teehee.

    wishing all the bestest,
    Joey & Jarrod

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