My Writing

Monday, January 24, 2011

Interview Brett Gallagher

I interviewed my friend, Brett Gallagher, on the occasion of his soon-coming ebook, Loop Loop Endogenous Nightscape, a collaboration with the artist Elizabeth Arnold, published by Paul Cunningham's Radioactive Moat. The book is language-rich and unique, and I thought I'd rather talk with Brett about it than review it. Brett and I met after he wrote about Pop Serial #1. He has since become my friend and contributed a piece called "Apropos of Nothing" to Pop Serial #2. Brett lives in Wheaton, IL and has visited numerous times to bro down with Steve Roggenbuck and I. Like Finnegans Dada, like lone room floorboard coffee dream, words of Loop Loop mystify gone settle in.

When/how/why did this become a book? When/how/why did this become a collaboration?

loop loop endogenous nightscape in time book share others thots of mind collaborative venture once come across elizabeth arnold's art like make scratch head say what are this work of abyssal graves sleeplessness shuttle astrolabe magnificant mesopelagic fluorescent epifauna of organic mindgrowth

What was your process like? How do you work with/think of words/language?

i hollow wind sing sung way thru creep of mind shadowplay against wall awake late hours reading notetaking spinal elongation of artist brush in dusty creak crack books local library produce spin of cpu north i and i affixed this face glance thru thots percolate stare at wall repeat until rest find i's and i asleep

words aral sea i say words excavator from seafoam of

Do you think of what you're doing as painting with words, as Steve Roggenbuck put it?

yes loop loop endogenous nightscape no inherent meaning pieces drawn from viewing mostly surreal and dada art journal immediate unconscious conscious thots allow space time distance permeate when time feel right hold desert in hand adorned cloak drowned shadow sit down think type word after before above other word until reach textual collage get across felt moment timespace

understand some pull meaning read different level okay fine hi hello thanks real statement wavecrash rush openhead gust blow thru nope shed yr second skin become less than imposter in unlit lightblack sky

What has your relationship with Paul Cunningham been like? Do yall text or gchat sometimes?

paul follow blog some point future email gchat paul enjoy gertrude stein quote from tender buttons we begin talk more often soon publish piece slab literary magazine which paul managing editor gchat each time we see other online now present

What have you been reading lately? Do you think it or other work has inspired your work?

during time thots creationing read much dada and surrealist literature awake hourcreep spent dissassembler mind w. prints other artistic mind automatic notetake journal beside soon fill observations core samples wordassociations later use inspire directioning channel thru which loop loop endogenous nightscape became

art more so literature inspirationing work of late sit think scan eye over page mindcreeps set in braincortex begin spinning type type thots secure mind moment previous

What's your sign? What do you look for in a girl?

intellect challenge me think not blind accept composure feel good about life talk other understands transience of earthpassing delight pass time together in spite certain stopwhir finality

Who or what excites you in the contemporary literary world?

who undoubtedly blake butler ben marcus lisa jarnot sam pink lyn hejinian

Boxers or briefs or boxer briefs?


What would you like to do next, writing-wise?

larger scale continue where with loop loop endogenous nightscape begin stitch certain coherency reflect deep deeper descent early modern art cubism futurism dada surrealism w. writing imagery those mayakovsky kharms kazimir malevich suprematist canvas soundscape erik satie create island stratovolcano wordtext built dreamscape nocturne night lit succession

Do you believe in love? What do you dream of at night?

sure i have repeated dreams where i ascend staircase in middle of house pitchblack rightside of street look around find self room small occult black magick books stack high dusty pentagram shine side case scan look look dim confuse exit walk out begin downstairs miss step fall murdered cloaked individuals terror what is this awake

thank you very much for the interview and your time, stephen.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Hey Yall,

Some quick news:

I read a piece called "What the Fuck Does 'In Real Life' Mean If You Live In Front of Your Computer?" at QUICKIES! reading series at Innertown Pub on 1.11.11. Video courtesy of my good friend, Steve Roggenbuck. Thank you to Lindsay Hunter and Mary Hamilton for having me. The text version of the piece is forthcoming at Michael Inscoe's literary site, unsure if i will allow my beard to grow for much longer.

Ana C. published five poems by me at New Wave Vomit.

Luna Miguel, a poet and translator living in Madrid, translated one of those poems, "longing is a word," into Spanish.

Many of my friends have ebooks or print books coming out. 2kdouble1 continues to seem exciting.

Steve and I have discussed doing a collaborative project called I LOVE MUSIC.

Ana and I have discussed doing some kind of collaborative project.

Print copies of Pop Serial #2 are slowly making their way out into the world.

M. Kitchell will be designing a website to house the magazine online.

Pop Serial #3 will likely happen in the future. I know of at least 4 people I'd like to add to the existing/ongoing roster.

Hung out at Cassandra Troyan and Sara Drake's last night for EAR EATER #3. Saw some nice readings/performances. Met Natalie Shapero. Leif Haven is back from France. Steve and I took the bus home together and determined that it was "fuckin cold out."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Some of my favorite short prose writers

Some of my favorite short prose writers are Julio Cortázar, J.D. Salinger, Lydia Davis, Djuna Barnes, and Samuel Beckett.

Cortázar seems like an inimitable master of the short story to me. He has an interesting imagination, his language is idiosyncratic, and he often creates spring-loaded stories that "burst" in certain parts and surprise me. Some of my favorites are "A Yellow Flower," which was the inspiration for "Son of Sky-god"; "Continuity of Parks," which is a good example of the spring-loaded ending; "Blow-Up," the inspiration for the movie of the same name; "Bestiary"; "End of the Game."

Cortázar also wrote the novel Hopscotch, which is one of my all-time favorites, and he wrote the hard-to-classify book Cronopios and Famas, which I also enjoyed a lot. Cortázar is one of my favorite writers, overall, and is one of a number of Spanish-language authors that I have gotten into in the last couple years, along with Roberto Bolaño, Clarice Lispector, and Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis.

J.D. Salinger wrote some short stories that I like a lot. "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" is one of those short stories that seem perfect to me, which is interesting, because perfection seems impossible, and yet I honestly don't know what could be added to, removed from, or changed about the story to make it feel better. "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" also seems spring-loaded and well-formed as Cortázar's stories are, in a way analogous to a finely composed pop song with nice verses, a very memorable chorus, and a sweet bridge. Sometimes I feel unsure how I feel re well-formed short stories, not Salinger's and Cortázar's, but other people's, because I have read plenty of well-formed short stories that don't make me feel anything, because they seem more concerned with being well-formed than with whatever emotions or thoughts/kernels might inspire a writer to write something, which is what I am "about"/like as a writer, I feel--I have an emotion or a kernel of a thought from somewhere, life or other art--and then I write, shape, rewrite some thing. However, I aspire sometimes to write a well-formed short story that feels personal and/or moving/interesting in the manner of some of Salinger's and Cortázar's stories, or at least to "improve" re the shape, form, and effect(s) of my stories/prose pieces.

Getting back to "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," it feels like a koan, in addition to being a well-done short story, which I like because I am interested in Zen.

I also like "For Esmé--with Love and Squalor" and "Teddy" by Salinger. But my favorite things by him are The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, and Seymour: An Introduction. I love J.D. Salinger. He is probably my favorite author and one of my biggest inspirations, along with James Joyce and Tao Lin, which is a weird trio of inspirations, I'd say. I wrote about J.D. Salinger for The Fanzine, and some associate editor published it while the main editor was attending the birth of his child, and then it was pulled, because it was too [something] and was not supposed to be published, but there was miscommunication between the editors, all of which I completely understood, but it's cached here somehow. Anyways...

I finally read Lydia Davis' Break It Down, and I loved it, especially "Story" (interesting; nice); "Break It Down" (idk, I like it); "The Letter" (bleak, nice); "Extracts from a Life" (love this one, Zen,sweet, moving); "Mothers" (said "damn" to myself after reading this one); "Two Sisters" (sweet fable); "The Mother" (brutal, extremely bleak); "Once a Very Stupid Man" (sweet); "Five Signs of Disturbance" (sweet). I look forward to reading more Lydia Davis.

Djuna Barnes wrote Spillway and Other Stories and I am a fan of it. I loaned it to Mary Chen, so I don't have it in front of me right now, but it is strange and menacing and sweet, in my opinion.

I read The Complete Short Prose (1929-1989) by Samuel Beckett and liked it a lot. Beckett is also a big inspiration for me. Before reading Beckett, I thought I might not like him or that I'd appreciate him but be bored. Turns out he is very funny, he writes beautiful sentences, and I feel absorbed while reading him no matter how much he rubs my face in shit. One of the standout qualities re Beckett for me is his ability to write memorable-seeming lines. He seems to really excel at writing lines that I feel the urge to underline. My Beckett books are underlined all to hell. My favorites from the short prose include "First Love" (funny, impressive, moving, bleak); "Texts for Nothing" (a little difficult to read but sweet, bleak); "All Strange Away" (sweet, another one in that The Unnameable/How It Is, etc. stream-of-words Beckett style that has been copied many times and never equaled, imho); "Ping" (bleak, intense); the "Fizzles" (interesting, "poetic," bleak); "Stirrings Still" (moving).

I highly recommend Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnameable, Watt, How It Is, and The Complete Short Prose by Beckett. If you have only read his plays, I feel like you are missing out big time.

OK, that'll be all for now. Thank you for reading. Some other stories I dig: "Good People" by David Foster Wallace, story 34 from AM/PM by Amelia Gray, "Airplane: Or, How He Talked to Himself As If Reciting Poetry" by Haruki Murakami, "Inner Compulsion" by Thomas Bernhard, "Gusev" by Anton Chekhov, "The Dead" by James Joyce, "No Matter How Many Times I Read Your Confession, There's One Thing I Just Don't Understand: Why Didn't You Kill the Woman?" by Ryu Murakami, and "A Historical Breakfast" by Russell Edson.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Son of Sky-god

We are mortal, I know it sounds like a joke. I know because I found the one exception. I found him on a city bus, or he found me. His name was Julio. We spoke different languages but could understand each other perfectly. He had lived for more than 10,000 years. I didn’t believe at first, but then he showed me his diaries. They took up his whole house, the diaries. He wrote at least one new entry every day. He didn’t know the word “diary,” though. He called them “aspects of my spirit.” That seemed fanciful, but I didn’t say anything. “What do you write with?” I asked. He showed me his stylus. It was made from charcoal, he said. “Do you have a wife?” I asked. He smiled but didn’t answer. He pointed at the window. Inside, he said. I nodded. He made me lunch and watched me eat. We walked through his garden behind the house. There was a well in the center of the garden. There was a small pool of water gathered at the bottom of the well. Julio took my hand and pressed the charcoal stylus into my palm. Kill me, he said. Please kill me.


Happy New Year, everyone!

I had a great year last year, mostly.

Defended Brandon Scott Gorrell's defense of Tao Lin on HTMLGIANT. Became embroiled in a historic shitstorm of notable proportions. Ceaselessly, and some say, robotically, rebuffed the advances of haters and haterettes. Began communicating with Brandon, Tao, and then others.

Started doing Pop Serial. Met many wonderful literary-ish and/or artsy people, including Roxane Gay, Rebekah Silverman, Tadd Adcox, Laura Szumowski, Amanda Marbais, Ian McCarty, Fred Sasaki, Steve Roggenbuck, Jessica Kirsch, Brett Gallagher, Cassandra Troyan, Sara Drake, James Payne, Lyra Hill, Dolly Lemke, Aris Bordeaux, Kelly Forsythe, Mary Chen, Sam Pink, Jordan Castro, Mallory Whitten, Andrew James Weatherhead, Lindsay Hunter, Mary Hamilton, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Robyn Pennacchia, Brandon Will, Jac Jemc, Andy Farkas, Kathleen Rooney, David Welch, Zach Dodson, Patrick Somerville, Elizabeth Arnold, Jacob Knabb, Jaimie Eubanks, Mike Kitchell, and Blake Butler.

Met Tao Lin, who is very nice and a big inspiration for me. Emailed with him, interviewed him, hung out with him, felt very happy seeing him in real life.

Hung out with Rebekah Silverman, Tadd Adcox, and Laura Szumowski, and met all their nice friends. Touched Brandon Will's hair.

Chilled with Landon Manucci and handed a copy of Pop Serial to Dave Eggers. Hung out with Steve Roggenbuck and Jessica Kirsch a lot. Felt and feel love, inspiration, and kinship from/toward Steve. Broed down numerous times with Brett Gallagher. Met and became fast friends with Cassandra Troyan.

Got my drank on with Reggie "OKCupid" Scruggs, Bob Marshall, Nick "Archie Powell" Junkunc, Mike "Muscles" Ewing, Adam "Melby" Melberth, Ryan and Laura Lynch, Emily Sorlie, and the incomparable force of nature/sex machine known as RJ "Rage" Schillaci. Met up with Kelsey Zigmund a bunch of times to drink and mope.

Visited Minneapolis. Saw my old roomie, Danell Norby. Met Jaimie Eubanks for a drink. Met Louisa Podlich and experienced my first photoshoot.

Hung out with Leif Haven again, and Sara Peck, and others from Columbia. Enjoyed hanging with Kelly Forsythe and teasing her about [things]. Re-met Carrie Lorig. Attempted and sometimes failed to meet Lindsay Teague at readings so she/I would know someone else there. Chilled with Michael Inscoe, Phillip Rex Huddleston, and friends when they were visiting Chicago.

Was the inspiration for a new hot drink/blackout aid called the Tully Bomb, created by Megan Boyle, which was sweeping the nation until The Man outlawed Four Loko/fun. "Overdid it" at a relevant house party with messy results. Was nursed back to health by wonderful friends Cassandra, Sara, and Sam, I think?

Worked for two weeks at American Apparel. Met some very nice people there... Got a job at Groupon. Experienced extreme relief re [getting a job at Groupon, decrease in financial worries and associated angst, to some degree, possibly].

Became good friends with people online, particularly the lovely Ana C. and Richard Chiem. Feel like I "must" meet them in real life. Have often pictured "frolicking" around a city with Ana, pointing at things, laughing, whispering things, and having a lot of fun.

Published two issues of Pop Serial.

Blogged a shit-ton in support of my friends.

Hosted the first-ever Pop Serial reading at Cafe Ballou. Felt very happy while watching everyone read. Had a great time hanging out with Jordan, Mallory, Andrew, Sam, Carrie, Mary, Cassandra, Brett, and Steve. Talked for a long while with Mary about [many things].

Got published for the first time, in New Wave Vomit, thanks to Ana C.

Got published by Metazen, thanks to Frank Hinton.

Got published by The Scrambler, thanks to Jeremy Spencer.

Got published by Thought Catalog, thanks to Brandon Scott Gorrell.

Published some things at HTMLGIANT, thanks to Blake Butler, and some reviews.

Didn't get published by anyone else. Hehe...

Read in public for the first time.

Was called "a hack" by Lily Hoang on HTMLGIANT; received strong support/refutation of this sentiment, courtesy of numerous people. Received an apology from Lily Hoang. No hard feelings. Just seemed memorable.

Left a bunch of crazy-ass, passionate, jocular, and/or inane comments on various lit blogs.

Felt, for the first time in my life, like being an author was possible and not just a dream.

Felt I had met kindred spirits, after what seems like a long wait, something I had wanted so much for so long whether I had realized it or not.

Felt a little bit closer to feeling like I am doing the things I know how to do and want to do.

Felt love for other people and for myself.

In 2kdouble1, I hope to chill more, write a novel, and investigate the popular musical subgenre black metal.