The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Young Love Takes Shape, a gif story (for Zac)
















































































































































p.s. Hey. ** Kai, Hi. Yeah, it’s glorious. With the big time change, I wouldn’t be surprised re: the post/comment timing, and I am starting to check back now. I’ve ‘harassed’ Ishmael again, and Chris Cochrane too, so hopefully between the two of them, a video will get ponied up and off to you in time. I’m on it. ** David Ehrenstein, Yes, I’m excited for you to see PGL. As soon as the LA date and locale are set, I’ll let you know. Early Feb. ** Derek McCormack, Derek, maestro, my dear pal and hero! Thank you for gracing my place. Millhauser is so great. Easily one the best writers the US has birthed, if you ask me. You good, I hope? I miss you! ** Sypha, Yes, I’ve been waiting for you to comment so I could tell you that I got Xmas card, and it’s wonderful, and thank you so much! And how, if I’m not mistaken, cool that my previous gif story was a source for it? I like the HS cover. It’s woozy. ** Nik, Hi, Nik. It’s a really great novel, I think. I’m a huge fan of his work in general, but that might be his masterpiece. Good luck with the cracking down. It’s good to feel solid enough about what you’re working on to get feedback. I just can’t do it. It totally confuses me. When I was early in the working on ‘God Jr.’, I read part of it aloud at a reading, and the response, which was mostly extremely enthusiastic, was so confusing to me that I stopped working on the novel for a year. I seem to need to guard my stuff until I suspect it’s ‘perfect’. Yeah, Zac and I are writing the TV script together. In a way Gisele is involved too because we show our ‘finished’ drafts to her and then incorporate her feedback in the final version. It’s really easy. Zac and I just have this total mental bond or something, and when we make things together it’s a bit like one person split in two. It changes the process because we have equal say, and I’m not reliant entirely on my own ideas and talent and instincts, and neither is he. It’s very good in our case. I don’t think I could work that way with anyone else, or I would be very surprised. The TV script will go to an official translator. Then Zac (with my help) will finesse the translation so that it works as subtly and intricately in French as it did in English, which will involve a fair amount of work since the languages are so different. I’m easing towards being objective enough to listen to the new Xiu Xiu track, ha ha. This weekend. You have a great one! ** Dominik, Hi! Yeah I like it, the first buche. It’s creepy. It’s kind of like those pods in ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’. Still deciding on the rest, although I have to decide soon. Some of them are ltd. ed., and they do sell out. The innocence of Hatsune Miku is very interesting. You’re watching a spectacle, a young female pop star, where there’s generally always an erotic or longing aspect or something as a part of the show, and that’s absent, and you noice and feel that absence, and that’s extremely interesting. 10 days! Wait, maybe only 9 now! The day before yesterday, I dutifully opened the window on my advent calendar, and there was no chocolate. It was obviously a mistake, but it spooked me a little, like it was a bad omen. I’ll see if I can find something about ‘Girl’ online. My week was heavy script work, as predicted. And my back, which has been kind of shitty to me every once in a while since I was a kid — I grew faster than it did — decided to fuck up on me like it does occasionally, so I’ve been in pain, but it’s getting better. But that did slow me down. Now I’m waiting to see if Paris explodes from the big protests today. All the shops and everything around me are closed and boarded up just in case. Gulp. So I think it’ll be a quiet, or, rather, very noisy, impaired weekend around here. I hope yours gives you everything! ** _Black_Acrylic, It’s a super great novel. I highly recommend it. Enjoy your weekend maximally, buddy. ** Keayton, I think it might be very interesting to get older inside but stay young outside. Hm, or maybe not. I had to do everything yesterday because today everything is boarded up, and the streets will be filled with angry people. I might tiptoe around. I don’t want a dick for Xmas. I don’t even want an ass, I don’t think. Well, maybe. Depending. I’m guessing Parisians are better, but you know me. Survive everything. ** Steve Erickson, I almost never remember my dreams either. Or I think do for about 6 seconds, but then the dream’s gone, vamoose. When I do remember, I don’t think I ever dream about celebrities, which us weird because everyone I know seems to. I’ve always been very fond of the second Pete Shelley album, ‘XL1’. ** Bill, ‘Edwin Mullhouse’ is great. Me too, re: Paris. I’ll know soon enough. The sky is buzzing loudly with helicopters as I type, so … eek. Frith lives there? That’s so weird. Now I want to go listen to my Slapp Happy albums. Especially … what’s the really good one with the Henry Cow collab. … ‘Desperate Straits’? Enjoy your presumably war-free weekend! ** Misanthrope, Good that LPS is sourcing amusing anecdotes again. That’s a good start. Belated happy b’day to your heroic mom! Andrew Holleran? Dude, you’re so gay. I read ‘Dancer from …’ back when, not my thing. I think I tried to read ‘Nights in Aruba’, really not my thing. You never see anybody talk about The Violet Quill anymore. That’s a good thing, if you ask me, which you didn’t. But I digress. Enjoy the shit out of your weekend. ** Okay. I suppose it might a bit ostentatious of me to devote a whole weekend to one of my gif works, but I think this is one of my best ever, and so I’m giving it the two-day treatment, and, if it interests or effects you, I would love to hear anything about how, of course. If it doesn’t, enjoy whatever else you do until Monday. Assuming my portion of Paris remains intact, I will see you then.


  1. doupe


  2. David Ehrenstein

    “God Jr.” got that audience was response because it was such a departure for you. Very raw and emotional in a way that those familiar with your previous work weren’t expecting.

    The “Violet Quill” was a thing of its time and that time has passed. “Gay” used to be “controversial.” It isn’t anymore. That’s a good thing in one way and bad in another. Same-sexuality in and of itself isn’t enough to “push the envelope.” Edges must be honed.

  3. Kit-on

    haha, i dont want to think about it. my mom said the other day, “you live and you learn.” and i said, “i dont believe that. i think you just hang on.” and she told me i was wrong and then i thought about it and felt confused. its impossible for me to regret most of my life, getting older is certainly not one of them now that ive buried so many i never thought would hit the dirt before me.
    besides i age like a fine wine. i think one of the things that keeps me young is talking with young ones, their talk is like the fountain of youth. I would totally, get out there and check it out. So ok weird dream… I’m in this house with all these blond people, like 20 of them, and theres this one little girl and another kid in the TV room, the little girl is a little black girl named “the doctor” and the other kid with her is a handheld toy, he is a skeleton inside a coffin. so the doctor watches TV really close to the screen and talks to me about something, while the other kid makes jokes about his back hurting and does his action but hes chained inside the coffin. then i go with some marijuana and start cleaning a fish bowl. i transfer the fish to the fish food container and they are starved, so they eat paths in the food until they die. when i pour them out they are cooked fillets. haha then the dream ends with an old guy in a 70s suit singing lightly on stage, “Get-on-down-the-road…” haha. Santa has a special list for your blog. I hear hes watching Mary Ellen Trainor videos getting pumped. This Gif looks great gonna check it out. “Dont wanna leave ya now…” xoxo

  4. Sypha

    Dennis, glad to hear the card got to you okay. Sorry my posting here has been erratic as of late, but, you know what the holiday season is like for retail workers, ha ha… I still read the blog every day, though. Yes, like last year I used an image from your last GIF work, ha ha. When I’m not sure what to draw for you that has become my new default…

    I just hope re: the HS cover that people don’t look at it and assume that it’s about people smoking pot in Harlem!

  5. Misanthrope

    Dennis, While this is titled “Young Love Takes Shape,” it very well could relate to any relationship I’ve had, young or old. Good on you for this, sir. I really like it.

    Ha! I learn something new every day. The Violet Quill. I was totally unfamiliar with it. Reading up on it just now, I’m kind of glad of that.

    The funny thing about “Dancer from the Dance” to me is that it does nothing that Rechy hadn’t already done (and much better) in “City of Night.”

    Reading “The Beauty of Men,” one can’t help but get this feeling -and I always try to avoid this but can’t with this one- that Holleran really hates being gay. Or did. I’ll cut him slack, however, because I think there is a generational disconnect for me. I imagine a gay man who’s lost tons of friends to AIDS looks at things differently than a guy like me who hasn’t. Not such gay men in general, of course, but I could see individual gay men feeling the way his characters feel. But still, you and DavidE and Bernard lived through all of that and don’t seem to think of being gay as being shit, so there’s that.

    I guess maybe it’s because Holleran’s characters see being gay as the reason for their dying from AIDS…or so it seems. It certainly reads that way, rather than being gay is okay (even great) but fuck, there’s this AIDS shit hanging over us and it hit our “community” particularly hard.

    Just the title “Nights in Aruba” turns me off.

    I agree with DavidE re: God Jr. I read that before I ever met you, you know, and as I’ve told you, there were passages in that book that brought tears to my eyes because the writing was just so stellar and such a punch in the gut. I think I told you this, but at one point, I remember saying out loud, “He’s become a master.” Seriously.

    That’s the funny thing, too, about my liking your work. Before I met you, I’d read all of your novels to that point and had already put you in my Top 5 living writers. Most people I know think that we met, I started reading your stuff, and then my reading was colored by our friendship. Never happened that way. I was already a huge superfan of your writing before I met you. God Jr is still my fave, with Try, My Loose Thread, and The Sluts very close seconds. Oh, fuck, Guide was great too, hahaha. And… 😉

  6. Bill

    This is a particularly playful, cryptic set today, Dennis. The dialog within each mini-section is intriguing and often very funny.

    Hope you and Zac are staying out of trouble. The news photos from Paris look pretty intense. Nothing of that sort around here, though this is the weekend of the dreaded Santacon. But since some neighborhoods like mine have been complaining about the large hordes of drunk suburbanites in Santa costumes staggering around the streets, the participants have stayed clear for the most part.

    Frith has been living in the area and teaching at Mills College for awhile. But I hear he’s retiring and most likely moving away, so I don’t know if we’ll get all these Frith shows anymore. Desperate Straights, wow! A classic.

    By the way, have you seen the new Korean film Burning? Very nice, though it could be umm shorter.


  7. Kai

    Very cool, thanks a lot!

    Very nice rhythms in today’s Gif story. And I like the accordance/friction between a first love encounter and a signature.

    Only three days left in Tokyo sigh But I will be back for New Year’s Eve, so it’s really not that long. With all the time I’ve been spending here for so many years, it will be my first New Year in Japan.

  8. Kai

    And once again, my post just disappeared. Trying again:

    Very cool, thanks a lot!

    Very nice rhythms in today’s Gif story. And I like the accordance/friction between a first love encounter and a signature.

    Only three days left in Tokyo sigh But I will be back for New Year’s Eve, so it’s really not that long. With all the time I’ve been spending here for so many years, it will be my first New Year in Japan.

  9. Derek McCormack

    Genius, genius, genius, genius, genius — genius day today, Dennis. I’m giving a talk at a gallery today about Vera West (and Kenneth Anger and Jack Smith). I’m all nerves. I have meds to calm me, mercifully. Love, D

  10. Steve Erickson

    Santacon always makes me want to lock myself in my apartment for the whole day. I did get out yesterday and walk 15 minutes to a theater showing THE FAVOURITE, which is pretty good despite adding to my misgivings that Yorgos Lanthimos is a shallow misanthrope rather than a brilliant social critic (it works because he also cares about entertaining the audience and can be very funny.) But I hated passing by drunk bros in Santa costumes, especially when there was a huge line of them waiting for entrance to a bar.

    I like your use of anime imagery here. There’s an innocence to this which bears out the title, despite the references to Richard Ramirez.

    My obit for Pete Shelley should be published in Gay City News any time now.

    FWIW, Netflix will start streaming GIRL in the US Jan. 16th.

  11. Will C.

    Hey, Dennis:

    Looking forward to your year-end wrap. Haven’t commented in awhile, again. Glad to see you still doing this. Always loved it and the community you created.


  12. _Black_Acrylic

    Ah love’s young dream, yes I love this! A lot of tension here as well as all the hugs and kisses and fireworks, but then that’s what young love is all about, right?

  13. Nik

    Hey Dennis,

    Dude!! This is incredible! Such a good balance of innovation and emotional quality. I also think this played with language and the relationships between shapes and language in a ways that the others only came close to. Big congrats xoxo!!!

    Yeah, the story’s coming together nicely, so I’ll definitely be okay sharing it with people. Right now the ending is a little more show-y than necessary, it’s this chaotic moment that I feel would be a lot more effective if the chaos was more suppressed, if that makes sense. I have a bad habit of trying to make stories end in these explosive moments that really don’t have to be explosive, so I’m gonna work on ironing that out.

    Huh, that’s really interesting about the ‘God Jr.’ experience. I really love that book, but I can see how people loving it for a bunch of different reasons while in your head he novel still developing and could be about a totally different thing than the compliments you’re receiving could be really frustrating. Is that why it was confusing? Or was it just exposure in general? I know you just read from the novel you’re about to work on again after the ARTE show is done. How was that different? I don’t mean to be annoying with the questions, but I’m also majorly fascinated by process and, having never given a reading, this topic is super interesting to me. If you don’t wanna go into it I totally get that.

    That’s awesome that you and Zac are able to write together. I’ve tried to write with other people and I get what you mean, unless you have really similar sensibilities with the other person it’s not really worth the clash at all.

    What are you up to this week? Hope you had a great weekend!

  14. Keaton

    So heres some thoughts on the riots…

    place de republique. the great statue of marianne.
    enscribed with the values of the republic, fraternity, egality, and something. it used to be an outdoor skating area in the 19th century. the various wares of the center of the square now skateboarders and drug dealers. an arab boy pisses on the statue. around the square bad restaurants, and fancy coutre shops. pick an avenue. easy to pick the wrong one sometimes. and that glorious glow in the night when drunk and lost. the lesson of the current riots in France is a lesson about class. in America, give a man a dollar and hell think hes as rich as George Washington, and if he hasnt a dollar he will just play Clint Eastwood. the old fight club, “there are not cats in America…” Americans suffer from a terrible case of false-consciousness. everyone drives a fancy car in America, cars are cheap here, theyre made in Korea and elsewhere. you wanna make money, sell those Jags. in France class is visible, it is defined, difference is flaunted, displayed, used, and everyday. the filthy suburbans to the north with bad teeth and questionable genes. spend long enough in the Latin quarter or at one of the various of Napoleons colleges and you might just make it someday to that International Style apartment with servants from the continent. feathered hairdoes, 70s throwback, ortolan, and slender vagines. ask the Nazis what happens when thousands of the train drivers go on strike. ask them what happens when all the French police show up without their papers, “were not in the habit of that kind of thing anymore”. class-consciousness is possible in France because of the visibility of class-differance. it is need and imaginary frustration that breathes in the blood of Paris. collective-action is possible because of this difference. class is immutable for most. dominance, social-engineering, surveillance, make sure of this. “when the children cry, let them know we tried…” you give an inch theyll take a mile as they say. social-change is possible if not by bloody halls then by sugar walls. see you at the Stad. Long live France.

  15. Jeff J

    Hey Dennis – Fantastic new GIF story. On first read, one of my favorites and the ending in particular was very striking, a great gif pairing and how it created something new that felt tailor-made for the story. Liked the use of handwriting and scrawls throughout. The flow of the story, too. Look forward to reading it again in a few days, like I usually do with the GIF pieces, and seeing what comes through then.

    Did you ever get a copy of ‘Destroy All Monsters’? Asked FSG to send one, but I know the mail can be erratic.

    How’re things with PGL promo? And has the new screenplay been translated and shared with your producer yet?

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