HTMLGIANT

Evelyn Hampton

“That girl needs to be fucked”: language and responsibility

I thought, “That girl needs to be fucked.” I could feel the thought in my body. It fell like a heavy lack toward a corner of my back. My back–but it wasn’t mine anymore: the thought was using my spine to move me. “That girl needs to be fucked”–I was thinking it about myself as if I were somebody else. Who did I think I was?

I remembered a night–it was New Years Eve, about to be 2005. I remembered the hand that was on my back–I was lying face-down on a bed. The hand was on my back and there were two men on the bed with me. They were talking about somebody–I had made sure she wasn’t me–and one of them said, “That girl needs to be fucked.” I understood that he meant someone should have sex with her because she was a little too independent and because he liked to lose himself in sex (I had had sex with him); or just that she had done something that made him want to push her down a little, make her a little less noticeable to herself, a little less of a self. READ MORE >

Behind the Scenes / 11 Comments
August 27th, 2012 / 11:53 am

how to snort an owl


For many years my doctor has prescribed owls to me in pill form to help me cope with the mental disorder of my personality. He said, “Swallowing owl pills will help you not suffer as much attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Owls are composed of a number of amphetamine salts that are thought to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain. Like many stimulants owls affect the area of the brain that controls the amount of rewards or pleasures you are capable of feeling. Sometimes after I ingest an owl I experience a psychological positive value that is beyond any positive value I have ever experienced from the natural pleasure systems of eating, drinking, fighting, or doing sexual movements. Recently, I have been under a lot of stress. My throat has been really dry and it has been very difficult for me to swallow the full grown owls my doctor has prescribed. As a result, I’ve had to develop a new system of ingestion that involves snorting the owl. READ MORE >

Behind the Scenes & Vicarious MFA / 11 Comments
November 21st, 2011 / 5:43 pm

Once, I got romantic in a Shaws grocery store and bought a bottle of pamplemousse rose flavored perrier water and then climbed a mountain of  snow until I found some craters on the top. I played in these snow holes until packets of taco bell hot sauce fell out of my pocket. Before the mountain of snow melted I drank the rest of the bottle of pamplemousse.

A week later, I tried to buy more pamplemousse. There was no pamplemousse. I went to whole foods. There was no pamplemousse. I drove to three other grocery stores. I could not find any pamplemousses. I looked online. I could only find some gland cream. Months passed. I forgot about everything I ever knew about my mouth enjoyment.

Last week, I went to Stop and Shop to buy eggs. I looked in the water aisle out of habit. I found twenty bottles of pamplemousse. I bought them all. I drove to another Stop and Shop. I found ten more bottles. I have over thirty bottles of pamplemousse. I’ve returned to the Stop and Shop since, but there has been no more pamplemousses.

It’s nice that I have all the pamplemousse left in the entire world. If you would like some pamplemousse I can send you an empty bottle and you can let it drip on you and then maybe you can suck on these last drips.

I Like __ A Lot / 4 Comments
May 31st, 2011 / 11:57 pm

I tried to teach a math class

I decided it would be better to TA a math class than to teach a creative writing class, so I called the math department at Brown and told the person who answered about my predicament–I’m in the writing program, I need funding so I have to teach, but I don’t want to teach in my department, I’d rather assist with a math class, would this be possible?

The person who answered transferred me to a different person who arranged for me to meet with himself and some graduate students. They would ask me some questions and, based on how I answered, allow me to teach in their department.

READ MORE >

Random / 17 Comments
March 22nd, 2011 / 2:20 pm

Dear Evelyn you forgot to sign out of your computer in the computer lab…

Hello Evelyn. How are you? I haven’t seen you in a few days. The other day I saw someone and we talked about you and how you like to play settlers of catan. That’s a really good game. I used to play with my roommates, but they would always beat me. Anyway, I was wondering if you could post something on HTMLGIANT for me? It’s a story I wrote for a website called Urlesque. The story is about Emma Watson. Everything in the story is non-fiction except for the title. I feel kind of dirty asking you to post a link to my story because the reason I want you to post a link is purely monetary. The editor of Urlesque said if the story gets a lot of views then I will make more money. I don’t want to want to make a lot of money but it is tough not to want to make money so I’m asking you for a favor to help me make money. If you don’t want to post a link then that’s fine. I understand. I am sort of using you for my own personal gain. The idea of using your name to help me make AOL pay me is not something that feels good (p.s. Urlesque is a subsidiary of AOL). In my head I have this distorted vision that by doing this I am taking my first step up the corporate ladder. I am sort of scared of the idea that AOL now controls a segment of my brain and can make me do cocaine even though I’d rather not do cocaine. Anyway, here’s a link to the story: my date with emma watson.

Random / 20 Comments
February 21st, 2011 / 2:22 pm

If love can be a brainworm then I would like to talk about my brainworms

I met someone who gave me brainworm recently. I used to think of brainworm as something that I would own and hold. I thought, “The person who gives me brainworm will be mine and I will be theirs.” The new brainworm I found does not feel like something I need to own or hold. It is a thought that continues to eat wherever it wants to eat. I enjoy the feeding of this thought. The feeding is endless. I could let this feeding continue the rest of my life and I would be happy even if I never saw the person who gave me the brainworm. I am so full of brainworm that I am sick. It seems stupid that I could be so happy about having something as dumb as a brainworm.

Tonight I ate some cheese. I was one of the last people in a room eating cheese. An elderly woman who reminded me of my grandmother began talking. She talked about the time she saw William S. Burroughs read. She went to the reading because she wanted to ask him a question. A lot of people at the reading just wanted to take William S. Burroughs out and get him drunk to see what would happen. She never asked the question she wanted to ask because she didn’t know how to formulate it. I continued to eat cheese and listen. The elderly woman said, “If I had a chance to ask William S. Burroughs a question now I would ask him: but what about love?”

My roommate just got home. He said, “Hellllwwwwwooooo” when he walked in the door. He likes to pretend he is a cat and an Asian when he says “Hello”. When he said, “Hellllwwwwwooooo” just now he was actually saying “Hello” to all the haters who will say they don’t believe in brainworm and think its so heterosexual to believe in something like brainworm.

But yes, I have a brainworm that I’m prepared to live with for the rest of my life and not doing anything about.

Random / 14 Comments
February 17th, 2011 / 12:05 am

Are Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez really brothers?

I woke up this morning and sat on a stool in the kitchen and watched a cat named Jim watch a squirrel. I did not know the squirrel’s name. It was on a fence post.

Last night, I went to a party. Joanna Ruocco was there. I started talking to her and told her I really liked her books and she said, “Publishing on a small press is like being the best at something that no one else has ever bothered to think of doing. In my head, I picture thousands of people doing really unique things that no one has ever done or will ever do again.” I laughed. When I stopped laughing I realized the person I was talking to wasn’t Joanna Ruocco. I didn’t know who it was. I didn’t see Joanna Ruocco the rest of the night.

READ MORE >

Film / 13 Comments
January 2nd, 2011 / 5:41 pm

I like the WNBA a lot because it is a place I go when I want to be alone

I woke up today and looked at my boyfriend. He looked at me. People make a big deal out of today. My boyfriend and I didn’t do anything except look at each other. Then he made an omelet and I drank a glass of water. Today was not a big deal in the chronology of my life. After I drank some water I went on my computer.

I got an email from the illegitimate-seventeen-year-old child of someone famous. She sometimes emails me when she is upset. She is upset almost every day.

READ MORE >

I Like __ A Lot / 16 Comments
December 25th, 2010 / 9:05 pm

Luke Wilson on Writing

Luke Wilson in a movie I watched on cable called The Family Stone:

“Maybe you should stop…(Luke puts hand on Sarah Jessica Parker’s hand)…just stop…stop trying…it’s exhausting…trying to keep that lid screwed on so tight…just…ah…you know…relax…”

Craft Notes / 5 Comments
December 23rd, 2010 / 2:22 am

What happens when you talk about money?

Right now you can pre-order the 10th issue of MAKE.

Pre-ordering is like clapping for a performer before they’ve appeared on stage. You’re clapping for what they’ve already done, hoping that the performance about to begin will be at least as good as that. Or maybe it’s more like buying a ticket, saving your place by saying, I want to be there when it finally happens. Of course you’re saying it, but with money.

Just now, typing this, I’m noticing that what usually happens when I talk about money is happening–I start to listen to myself from a place outside of myself, and the self who goes on talking starts to feel that what she’s saying is lame, and the self who listens gets suspicious of the self who goes on talking even though she feels that what she’s saying is lame. Does something like this split happen to you when you talk about money? If it does, I wonder whether it’s an American thing to feel this. Does this happen for people in China? Russia? The Congo? How do other people feel when they talk about money?

Behind the Scenes / 13 Comments
December 8th, 2010 / 11:11 am

Giorgio Morandi

When a writer gets described as writing the same story again and again, the tone’s usually accusatory, like it’s a bad thing to be noticed doing. But here is this guy, Giorgio Morandi, who painted the same objects arranged in still life again and again. He got really into these objects and seeing what he could do, how he could render what was really there, and what was really there–light–was always changing.

Craft Notes / 40 Comments
August 22nd, 2010 / 12:12 pm

Interview with Brian Conn

The Fixed Stars coverAt Raintaxi, there’s an interview with Brian Conn, author of The Fixed Stars, a really wonderful novel—an anthropology of late capitalism, its language and myths. Conn answers Jedediah Berry’s questions about writing the book–structural choices, influences (including Cosmicomics, Marie Redonnet, Brothers Grimm), the interplay of language and math.

Conn wrote about half the book during a summer alone in Hawaii. Of that time he says,

After I finished a section I would wander around for several days trying to think of some event or voice or revelation that would, in some poorly comprehended yet very particular way, contradict everything that I’d already written. I’d discard idea after idea, and then at some point I’d think of an idea and laugh out loud, suddenly and involuntarily, and this idea would be the basis of the next section.

I now think of that summer as a time of intoxicating creativity, and simultaneously of terrifying confusion and despair. I’m sure these two impressions are closely related. I can see the causality flowing in either direction: maybe creativity is actually deeply terrifying, maybe confusion and despair forced me to abandon my usual thinking and reach for something new. Maybe both.

Author News / 8 Comments
August 21st, 2010 / 11:12 am

That      we
have      no      ears      to      hear      the
music      the      spores      shot      off
from      basidia      make      obliges      us
to     busy      ourselves      microphonically.

-John Cage in Indeterminacy, a lecture performance in which Cage recited a series of one-minute stories and anecdotes in no particular order. Cage was a mycologist and many of the stories were about mushrooms. Some of the mushroom stories are collected here.

“On the Youth at Night”

The youth at night would have himself driven around the scream. It lay in the middle of the city gazing back at him with its heat and rosepools of flesh. Terrific lava shone on his soul. He would ride and stare.

-Anne Carson, “On the Youth at Night,” in her book Plainwater

Power Quote / 10 Comments
July 17th, 2010 / 2:56 am

“I FEEL THAT THE BEAUTY OF FORMS OBSCURES THE NULLITY THEY CHOREOGRAPH OR ENCHANT.  I FEEL THAT THE NULLITY IS NOT THE SPACE AGAINST WHICH THE BEAUTY OF FORMS IS A FACT BUT THAT THE BEAUTY OF FORMS IS THE NULLITY ITSELF, TRANSMOGRIFIED, AND I FEAR THIS.”

Ariana Reines has a blog.

Life of a Star by Jane Unrue

This was our playroom now, shared bedroom too. Those walls that had been mine were ours now, papered in a faded floral, seams and corners peeling, bubbled in some places, cracked. On every wall a stitchery picture: scenes from storyland were also faded. Soiled. No glass. Frames: chipped-off painted wood. Threads pulled in places, evidence of little fingers that can’t keep from touching, pulling—as if doing so could take a body out of this and into that: round wooden door to mouse’s tree-trunk house; white wicket gate set in the background of a garden overgrown with purple blooms; enchanted cottage all but hidden in a forest thicket; green-and-ruby turret window that, despite the ravages of time and all those dirty little fingers, still appeared to be enough to make a castle glow. And in that decorated room that had been mine but now belonged to us, the place in which unpleasantness seemed not just possible but downright inescapable, I told her stories with more stories stacked on top, all set in carefully described locations peopled with the characters I represented and the objects I pretended (on behalf of characters) to see, pick up, and operate.

(Read more of this excerpt from Jane Unrue’s recently released novella, Life of a Star, on Ben Marcus’s blog. The book can be purchased from the publisher, Burning Deck.)

Author Spotlight & Excerpts / 6 Comments
May 1st, 2010 / 8:16 pm

To celebrate the release of Harold Abramowitz’s book, Not Blessed, Les Figues is having a contest that involves remixing selections from the book. The deadline is April 30. Guidelines are on the Les Figues site. I read Not Blessed recently and it’s good. It works by what feels like a literary equivalent of persistence of vision.

Tree for Friday

It’s Friday. Have a wonderful description of trees.

When I’m surrounded by trees, a condition I’ve sought out pretty persistently throughout my life I think the thing I might like the most about them is this whisper like all the hair of the world passing through the tunnel of one single breath – if that is a form of percussion. This irregular hiss of trees and wind. I think it is my mother. And I am her son, and you are my dog.

from “Protect Me You” by Eileen Myles.

Excerpts / 8 Comments
March 26th, 2010 / 12:36 pm

Power Quote: Gerhard Richter

“I don’t want to be a personality or to have an ideology. I see no sense in doing anything different. I never do see any sense. I think that one always does what is being done anyway (even when making something new), and that one is always making something new. To have an ideology means having laws and guidelines; it means killing those who have different laws and guidelines. What is the good of that?”

from The Daily Practice of Painting by Gerhard Richter

Power Quote / 69 Comments
March 12th, 2010 / 1:50 am

Thought Experiments

If you had to go to a party dressed as the last animal you killed, what would you go as? I’d probably go as a newt, or if that newt didn’t die, then I’d be a fruit fly. Schrödinger either would or wouldn’t be a cat, depending on something random.

At least one person has said that much of modern physics is built on thought experiments. Einstein’s thought experiment about chasing a light beam got him to his theory of relativity.

Do you use thought experiments, or something like them, in your writing? Or, another way: how do you make environments using language?

P.S. It isn’t new, but check out “Keats in Space” by Molly Young for a discussion of the fusion of poetry and science. Also, Natalie’s poem “Water Experiment” and the discussion that follows gives you some poetry and science.

Craft Notes / 32 Comments
March 10th, 2010 / 1:29 pm