The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Unfinished novelists *

* (restored)


‘Denton Welch’s A Voice Through a Cloud was written largely during the final racking months before Welch’s heart gave out. Echoing his own tragedy, it is a lyric, rebellious plaint of pain, fear and despair. The novel is also devastating in ways Welch did not intend. It breaks down painfully towards the end as Welch’s physical condition became so dire that he was capable only of writing one sentence at a time, and the exertion of doing even this would exhaust and sicken him so severely he would need to lie very still for hours afterwards with a cold compress on his forehead until he regained the strength to add another sentence. The last few pages become insensible and the novel ends abruptly with Welch’s final, inconclusive thought.’ — Michael de la Noy



The Splendor And Misery Of Bodies, Of Cities was intended as Samuel R. Delaney’s sequel to his classic novel Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand, but it looks like it will never see the light of day. Asked recently if he would ever finish and publish the sequel, Delaney’s answer was “Probably not, I can’t say for sure. Again, I haven’t written it off entirely. I did write about 150 pages of it at some point. But a number of things had come up to undercut it. I’ve explained it many, many times, and don’t mind explaining it again. I was in a major relationship at that time, that kind of fueled the first volume, Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand. And that relationship broke up, and that was the beginning of the Eighties, at the same time the AIDS situation came in. A lot of it, as the diptych was originally planned out, was a celebration of lot of the stuff I saw at the time in the gay world. Sort of in allegorical form, a lot of that was being celebrated. There was a lot of the gay situation that made me rethink some of that, not in any kind of simplistic way, but in a fairly complicated way. So between the personal breakup, which was an eight-year relationship that came to ane nd, and the changes in the world situation, there were other things that sort of grabbed my interest more. That made the second one a little hard to go on. I still think there are some valid things to be said about it, in that second volume. And it’s quite… I’ve got two or three more books, that I really would like to write, and at this point, my books take me three to five years. So that’s 15 years, and I’m practically 70 years old. So I’ll be in my 80s when those books are done, and I don’t know whether I’m going to be writing anything, or even if I’m going to be here”.’ — io9



Campo Santo is a hybrid volume, a posthumous act of packaging by W.G. Sebald’s German publisher Hanser.When Sebald died December 14, 2001, very shortly after the appearance of his fourth work of prose, Austerlitz, he apparently had not begun a new prose project. The crucial part of this book is the first section, which contains the four prose four pieces. After finishing The Rings of Saturn in the mid 1990s, Sebald, we are told, began a book on Corsica, which he eventually set aside in favor of Austerlitz. According to the editor of Campo Santo Sven Meyer, the Corsican fragments form the only new prose pieces by Sebald we are likely to see. The Corsican prose pieces in Campo Santo pose interesting questions for the reader of Sebald.The most obvious issue to me concerns the lack of images in the three main pieces. All four of Sebald’s full-length prose works employ images as an essential part of the “text.”But, with one exception, and that including an image not chosen by Sebald himself, the Corsican pieces are devoid of images. Was this going to be an unillustrated work or would Sebald have added images before finishing the manuscript?’ — Vertigo



‘When Dashiell Hammett died of lung cancer Jan. 10, 1961, at age 66, he was a broken man. The architect of the modern American crime novel and the author of five classic works, Hammett was nearly penniless at the time of his death, his income attached by the Internal Revenue Service, his health destroyed by a six-month stint in federal prison. Despite his fragile health, he smoked and drank heavily and was prone to alcoholic blackouts. As he grew older, he wrote less and drank more until, finally, he wrote not at all. In his letters, Hammett makes reference to dozens of novels in progress, books with titles such as Dead Man’s Friday, Toward Z and The Valley Sheep, all unfinished – or more likely never begun. The only incomplete Hammett novel for which any manuscript materials survives is The Secret Emperor. Working notes for The Secret Emperor, which was Hammett’s first, never-finished novel, show that it included elements he later used in The Maltese Falcon and The Glass Key.’ — Wallace Stroby



‘Michael Chabon began writing Fountain City as a follow-up to his fine 1989 debut novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. The story centered on an architect who dreamed of building the perfect baseball stadium. After five years, he gave up on the project. “Often when I sat down to work,” Chabon wrote later about the abandoned novel, “I would feel a cold hand take hold of something inside my belly and refuse to let go. It was the Hand of Dread. I ought to have heeded its grasp.” He also wrote in the margins of Fountain City: “A book itself threatens to kill its author repeatedly during its composition.” It was a novel, he added, that he could feel “erasing me, breaking me down, burying me alive, drowning me, kicking me down the stairs.” Upon abandoning the project, he immediately changed gears and wrote his next novel Wonder Boys in seven months.’ — A New Fiction Writers Forum



The Temple at Thatch was Evelyn Waugh’s first attempt at a novel, and its failure temporarily derailed him. Waugh began writing the book in 1924 during his final year as an undergraduate. The plot, according to diary entries, is largely autobiographical and based on the writer’s experiences at Oxford, with themes of madness and black magic. So what went wrong? In 1925 he gave the manuscript to his friend Harold Action, who criticized the book (Action later said: “It was an airy Firbankian trifle, totally unworthy of Evelyn, and I brutally told him so. It was a misfired jeu d’esprit.”). Waugh was so distraught that he burned the manuscript and went to the beach and started swimming out. In his biography, Waugh said: “Did I really intend to drown myself? That was certainly in my mind.” But a short way out, he was attacked by a jellyfish and swam back. For a while afterward, he stayed away from fiction writing, but soon returned.’ — PW



‘Truman Capote signed the initial contract for the novel Answered Prayers on January 5, 1966 with Random House. This agreement provided a $25,000 advance with a stipulated delivery date of January 1, 1968. Distracted by the success of his “nonfiction novel,” In Cold Blood, the Black and White Ball, television projects, short pieces and increasing personal demons, Capote missed his 1968 deadline. In July 1969 the contract was renegotiated, granting a “substantially larger advance” in exchange for a trilogy to be delivered in January 1973. The delivery date was further delayed to January 1974 and September 1977. A final agreement in early 1980 would have yielded Capote $1,000,000 to have been paid only if he submitted the manuscript by March 1, 1981. This final deadline was not kept. Capote first envisioned Answered Prayers as an American analog to Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past that would come to be regarded as his masterwork.

‘In the years prior to his death, Capote frequently read chapters from Answered Prayers to friends at dinners, but such was his gift of storytelling that few could discern whether he was actually reading from a manuscript or improvising. He attempted to sell one of the chapters to Esquire sometime in the early 1980s but balked and feigned illness when an editor asked to see the story. Capote claimed that lover John O’Shea had absconded with “A Severe Insult to the Brain” in 1977 and sued for repossession, but he eventually reconciled with O’Shea and dropped the lawsuit. At least one Capote associate claims to have acted as a courier for the full manuscript. According to Joseph Fox, four of Capote’s friends claim to have read drafts of “Father Flanagan’s All-Night Nigger Queen Kosher Cafe” and “A Severe Insult to the Brain”. Capote regularly cited dialogue and plot points from these chapters in multiple conversations with Fox that never wavered or changed over the years. In his editor’s note, Fox “hesitantly” theorized that the two chapters did exist at one juncture but were destroyed by Capote in the 1980s.

‘Shortly before his death in 1984, Capote informed his friend Joanne Carson that he had finally finished Answered Prayers and was preparing to die in peace. Carson allegedly had read the three chapters prior to this date and described them as being “very long.” On the morning preceding his death, Capote handed a key to Carson for a safe deposit box or locker that contained the completed novel, stating that “the novel will be found when it wants to be found.” When Carson pressed Capote for a precise location, he offered a myriad of locations in various cities. An exhaustive search for the manuscript after Capote’s death yielded nothing.’ —



‘Seth Morgan wrote his first novel, the blistering Homeboy, during a brief layover between heroin habits. But despite a decent critical reception and a promising literary future, Seth jumped right back up on that horse. Maybe it was that five-figure advance on the paperback, burning a hole in his pocket. Shortly after the book’s release, Morgan died in a drunken bike wreck. His second novel, Mambo Mephiste, was by his own account to be the definitive Mardi Gras novel. But only a few chapters and a synopsis exist, rescued from his apartment before it was tossed by the neighborhood junkies.’ —



‘Philip K Dick’s last wife has reworked the novel the legendary science fiction author was working on when he died in 1982. Tessa Dick, who described her self-publication of The Owl in Daylight as a tribute to her former husband, was Dick’s fifth and final wife, marrying him in 1973. She told online magazine the Self-Publishing Review that her version of the novel was an attempt to express “the spirit” of Dick’s proposed book. Little is known about the novel, which Dick mentioned in a letter to his editor and agent. Very little material exists and it might be more accurate (if poor English!) to say that it is his unstarted novel. Tessa points out, Phil “spent months working out the plots for his novels” before committing them to paper: “The typing, however, is not the writing.” According to Tessa, the letter to Dick’s agent revealed plans to “have a great scientist design and build a computer system and then get trapped in its virtual reality. The computer would be so advanced that it developed human-like intelligence and rebelled against its frivolous purpose of managing a theme park”. The letter also mentioned Dante’s Inferno and the Faust legend, she said.’ — Science Fiction World



Prince Jellyfish is an unpublished novel by American journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson. The novel was Thompson’s first, written around 1960 while he was in his early 20s and was working as a reporter for the Middletown Daily Record in New York State. Thompson had moved to Middletown from New York City, where he worked briefly as a copy boy for Time. Little is known about the book, although in Thompson’s obituary, The Guardian described it as “an autobiographical novel about a boy from Louisville, going to the big city and struggling against the dunces to make his way.” The book was rejected by a number of literary agents before Thompson moved briefly to Puerto Rico and then moved on to writing his next novel, The Rum Diary. The Rum Diary, too, was rejected by every literary agent to whom Thompson shopped it, and it remained unpublished until 1998, long after Thompson had become famous.’ — collaged



‘The writer David Foster Wallace committed suicide on September 12th of last year. His wife, Karen Green, came home to find that he had hanged himself on the patio of their house, in Claremont, California. For many months, Wallace had been in a deep depression. The condition had first been diagnosed when he was an undergraduate at Amherst College, in the early eighties; ever since, he had taken medication to manage its symptoms. During this time, he produced two long novels, three collections of short stories, two books of essays and reporting, and Everything and More, a history of infinity. Wallace in his final hours had “…tidied up the manuscript of a novel he had been writing for over ten years so that his wife could find it. Below it, around it, inside his two computers, on old floppy disks in his drawers were hundreds of other pages—drafts, character sketches, notes to himself, fragments that had evaded his attempt to integrate them into the novel. The novel had numerous working titles, some of them including ‘Gliterrer’, ‘SJF’ (‘Sir John Feelgood’), ‘What is Peoria For?’, and ‘The Long Thing’, although he had settled on The Pale King. The drafts tell of a group of employees at an Internal Revenue Service center in Illinois, and how they deal with the tediousness of their work. The partial manuscript—which Little, Brown plans to publish next year—expands on the virtues of mindfulness and sustained concentration. Wallace was trying to write differently, but the path was not evident to him. “I think he didn’t want to do the old tricks people expected of him,” Karen Green, his wife, says. “But he had no idea what the new tricks would be.” The problem went beyond technique. The central issue for Wallace remained how to in his words give “CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.”’ — collaged from various sources



Robert Musil worked on his monumental novel The Man Without Qualities for more than twenty years. Some of Musil’s working titles were The Gutters, Achilles (the original name of the main character Ulrich) or The Spy. Musil’s aim (and that of his main character, Ulrich) was to arrive at a synthesis between strict scientific fact and the mystical, which he refers to as “the hovering life.” He started in 1921 and spent the rest of his life writing it. When he died in 1942, the novel was not completed. The first two books were published in 1930, the last and unfinished one posthumously by his wife Martha in 1942. He worked on his novel almost every day, leaving his family in dire financial straits. The novel brought neither fame nor fortune to Musil or his family. This was one of the reasons why he felt bitter and unrecognized during the last two decades of his life. Musil thought he had many years of productive work ahead of him, when he could complete his great novel. But the author died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage, after an exercise session, on April 15, 1942. He was sixty-two years old. Critics speculate on the viability of Musil’s original conception. Some estimate the intended length of the work to be twice as long as the text Musil left behind. As published, the novel ends in a large section of drafts, notes, false-starts and forays written by Musil as he tried to work out the proper ending for his book. In the German edition, there is even a CD-ROM available that holds thousands of pages of alternative versions and drafts.’ — Ted Gioia, Exhuming Robert Musil



‘Jim Carroll, the legendary Manhattan poet and punk rocker, died of a heart attack on Friday, Sept. 12, at the age of 60. Recently, Carroll, the author of The Basketball Diaries, had been working on a new novel called Triptych; his longtime editor at Penguin, Paul Slovak, said that it “tells the story of a hermetic and mystical 35-year-old painter who becomes kind of a golden boy in the late ’80s New York art world. It’s a very moving examination of spiritual bankruptcy and other themes in both art and life.” Mr. Slovak said Carroll had turned in revisions of the first two parts of the novel, but didn’t know how far he’d gotten on the third. He said it was possible something would come of the work, pending a conversation with Carroll’s literary agent, Betsy Lerner, but that it was too soon to tell.’ — The New York Observer



‘Richard Yates wrote at least three masterpieces: Revolutionary Road, Easter Parade (clearly recognized seminal novels of America in the second half of the 20th Century), and Eleven Kinds of Loneliness, a superb collection of his early short stories. Yates was a kind of F. Fitzgerald of the 1960’s, writing novels and story volumes about doomed post-WWII idealists colliding with reality. Yates’ first books were hailed, but his later efforts received mixed reviews, and were seldom read. He kept at his trade through illness, nervous breakdowns, and drink by editors like Sam Lawrence at Delacorte and Esquire’s Gordon Lish. Yates also wrote speeches for Bobby Kennedy, and taught creative writing at the University of Iowa. When the hard drinking, heavy smoking Yates died of emphysema in 1992, at the age of 66, none of his books remained in print. In the last month of his life, Richard Yates was working against deadline to finish his final (never completed andas yet unpublished) novel, Uncertain Times, based on his experience with Bobby Kennedy. He was in a skid row room (the kind he preferred to live and work in), surrounded by dead cockroaches he killed on work breaks, breathing oxygen for his emphysema from a huge canister, still smoking.’ — Zimbio



Woes of the True Policeman is a project that was begun at the end of the 1980s and continued until Robert Bolaño’s death. A version of the novel was eventually published consisting sections collated from typescripts and computer documents. In a 1995 letter, Bolaño wrote: “Novel: for years I’ve been working on one that’s titled Woes of the True Policeman and which is MY NOVEL. The protagonist is a widower, 50, a university professor, 17-year-old daughter, who goes to live in Santa Teresa, a city near the U.S. border. Eight hundred thousand pages, a crazy tangle beyond anyone’s comprehension.” The unusual thing about this novel, written over the course of fifteen years, is that it incorporated material from other works by the author, from Llamadas telefónicas (Phone Calls) to The Savage Detectives and 2666, with the peculiarity that even though it features some familiar characters, they belong to Bolaño’s larger fictional world, and at the same time they are the exclusive property of this novel. The novel’s remains exuded a strong consciousness of death, of writing as an act of life, which was part of Bolaño’s biography, since the Chilean writer was condemned to write his limitless fiction against the clock.’ — Works in Progress



‘Nikolay Gogol began writing Dead Souls in 1836 while living in Paris, finishing the first volume in 1841 while on a visit to Rome. After returning to Russia in October, Gogol, with the help of the critic Vissarion Belinsky, printed the first volume in 1842. Belinsky called it a “deeply intellectual, social and historic work.” The work on the second tome of Dead Souls coincided with Gogol’s deep spiritual crisis and mainly reflected his doubt on the effectiveness of literature, putting him on the edge of denouncing his previous creations. In 1849-1850, Gogol read parts of the second volume of Dead Souls to his friends. Their approval and delight encouraged him to work twice as hard. In spring, he made his first and only attempt to create a family. He proposed to Anna Wielhorski, who turned him down. On 1 January 1852 Gogol informed everyone that the second volume was “completely finished.” But at the end of the month, signs of a new personality crisis appeared. He was tormented by a sense of approaching death, worsened by new doubts in his success as a writer. On 7 February Gogol confessed and took communion and on the night of 12 February he burnt the clean manuscript of the second volume of Dead Souls. Only five unfinished chapters remained from various draft editions, which were published in 1855. On the morning of 21 February Gogol died in his apartment in Moscow.’ — Russia Now


Some others

Gustave Flaubert Bouvard et Pécuchet
René Daumal Mount Analogue
Lew Welch I, Leo
Thomas Mann Confessions of Felix Krull
James Joyce Stephen Hero
Stephen King The Plant
Mina Loy Goy Israels
Ralph Ellison Three Days Before the Shooting
Brad Gooch The Silver Age of Death
Dale Peck Red Deer
Frank O’Hara (untitled)
Albert Camus Le premier homme
Herman Melville The Confidence Man
Edith Wharton The Buccaneers
Sylvia Plath Double Exposure
Henry James A Sense of Time
Ingeborg Bachmann The Book of Franza
Georges Perec 53 Days
Jack Kerouac Old Bull in the Bowery
Chester Himes Plan B
Alain-Fournier Colombe Blanchet
Stendahl Lucien Leuwen
Robert Shea Children of the Earthmaker
Pier Paolo Pasolini Petrolio
James Dickey Crux
Alexander Pushkin The Negro of Peter the Great
Charles Bukowski The Way the Dead Love
Kingsley Amis Black and White
Fyodor Dostoevsky Netochka Nezvanova
Georges Bataille Ma Mere
Jane Bowles Out in the World
Joe Orton Head to Toe
Alberto Moravia I due amici
Osamu Dazai Gutto Bai



p.s. Hey. ** Wolf, Wolfie! Aw, thanks so much about the trailer, pal. As someone who very luckily counts JW as a good friend, I can only confirm that he really is just about the most wonderful human being ever. ‘Embrace of the Serpent’, oh, I remember that film, but I never saw it. But Marc says I did? And I didn’t dig it? Okay, I could/must be spacing. I’ll go find out. Weird. ‘Catch Me Daddy’ is utterly new to me. Cool. Scribble, scribble (literally, on actual paper). Thanks, resourceful buddy. Paris is too rainy. The glistening buildings look nice, but at what cost? No, I sadly do not have that work of John’s in my apt. He really should give it to me, though, don’t you think? Hm. I’ll drop some subtle innuendos. Or name a novel or film that. That’ll show him. How are you? Hugs to Marc. ** Armando, Hi. I’m glad you found someone here to talk with about that stuff. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Thanks a lot for the Seattle festival tips. I’m supposed to pass all ideas and tips along to the sales agency, and I will do that this AM. Hm, that review does sound like a tough write. It’s those in the middle but more negative reviews that are the worst. Slamming is fun. Can be. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, D. Well, making films these days isn’t that easy, especially in the US. My friendships are littered with people who’ve made long, hard, diligent attempts to make films that never got anywhere. Yep, yep, about Waters. I think Kathleen Turner in ‘Serial Mom’ is easily one of the very greatest acting performances ever. ** Count Reeshard, Hi, Count. Thank you for the great response and thoughts on JW. Yeah, John has turned out to be a helluva writer. Who would have thought? He’s said to me that the discovery of his abilities there and his love of writing was a total shock to him. Take care! ** Ferdinand, Hi, man. I agree 100% And, yeah, do that work. ** Have ANiceLife, Hi! Yes, it is strange that John has come to be seen as much more of a particular kind of icon and touchstone than as a filmmaker. It’s like his films have become more like his roots or as JW souvenirs or as the foundations of his celebrity. It’s interesting. How are you? ** Kyler, Hey, man. John’s a joy. And, yeah, his support for ‘LCTG’ and for Zac’s and my filmmaking in general has meant a billion tons. Funny ‘Divine’ story. ** Bill, Hi. ‘Cecil B Demented’ is one of my very favorite of his films. I think it’s very overlooked. Thanks about the trailer. I haven’t talked to Steve/the Cinematheque about showing ‘PGL’ yet because our sales agency wants to try to go ‘big’ first. I know the film is currently under consideration by the San Francisco Film Festival, so fingers crossed about that. ** Cal Graves, Hey! Did you get my email? There’s one issue with the post, and I wrote to ask you what we should do about it. John is the best, hands down. Yeah, it sounds like breaking the novel into a sequence of novels is the right way to go. Well, with my Cycle it was different because there is no single overall narrative in terms of the characters, and the characters shape-shift into different identities throughout. George gets transformed and mutated before sort of returning to his original form and identity at the end. So, for me, it was more about having archetypes of different characters who shared the same needs and goals, but the cycle’s world and intent were free to be reconfigured. With George, what was central was that he was misperceived, misinterpreted, used as a vehicle by the other characters, and that was the through-line and connective tissue vis-a-vis the characters that move through the cycle that resemble him emotionally and psychologically and roughly physically. So I wasn’t locked into George himself having to have a clearly drawn out life and story and specific goal. I would imagine that with the freedom of a cycle and all of that space, Poz’s goal could be subject to a lot of sidetracking and obscuring at times. If his goal is clearly presented, say early in the cycle, then it will continue to be there and known to the reader whether it’s been directly addressed and illustrated or not. It could be an undercurrent, even for lengthy periods, and be more like something that is directing the novels ‘invisibly’ from behind the scenes or something? Does that make any sense? ** H, Hi. Yes, I’ve been really lucky to be good friends with John since about 1991. I hope you get snow. I’ve given up on Paris getting any. ** Tomk, Hi, T. Glad you dug it. Thanks a bunch for filling me in about the Fujimori thing. Jesus, that sounds complicated. I’m on the Timothy Morton tip, looking to get his stuff and excited to. Thanks, pal. ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, Thomas! So great to get to see you! My pleasure on the JW post, and thank you! And I’m really chuffed you like the trailer. I can’t wait for you too see the actual thing. How are you? Is the new novel still going well? ** Jamie, Cheerio, Jamie my lad! Waters film on ecstasy, nice, yum. I love ‘Pecker’ too. My weekend was another work-filled one without much of any of any kind of break for things that could sound entertaining in the recounting. The price that I and the p.s. pay for this overloaded work phase. I was able to work on the new film script a bit, and, man, can I just say it is really fucking good? Rotterdam prep. We finally set up the cast and crew and VIP Paris screening of ‘PGL’ for Feb. 3, and now we have send the invitations and stuff. Really, just work blah blah. Today is my friend and publisher Paul’s funeral. That is going to be very heavy, but I think it’s necessary emotionally to attend. You guys with your snowfalls suck! No, you don’t, but you know what I mean. Ooh, yes, those do-it-yourself snowglobes. May your day rip the roof off a cathedral and make an origami animal out of it. Frightfully non-frightful love, Dennis. ** Sypha, Dude, watch a John Waters film. I mean, seriously, come on, man. It’ll only take 90 minutes. I haven’t seen ‘CMBYN’. I have no opinion on it. I’m just wary of it. ** _Black_Acrylic, Ben, good morning if it’s still the AM. You guys with your severe snow! I’m trying so very hard to sympathise and not turn Hulk green. ** James Nulick, Hi. Enjoy Phoenix. And it sounds like you are, yay. That son sounds awesome and very promising re: adulthood, I must say. Love to you too. ** Misanthrope, I see your ‘yay’ and ‘yay’ louder. Oh, right, you’re victimised by the shutdown. I remember that now. Lord, what a disaster. The USA continues to cement its international reputation as a looney bin. I hope the dentist appointment is relief central. ** Bernard, Hi, B. Such awesome and lovely thoughts on John and his thing. Thank you ever so much! I’m so sorry and my deep condolences about Bob Smith. I don’t believe I ever saw his work or read anything by him, but I felt great respect for him nonetheless. Hugs (upon hugs). ** Right. I decided to bring today’s post back to life, and I hope at least some of you think that was the right decision. See you tomorrow.


  1. Armando


    If you are one day ready to check my email could you *PLEASE* let me know?

    I don’t know; maybe this is a bad idea, but I was wondering if anyone here might be interested in reading the latest story I wrote just to see what they think. I’d send it to anyone who’d be interested.

  2. jonathan

    Hi D

    Yeah im on residency here, if i get the Paris one its from either the end of this year or early next. all fingers are crossed! Liseberg is happening once it gets a little warmer, its seems pretty close by. and the performance will probably be happening via twitter with a little instagram and maybe facebook, it will exist in some digital form after that.
    Gonna check out that film The Square later, found a cinema that has english subs which is great but the screen is tiny, theres 18 seats total. screen 1 is bigger but havent been yet. found one little 2nd hand book shop that has some english stuff and found some old evergreen/grove books, Beckett mostly and Chekov’s Brute. nothing as wonderful as Berkeley Books though.
    Got to see the trailer for Permanent Green Light its stunning! Hope your weekend was all kinds of awesome!

  3. Armando


    Hey, George,

    “Look at how Matt Damon was excoriated for saying, “And we’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

    Suddenly, he’s the worst person in the world.[…]”

    ^ I know; it’s disgusting and makes me so fucking angry. Love Matt. And by the way, I don’t believe for one second the allegations against Casey Affleck; but that’s just me.

    “will you watch “A Rainy Day in New York” when/if it comes out? It’s a Woody movie but stars Chalamet. That’s a tough one, no?”

    ^ No, not really at all. You said it yourself; it’s a *WOODY* movie; so that automatically means I *WILL* see it (if it’s released at all in any way). I mean, I haven’t stopped seeing any of the 13 movies he made with the cunting evil lying witch at all, why should I not see this one, you know? That’s no problem for me at all. If it’s *WOODY* I’ll see and love it.

    “maybe just straight to Video on Demand or something. I think that’s fucked up.)”

    ^ Totally fucked up and insane and stupid and deranged and unfair and hypocritical, but what you gonna do, right?… *SIGH*…

    By the way, I think it’s very, very curious how people have totally forgotten about spacey; who *IS* guilty… No “time’s up” condemnation for him. Obviously it’s because all his victims were males…

    Changing subjects; like I said above: “I don’t know; maybe this is a bad idea, but I was wondering if anyone here might be interested in reading the latest story I wrote just to see what they think. I’d send it to anyone who’d be interested.” If you’re interested at all I could send it to you. It’s totally OK if you prefer not to; *OF COURSE*; *REALLY*; it sucks so extremely much anyway.

    All the best,

    Good day; good luck,


    • Misanthrope

      Armando, I hear you on the Spacey thing. I find it odd, too, that not much as been made of the Haim-Sheen stuff or the Schaech-Zeffirelli stuff. And in relation to the Woody stuff, why are Moses’ -and Soon-Yi’s- claims of abuse at the hands of Mia totally dismissed? She beat the shit out of those kids for years, according to them. From everything I’ve read, the only abuser in that whole situation was Mia.

      • Armando


        “I find it odd, too, that not much as been made of the Haim-Sheen stuff or the Schaech-Zeffirelli stuff. And in relation to the Woody stuff, why are Moses’ -and Soon-Yi’s- claims of abuse at the hands of Mia totally dismissed? She beat the shit out of those kids for years, according to them. From everything I’ve read, the only abuser in that whole situation was Mia”

        ^ Exactly. Agree 100%.

      • Steve Erickson

        Spacey has kept himself out of the public eye as soon as the allegations against him were made, whereas Woody released WONDER WHEEL with a very public world premiere at either the Toronto or New York Film Festival. We know that Amazon will be distributing his next film as well. The distributor of Louis C.K.’s I LOVE YOU, DADDY decided not to release it, which meant they were taking a $5 million loss till he agreed to reimburse them for the rights. Allen is making himself a target in a way that Spacey isn’t. If Netflix were still releasing the Gore Vidal biopic starring Spacey they produced that was supposed to come early this year – which I wish they were – you could expect most of the reviews to be attacks on Spacey with nothing to say about Vidal or the film ‘s content. But I’m cynical about how long this stuff will last. Spacey is still in his 50s, and in 10 years (if not less) he will be making the late-night talk show circuit promoting his comeback film and making jokes about pinching teenage boys’ asses.

        • Misanthrope

          Steve, In Woody’s defense -fuck, I’m defending him a lot nowadays, aren’t I?- he shouldn’t be a target at all because he didn’t do it. He’s denied it vehemently from day one and has many, many facts on his side that show he didn’t do it.

          It’d be like any one of us being accused of something we didn’t do. What would we do, go and hide for the rest of our lives because of a false allegation?

          I think that’s how he sees it.

          • Steve Erickson

            We’ve discussed this privately, and I think there’s a good chance Allen is guilty. I could google some articles I’ve read that I think make a decent argument for this and post their links here, but I am hardly completely 100% convinced he’s a pedophile. I do think it’s a strong possibility, though. I do not want to get into an endless argument about it with Armando etc. here. And I do think that both he and Mia are awful people, regardless of whether he molested Dylan or she brainwashed Dylan into believing he did it.

    • David Ehrenstein

      Read (or re-read) Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” Woody has become the Scapegoat of Choice” for a culture unable to rid itself of a Racist Rapist POTUS!

      • Armando

        @David Ehrenstein,

        “Woody has become the Scapegoat of Choice” for a culture unable to rid itself of a Racist Rapist POTUS!”

        So, so, so true, David. You nailed it.

        “Read (or re-read) Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery””

        ^ Will do so; I’ve never read it before; thank you very much.

        “Spacey hasn’t been forgotten.”

        ^ I meant in the “public condemnation”/”trial by twitter” sense and in the extremely contrasting way the cases of *WOODY* and him have been treated by the media in general. Like I said: “No “time’s up” condemnation for him.”…

        All the best,


    • David Ehrenstein

      Spacey hasn’t been forgotten. He was mentioned at the SAD Awards last night and Scotland Yard is contemplating charging him for sex crimes he committed when running the Old Vic.

  4. Armando

    I’m really sorry to know about your friend’s passing. My deepest and most sincere condolences. *Hug*. Hang in there, please.

  5. Armando

    I was wondering; is there any way at all I could attend the ‘PGL’ premiere at Rotterdam???!!! It’ll be a dream come true for me.

  6. Joseph Grantham

    Wow, this was a great read. I haven’t really slept a full night in 6 days, and it’s 3:21 am in California. I’m recovering from a tonsillectomy and have basically spent these last 6 days in and out of a haze of Percocet. Ouch. Just watched the movie ‘Rat Film’ last night. Have you seen that one? Cannot recommend it highly enough.

  7. Amphibiouspeter

    Hey DC,

    This is a cool post. Love the choice of pic for Capote – I think of him as the In Cold Blood, Philip Seymour Hoffman version of TC so that was a nice surprise to see him looking basically like a teenager. I remember when I first picked up Dead Souls I didn’t know anything about it and thought it would be this gloomy ghost story thing and pretty soon in I was like, oh this is a comedy. I guess the one of these I always think of is Sarah Kane’s 4.48 psychosis. It’s weird how it was unfinished (or at least un-redrafted) and yet it’s easily her most performed work and probably the most famous play from that in yer face 90s British playwright era.

    How has your week been? Good I hope. I’ve had Randy Newman on non-stop since he topped your birthday playlist so thanks! There’s a funny doc that you can find on youtube basically agreeing with you that he’s the best but totally misread. The guy approaches his house and says something along the lines of “In my view this is the most important street in music, but you can probably fit the number of people who agree with me… on this street.”

    I’ve had a bit of a weird one. Went to Frankfurt for a visit before heading to Portugal because I’d been seeing someone there. They broke up with me yesterday morning, but the first train out of there and down to Lisboa was this morning, and in Germany everything (like, everything) is closed on a Sunday. So I was just sitting in her flat like, well I have 19 hours until I can leave. Fucking weird situation and not one I would recommend haha.

    Hope you have the best day

    • David Ehrenstein

      Capote was such a fucking LIAR. He sold a story called “Mojave” to “Esquire” years ago claiming it was part of “Answered Prayers.” It wasn’t. It’s included in the collection “Music For Chameleons” which was published to meet an “Answered Prayers” deadline. “La Cote Basque, 1965” was the first published piece from it. It’s one of his best stories. Got him in a world of trouble. The excerpts supposedly from “AP” that followed in “Esquire” were sloppy and second-rate.

      Capote was not without talent. His short stories are excellent. “In Cold Blood” is nothing special — just an inflated “True Crime Magazine” story sold to readers who wouldn’t dream of picking up such a magazine. His mistake with “AP” was thinking his society pals would enjoy seeing their dirty linen in public. he forgot that everyone he wrote about was dead long before Proust out pen to parchment.

      I think he worked best as a collaborator with others. LOVE “Beat the Devil” (John Huston) and “House of Flowers” (Harold Arlen)

  8. Misanthrope

    Dennis, I must give mention to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE LAST TYCOON. He died before he finished it, and what he did finish was fucking great. It would’ve been better than Gatsby and anything else he wrote.

    The dental appointment went well. No infection or exposed root. Weirdly, the smallest tooth she’d filled got the largest filling. It was a simple bite adjustment. Seems I bruised the nerve because that one was too high. I already feel better. She just sanded it down a bit. Said I should feel even better in a couple days.

    Here’s a funny John Waters story, told to me by my friend Sunder (who I met through Antler and Insidetheroar). He met Waters at a bar in NYC (I think it was in NYC), they got to talking. Just happened to be sitting next to each other. He said Waters was really cool. So Waters has to go to the bathroom. He comes back and goes, “This young guy stopped me on my way back and goes, ‘Hey, you’re Roger Waters!’ I just looked at him and said, ‘Yeah’ and kept on walking.”

    Well, this shutdown thing is really nothing new. It’s another case of pols wanting to attach all types of shit to a budget that should that could -and should- be taken care of with separate legislation. Happens all the time on both sides. There’s supposed to be a vote at noon today, so we’ll see.

  9. David Ehrenstein

    Fascinating Day.
    I think of “a la recherché du temps perdu” as essentially unfinished, much like “The Man Without Qualities.” Both are perfect.
    Sade’s “The 120 Days of Sodom” is unfinished. It’s last section is a mass of notes.

    Don’t forget Mallarme’s planned, notated but unfinished “Le Livre” (in which he intended to encompass all human thought)

    Firbank’s “The New Rhythm” — a novel about New York (a place he’d never visited) is unfinished.

  10. Steve Erickson

    I got into an argument with someone on Twitter who said that Waters was really a conservative. I said that his early films are critiques of the counterculture, but made with affection and an insiders’ perspective and they are proto-punk and porto-queer. The guy I was talking to said “the West Village is not the Paris commune” (blithely dismissing the entire history of the struggle for LGBT rights in half a sentence) and that punk was a fake rebellion invented by Malcolm McLaren to sell bondage trousers. None of his criticisms of it would even apply to the Clash or Buzzcocks, much less the many bands on indie labels expressing leftist politics; he seems to have watched THE GREAT ROCK’N’ROLL SWINDLE and believed everything McLaren said. As always, arguing in 140 character bursts is awful, and I gave up after the punk part.

    Have you started applying to any NYC festivals? I think New Directors/New Films would be a good idea, although they start in late March, so their deadline may have already come and gone. The LGBT festival Newfest doesn’t take place till September. BAM has an interesting festival of indie films in the summer, but it’s basically all American films.

    It was funny how Greta Gerwig went from wishy-washy comments about Allen, got pushback like “LADY BIRD doesn’t deserve any Oscar nominations if she won’t condemn him,” and two days later, she came forward with a strong attack on him. As with many actors’ criticisms of him, this seems really opportunistic, but everyone welcomed her later comments and trusted that they were sincere.

    I made an hour-long iTunes playlist of early Eminem songs, leaving out the extreme misogynist and homophobic lyrics, and I’m impressed by the amount of talent he had, how much he wasted it on shock value and saying “faggot” 5 times per song, and how much he has fallen off. I tried listening to his latest album on Spotify and could only make it 7 songs in. (It has 19 songs and is 79 minutes long.) “Stan” is a really great piece of storytelling and would make my list of the 10 best hip-hop songs ever – I also like the way it flips Dido’s rather cheerful “Thank You” by sampling its bleakest few lines – but back in 2000, I was too pissed off by his homophobia to ever admit or acknowledge that. As bad as REVIVAL is, he is now criticizing Trump for trying to ban transgender soldiers from the military!

    • David Ehrenstein

      Marshall Mathers is an obvious closet queen.

      I like Greta Gerwig and “Ladybird” but her Woody-Opportunism is lamentable. The Oscar noms haven’t been announced yet

      • Armando

        @David Ehrenstein

        “Marshall Mathers is an obvious closet queen.”

        ^ Really? You really think so? I’ll admit I’m curious; what makes you say it?

        • Steve Erickson

          On one song, Eminem says something like “It’s time to come out of the closet/Me and Dr. Dre have been getting it on” and Dre ad-libs “Suck it!” And “Stan” is about a fan who doesn’t consciously realize that he’s at least bisexual but keeps writing letters to Eminem ending “We should be together.”

  11. James Nulick


    Paul Slovak has been Bill Vollmann’s editor for years… I wonder how many times his head has been on a chopping block at Viking Penguin? I think he committed to publishing all 7 volumes of the Seven Dreams series, and Bill still hasn’t finished all the volumes yet (the dying grass was the latest installment). I can’t read big novels like that anymore, but I still support vollmann by buying each book when it comes out… they look good, sitting unread on the shelf. I’m kind of digital friends with a Washington DC reporter who is totally enamored of Vollmann. The reporter wrote an expose on Tyson, the meat conglomerate. It’s called The Meat Racket. He was gracious enough to mail me a signed copy from D.C. !

    Wow, what an awesome (restored) day! I love reading about authors’ unfinished and failed projects. Prince Jellyfish is a kickass title! I’d love to read it! The Richard Yates story, how sad.

    Dennis, did you read Bartleby & Company by Enrique Vila Matas? It’s a fictional treatment of authors who only wrote one or two books, then said “enough.” It’s also drop dead funny.

    I wrote my first novel when I was 15. I spent a year and a half on it, writing it on 3×5 cards, then transferring the handwritten stuff to paper via a Brother typewriter. It was called UPC (universal product code) and it was about how bar codes are controlled by Satan. When a govt psychiatrist (Dr Josephina Del Rio) figures this out, Satan sends minions after her to destroy her. Hahahaha ?

    I shredded the novel in a Fellowes shredder around 2001.

    The dialogue was so horrible I’d read passages out loud to friends in college and we’d all have a good laugh. My friends Chris and Cyrus would insist on me reading Page 61 (a really terribly overwrought sex passage) when I was drunk. But I wrote it when I was 16 and still a virgin!

    Thank god for Fellowes power shredders.

    Oh Dennis, I emailed you a few pics.


  12. James Nulick


    May you be strong at your friend Paul’s funeral today. My heart goes out to you.

  13. Bill

    Good luck with the SF Film Fest submission, Dennis. They’re not a terribly adventurous bunch, but the cachet of Rotterdam should help.

    Back in my Delany-obsessed youth, I’d spend every few months wondering when The Splendor of etc will be coming out. These days I’ll probably think it’s too long, haha. Ah, so that’s what happened to Seth Morgan. I remember loving Homeboy, though I doubt that it’ll hold up.

    A nice Sunday outing:

    Not what I expected, but very interesting. I’m not sure I understand the insistence on presenting these as “installations”. Other than the big multi-screen piece, I thought the others were perfectly workable in a theater etc.


  14. Jamie

    Hey Dennis,
    How was the funeral? I was thinking of you yesterday. I’ve sometimes found funerals to be helpful in a realising kind of way, if that makes any sense. I hope it was okay for you.
    I like all the unfinished novels. Some of the the stories are sad, particularly Denton Welch’s, but I find the idea of these books to be quite romantic and satisfyingly mysterious. I love that Evelyn Waugh’s was burned, although I read it as buried first time, which I liked even more.
    Great that you’re finding your script really ‘fucking good’! That’s beautiful. Are you able to share any vagaries of what you’ve got so far? Totally understand if not.
    I finished my screenwriting course this afternoon and it was actually quite good in the end. Not anything amazing, but I applied some of their exercises about character development (which I was approaching a little sneerily ) to a character in a thing I’ve half written, and came up with this scene that kind of reinvigorated and opened up the whole project. Pleasantly surprised.
    Oh, and check this – Hannah’s been awarded a grant for a project to mark Muriel Spark’s centenary. She’s well pleased and I’m well proud. Coincidentally I’m currently reading A Far Cry From Kensington on your recommendation, which is an absolute delight of a novel.
    How was the rest of your Monday?
    May your Tuesday make you feel, at least for a wee bit, like the guy who knocked my door earlier and asked if he could leave a parcel for my neighbour here – he was really happy.
    Megacrazydiamondencrustedtoastedfinest love,

  15. Wolf

    Dennis, Mr C!
    Ah, no, I meant that Marc thought you were not fond of black and white shooting in general, not this specific movie. But he might have misremembered anyway.
    Embrace of the Serpent is interesting in that respect because it takes place in the Amazon, which is rarely ever depicted otherwise than in color: in a way, why would you want to, given how overwhelmingly rich the greenery is. But dense forests end up looking almost black and white to the eye anyway because of the way the sun disappears through the many layers of green, and rarely ever hits the ground. Basically, a jungle is almost fully in shade, with some spots of overly bright light peering through. A nightmare to shoot.

    Meanwhile, thousands of miles away from tropical lushness, it was snowing here yesterday, after 2 days of relentless rain: those fat, wet snowflakes that sputter down half-arsely until they hit the ground in a ‘eeeh whatever’ slosh, just to show you that they can, and you wonder what the point of all that is, really, when there are polar bears in the arctic who cannot find fish for dinner. I mean, really. Why even bother snow at all if this is all that comes out of it, you know? Why get our hopes up just to crush them so limply? Do we need to sky to tell us in so many words ‘fuck winter, fuck spring, fuck warmth, fuck cold, fuck all this, but above all: fuck you.’?
    I’m not taking it personally but, well, what can I say.

    Very nice, melancholy day today. Are there any unfinished Dennis Cooper novels sitting in a dusty drawer somewhere?

  16. Sypha

    Dennis, yeah re: Waters I probably should, it’s just I have a lot of trouble sitting down and watching a film straight through on my PC because I’m so easily distracted (in theaters not so much because there’s less distractions I suppose). It’s weird how I can really focus on reading books but when I watch films at home my attention tends to stray, perhaps because the latter is a more passive experience? Then again, I was able to make it through “Burlesque” a few weeks back, so I suppose I have no excuse, ha ha.

    Oh man, unfinished novels, I have a lot of experience in that field. I’m great at starting novels but very rarely finish them, to the extent that the rare few I do finish I treat as the literary equivalent of a Lourdes miracle! My own failed novel that has given me the most pain over the years is, of course, the Warhol novel. Every year I think about reviving it but nothing ever seems to come out of it… my best shot at it (aside from when I first started writing it, in 2007) was when I resurrected it in 2012: I started to organize my notes in this big art sketchbook, which I filled with outlines, historical data, pictures of Warhol superstars (and their relevant biographical facts), sketches of the floor plan of the Silver Factory, timelines, you name it. But then I lost faith in the project again and destroyed the sketchbook, an action I’ve regretted over the years as I don’t think I could recreate it today.

  17. Thomas Moronic

    Nice to see this post again.

    My pleasure about the PGL trailer Dennis. And thanks for being eager for me to see it! I’ll match your eagerness and raise it by a zillion? So excited to lay my eyes on that thing. The trailer gave me chills – goosebumps, literally. Novel is good well thanks, still feeling out its shape in the dark. And my new book of poems will be out on Kiddiepunk next month which I’m very happy about. Looking forward to that strange creature to be birthed.

    I hope the funeral went as well as those things can.

  18. _Black_Acrylic

    Kafka was really the master of the unfinished novel, but I think with him that was always kind of the point somehow.

    I finished a book just now, Gary J. Shipley – Warewolff! and I absolutely loved it. This guy’s my new fave writer. I also see he included Zac’s Haunted House on this list of his top abstract horror.

  19. Misanthrope

    (Btw, I’ll probably just have a post here with my screenname. I can’t see it now, but it was the only way to see any other comments later on in the day. Yikes.)

  20. Cal Graves

    Hey Dennis,
    didnt see you email, but I’ll get right on that.
    You advice/thoughts have been very helpful an enlightening today. a lot of the emotional plot is centered around Poz’s relationships to others that he encounters and how he fucks up those important relationships or just doenst understand them. He’s also reversed to George, if that makes sense. I think you’re right re: the goal becoming an under current. Abstraction and obscurity might need to be strengthened in the piece overall. Hm…lots to thinkabout/consider. Thank you Dennis.

    Ohh, i love tidbits about dead/unfinished novels. Gonna comb thru this after dinner.


  21. Keaton

    Hey D. thought I’d say hey. Is it true there’s a trailer? Congrats to you and Zach. Playing Zelda and writing. Hope youre good. Kisses

    New Story

  22. Alex Der

    I like the helpful information you provide in your article.
    Best Bath Bombs With Rings

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