In this dumpster fire of an election year in the United States we have heard a lot of dangerous #rapeculture rhetoric from Donald Trump. After Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” statement, writer Kelly Oxford responded on Twitter, putting a solicitation out for people to name their first sexual assaults (which certainly are/were probably not their last). Read the NPR article HERE. The response to her call was/is overwhelming, staggering, heartbreaking, and not in the least surprising to other folks who have also had these experiences and/or are aware of every facet of this culture. As Oxford stated in her tweets, these stories are not just dry, dead statistics, these stories are true, horrifying, and all too common. This is a reality for so many people.
In a poignant and much needed call for submissions, Joanna C. Valente, the new Managing Editor of Civil Coping Mechanisms, is editing an anthology called A Shadow Map: an Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault, to be published in February 2017 by Civil Coping Mechanisms.
Here are some words from Valente and CCM: READ MORE >
Presses & Web Hype / No Comments
October 26th, 2016 / 1:49 pm
“Just because you don’t know where you’re going is no excuse for not going on. That doesn’t matter at all to me.”
(Marguerite Duras, 1969)
Inside the mania it moves around. It’s an upswing, but “some sharks must swim constantly in order to keep oxygen-rich water flowing over their gills” or else something, inevitably bad, will happen. The B-side of the record finishes and I flip it over to start again. It’s working exactly how I want it to. I’m in the bed. I take the headphones off and go into the office. I remember a note I had scribbled in a notebook and immediately forgotten: re-read Craig Watson books. In the office I climb on the rolling chair to grab the books off the high shelf. I’m not afraid of falling because to lose control is to find pleasure. This thought invokes another and I go to the living room to try to find the pamphlet I made of an essay about Jean Daive. The books are everywhere, things move around. Paul Buck says it’s best to reorganize the library every few years, to accept that certain books can and should find themselves comfortable in different places. Forgetting where a book is can be a necessary part of finding it. In the hallway between the office and the living room I throw a handstand to revitalize. Beyond, on the shelf with the zines and pamphlets, I find what I’m looking for. Flipping through, I also grab the Guyotat pamphlet I forgot I already had, find V Manuscript‘s ARGOT OF INSCRIPTION still wrapped in plastic, blood stamped. Why did I never finish reading this? I want to read it now so it goes in the stack under the Craig Watson books. The running around is corporeal, an exercise for the body that needs the grabbing and the shifting and the stacking and the touch. This is how I can feel it, connect to it. Thought forms out of these connections. The interest in study has no end point other than in the construction of my own personhood. Endless research; an embedding.
I stand on my head when I need to figure out what’s happening to my body. I’ve learned it’s the easiest way to immediately tell if something is off: digestion, congestion, exhaustion. Condition also ends with -tion. The inversion tells me I am fine. When I’m inside the text it’s like this too: I can tell with my body. By 1:30 I regret having gone to yoga at 9am because I’m ready to go again. Where are we at? Disappearing Curtains is pushed away but I stop it from falling to the floor. INSIDE: The juxtaposition of the translation of a text by Bernard Noël that circulates around an absent photograph next to a translation of Mathieu Bénézet’s Us These Photographs, No keeps vibrating lately. When you want to continually experience something you find yourself embedded infinitely, matryoshka dolls, labyrinthine tangents. In William Cameron Menzie’s The Maze a frog pond is kept at the center of the meander. Why? Because this way getting to where you’re going is an act in its own capacity. The dynamicism makes it worth it. Gemini’s have to keep busy. “Don’t you ever come down?” “Not if I can help it.”
Wandering through multiple texts is just another form of movement. I can’t slow down or else I crash. Distanced from this wander I’m absent & detached, perhaps even depressed. It’s not writer’s block because I’m not necessarily trying to write anything. I’m more interested in meeting an all-encompassing void. Sometimes people ask me why I’ve started doing so much yoga & I realize that the honest answer would sit somewhere between that all-encompassing void & a refusal to give up on the float. Sometimes I don’t want to say anything because anything would require too much explanation. If it were possible I’d just shut my eyes and transfer the aura of the feeling–the one that carries across: corpse pose after a good practice, the vertiginous space of literature, the echo of space coming across in the depth of the cassette, the flicker of light in the projected 16mm that opens up to another world, meditation. This is it. What if I told you I was only ever interested in writing to get closer to what can’t be expressed in words?
Word Spaces / No Comments
October 25th, 2016 / 6:11 pm
Here is a bird that flies south while singing a serenade. It passes laundry hanging on the line, and though it may just be a big misunderstanding, decides that life is utterly unfair, and isn’t sure what do, as it imagines an asteroid flattening all it sees in front of him, the laundry hanging on the line, a cauterized and flexible landscape. Fairly, he is fair. Fairly he flies due west and then starts to laugh because life is limited and the landscape is limited and because fragmentation is inevitable, he flies into a turbine.
Horses grazing on a field. Ice cream melting in a hot mess on the field. Just a big mess. The horses eat what they are permitted and they eat more than what they are permitted. Laugh, just keep laughing, one horse thinks to himself as there is a clear sky above him and a hot mess of ice cream on the field nearby. He has been composing a speech all morning on fairness and is trying to think of the right prefix to affix to a certain word and then becomes distracted by the boy taking out the garbage and then a small and brief shadow above him and then from the nearby turbine blood and ahhhh and it is clear how his speech must end.
The sound of a passing train. It hardly shakes the floor but the concierge can still feel it, especially in the cellar and especially on the old wooden steps. He goes down the wooden steps and the way is obscured with boxes and then a mouse crossing by the boxes and then another mouse and then surprise at what he sees. A mouse screams, or the concierge screams, and he makes a quick exit. Why? As he runs up the wooden stairs he is stopped and asked, what are you doing?! And magnetized by the passing train and suddenly having been faced with infinity and simultaneously the finitude of all the galaxies he only thought, I can’t articulate that, I can’t articulate, I can’t
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October 25th, 2016 / 1:43 pm
Kanley Stubrick moves. It makes no sense and all the sense simultaneously, in the way it feels when something bad happens to you but you secretly feel like you deserved it. Or that feeling when all you wanted for breakfast was the giant banana pancake at Surrey’s Café in New Orleans on Magazine Street, but when you arrive they tell you they’re all out of the giant banana pancake batter so you get crushed and flippantly order the French toast and then it turns out the French toast is even better than the giant banana pancake but the catch is: it’s a seasonal thing and they won’t have it again for another year starting tomorrow. You know, so much of life simultaneously makes absolute sense and absolutely no sense at all. READ MORE >
October 25th, 2016 / 12:37 pm
I live in a small city called Santa Fe. Among American cities, this one is called old.
I’ve taken writing seriously—and have obsessed over books—for sixteen years. The years don’t mean much on their own; the years merely mark an inclination. This inclination to make, own, and talk about books feels apolitical. Apolitical insofar as it seems further adrift from contingent affairs than other disciplines; the lover of books should see the book as a testimony to the fundamental desire to express, and to be considered far beyond one’s time.
I see in old books—which I’ve studied often in Santa Fe—the testimony of our being in similar patterns. We eat and fight to do so; we sleep and dream of other ways, sometimes aloud; we do not cease in our attempts to make the world ours, or, if not ours, a familiar villain. These acts are crystallized and preserved through books—books as the salt of being. READ MORE >
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October 25th, 2016 / 8:17 am
In 2013-2014 I did a series of intrusive posts on the lives of writers. These include asking what they eat for lunch, what their refrigerators look like, what music they listen to when they work out, and what their diets are like. Now HTMLGIANT is back and I haven’t matured. So I asked writers I admire to send me their phone homescreens. Many declined. Several sent a screenshot only to retract hours later for a variety of reasons (a pornographic background, their therapist said this was a bad idea, and “I’m trying to have a baby” were all reasons). One writer – well respected/award winning – had a flip phone. Regardless, I think this type of thing is light and fun and hopefully you will enjoy peeping these twenty phones as much as I did.
Vi Khi Nao is the author of Fish In Exile.
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October 24th, 2016 / 1:38 pm
Passing the Ellsworth Kelly section in the recently remodeled SFMOMA, I suddenly worried about whether or not I placed my coffee cup in the right bin, the triptych of civic responsibility causing a Pavlovian response of doubt and shame. One will quickly walk past museum rooms whose contents are prematurely judged as not being interesting enough to hold one’s attention, as I did here, using the section as a shortcut to Agnes Martin, in whose dedicated room a patron’s child had a fit. Minimalism’s problem, I think, is that the conceptual conceit can only be actualized as an executed idea, stamped on an object in space, an aesthetic errand dutifully completed in the supposed name of art. It doesn’t tug at the soul, however antiquated and sentimentally ghoulish such a spirit might seem in an enormous modern and generously lit room, always a bit below room temperature, like a morgue, grand white walls running upward towards the skylights. Guards, whose native islands were unruly colonized, despondently stand in geriatric loafers, their blazers derisively provided by the house, as if they showed up to a fancy restaurant under-dressed.
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Random / 5 Comments
October 24th, 2016 / 11:04 am