WE'RE LUCKY THERE'S BLAKE BUTLER
I've mentioned #8 of Bust Down the Doors and Eat all the Chickens before. But it really is terrific.
Fer fucksake: It's! Only! Five! Bucks!
So buy a copy off Bradley - catch him off-guard on monday as he limps in thru his front door, trouserless and covered in parrot feathers, hung-over and strung-out from this wk/end's Bizarro Con.
It's all good stuff, but one of my favourite stories is "We Witnessed the Advent of a New Apocalypse During an Episode of Friends" by Blake Butler. I won't spoil it for ya, but I love the way the writing style morphs and unravels as the story ploughs on towards some terrible black limbo-state...the prose flaking and sloughing off bits of itself as the characters, plot, etc shed the veneer of civility and 'reasonable' behaviour and plummet down into, well, you know...it reminds me of some of the darker skits in Burroughs' "Exterminator!" - even tho Blake writes nothing like Burroughs it's got that same sense of accelerating pandemonium as events stumble over each other towards some ultimate end-point that we never quite reach...the story deliberately switches itself off like an over-heated TV-set once it's tilted over the tipping-point that will lead to ontological collapse.
Burroughs was fond of the words 'terminal' and 'terminus', meaning the final moment - death, orgasm, or implosion of reason: it's never quite made clear which - but the reader is never allowed to go the whole distance to the terminal point. The events that we are allowed to see are always more than enough; the horror embedded in their logical conclusion is allowed to sit and lay fallow in the reader's imagination. But you can see the parallel road-lines that Burroughs sets in motion continuing on and on beyond the story's concluding words, straight off the written-page and out into an imaginary perspective, a vanishing-point where all things converge. The story's real ending - like our own - is logically implicit in the process.
S'anyway, a few days later Blake Butler weirdly n coincidentally turns up in saturday's Guardian suppliment/mag...unfortunately, it's not a piece about his writing; instead, he was one of the featured recipients of Michael Kimball's postcards.
Author Michael Kimball interviews folks and then writes the story of their life on the back of a postcard. It's a cute idea for an art project, but not one that really lights up my head with fireworks - tho I can see why the Guardian would jump on it 'cos it's got that soft conceptual edge that would appeal to their demographic...still, even tho the postcard angle doesn't really do it for me, there's some touching stuff in amongst the pieces, and I've heard some pretty good things about Michael's books - especially his most recent one "Dear Everybody", which I believe is assembled from fragments of letters, diary entries, notes and even, er, weather reports...
The original blog-posting of Blake's post-card is here.
Blake also co-edits the alt.lit mag/periodical/anthology No Colony, the first issue/edition of which - even more weirdly and coincidentally - came through my letter-box on the monday morning after he appeared in the paper. It's like some sort of Blake Butler synchronicity storm.
Been so busy this week I haven't had the time to do any more than 30-second skim thru it so far, but it looks pretty cool. There's a few names I recognise: Ryan Call, Sam Pink (who's also in Bust Down...), Tao Lin, Mike Young (ditto), Josh Maday, and *eeek* I've just noticed that Michael Kimball is in there too - so no excuse for me not to check out his stuff.