I posted the below today at Big Other. If you enjoy, go check out the site!
“Unless you think you can do better than Tolstoy, we don’t need you”
James A. Michener.
Yes, that’s true, and also:
If you can’t be white milk, please don’t be milk at all.
If you can’t be mayonnaise, uh, be a saltine…Wait, if you can’t be sexually OK and also maybe wear a proper vest/socks arrangement and speak quietly with utmost appropriateness of shoe color and sensible automobile and please remove your shoes before I think OK maybe meet you at the lawn care symposium? Something.
The other Tuesday I was driving home and grooving to this song on the radio, have no idea who but whatever, and it’s juicing me, flowing my skin/nerves/belly, and I’m doing the arm fist-bump-to-fist bump dance from the ‘50s with one hand and doing the hand-caterpillar from the ‘80s with the other (guiding by baby-baby Subaru with my knees) and I’m just grooving life, caught in a moment, just living it zone free floating serotonin shivers…just flowing, just flowing, one of those thangs.
And it wasn’t Mozart or The Beatles, Mr. A. Michener. It was just a good pop song.
How would you children like me to take you for lunch at the Cracker Barrel? Huh?
I am reading Scorch Atlas now by Blake Butler. Blake sent me a fucked-up destroyed kind of copy because I asked him too and he’s nice that way. He was going to film himself eating every page of the book, but maybe he stopped doing that? I thought that was pretty flaky, so if he stopped, good.
As for the book, I just started but let me say three things:
1.) Immersion is the word I’d use. I am immersed in the words. Under the water of them. Pretty incredible. I’m not going to go Whole Hog review since I just started the book and others have reviewed this thing hard. But I want to throw in the word Immersion. Also horrifying. Like a horrifying to wake you up (or maybe keep you up at night) and to jar you, shake you, rattle your synapses and clank/clutch your bones. I will finish soon and say more, but I can already tell my students will be seeing this book soon. (For me, that’s high compliment, BTW.)
2.) Great book for the deer stand. It’s shaped a little longer, narrower than most, so fits well into my Mossy Oak fanny pack with my grunt tubes, doe in estrous scent, bleat can, rattling antlers, knives, yardage markers, bow hanger, clippers, release, forest woods scent, can of beer (shhh), gloves, head net, rolled up arm guard, glow tacks, lift string, flashlight, batteries for, and so on.
3.) An artifact this thing. When I ripped open the envelope I was driving so leaned down and grabbed the book, looked, them dropped the book and looked at my fingers, for soot or ink. I am serious. I thought the actual book has been burned before I realized it was Scorch Atlas and just designed like a fucking Armageddon. How awesome is that? This book in itself argues for the physical book! (whole other post–but it’s coming. We better all start rolling out our book-as-artifact posts soon, right?)