Book Art Materials and Methods: Pushing Cruddy Swag for EVER by Blake Butler
I've only met Blake Butler in person once. He ordered nachos as an entree for dinner at some Irish Pub in Midtown Manhattan. Then we played poker. Most of what I know about Blake Butler is through his writing and his blog. As I was writing that last sentence, a monkey scampered across the tin roof over my head making the hair on the back of my neck bristle. There are no monkeys in Ever. Just a series of rooms and a narrator and people she thinks about but doesn't interact with much. She's not terribly reliable. I think Blake also said once he used to be fat. Like really fat. Unless I dreamt that. I'm kind of writing now like Blake might in his blog, but when it comes to writing writing, he's serious. I won't even try to imitate. I think his place was ransacked by a tornado last year. It kind of shows. The book is loaded with impending chaos and entropy and bright light and grief and things going to shit (in a beautiful way). He pushes the envelope of perception with every sentence, not just pushing, but folding, like salt-water taffy, folding inward on itself, spitting bits, shedding, peeling, turning your skin inside out, eviscerating it to crud, exposing any undeveloped film to the light, simmering in it's own juices, reducing it all down to pure unadulterated language. It's a fucking juggernaut really, that toils in place, deliberate and steadfast.
I said some other things about Ever, but then I went back and erased them. Some of these things I jotted down in a notebook while I was reading the manuscript on the plane back from Rome (I'm not done blogging about SPQR BTW). But not all of it makes sense to me now. I wrote "Swallowed all of me that I could reach," quoting from the book I think, and also that, "their air became a gong." I also wrote that it's like a fucked-up Russian doll. My favorite line that sticks in memory is, "Fodder for my sorry sore." Anyway. Without further ado, here's some images from it. If you want to buy any, they are all $150 USD, payable by M-pesa, or PayPal (to my Calamari email). Just the bribe to the custom's officer to send it to you from Nairobi is probably half that. Your generous support will enable me to run the press poolside, gin and tonic in hand. Or to pay for Peter Markus' son's hockey uniform. Brother Markus is the one sitting in the cold of Detroit doing the dirty work. If Peter is all about mud, then Blake is all about crud. I'm stalling for time because the video is still uploading. You'll also get a copy of Ever when it's out in another month or two. Ever is about as much a commodity as crotch shampoo. The "drawings" were done on scraps of paper and come unframed. But they are original pieces and I'll do my best to package them nicely, to avoid unplanned distress. The cover is all digital, so it's not for sale. You get that with the book. These other images also come in the book, along with a dozen or two more, but they are smaller and in black and white. That's all I can say for my part. I'll let the text speak for itself.
P.S. In the time it took me to fail to upload this video, Blake scooped me and made a trailer of his own. The fucker just couldn't wait. These kids. He ripped me ripping him off. You can hear his mother better in this one, and he kept the better passage for himself. And there's more titties in his, and god knows what else, I hope it's not his. It will likely get pulled by youtube so watch it while you can. it's all good. No matter how you slice it. Like sausage, corned beef hash or shepard's pie. You can't cut a piece of it that's bad, and it just keeps coming. So while you are waiting for me to make a connection to the outside world so I can upload the trailer, you can watch his.
P.P.S. The files for the book didn't FTP with much success either. Maybe the cover made it, but the body is at 21%. But it will get there. Maybe not in time for Xmas, but by January 2009 Ever can be yours.