25 Points: This Is Between Us

sampsell-this-is-between-usThis Is Between Us
by Kevin Sampsell
Tin House Books, 2013
240 pages / $15.95 buy from Powell’s or Amazon









1. This book reminded me of this remix which was incredibly moving and pained me this spring and still pains me now

2. The thing about Kevin Sampsell is that he feels like the kind of guy who has been through everything. He’s just one of those people. He doesn’t have that used up feeling or look at all but he does have that vibe of being the kind of guy who has lived through basically everything there is as a human to experience but not in a hardened way.

3. I’m not explaining this right but he’s just one of those people who seems complicated and well adjusted and like if you talk to him he just has been there, whatever it is but he doesn’t come outright and say that instead he just comes from this I know what you mean mode which isn’t even patronizing the point here is that all of that also comes through in his writing and this book This Is Between Us from Tin House coming out is five years of a life.

4. Anything you have ever experienced in your life is in this book.

5. This book is comforting.

6. Sometimes this book is upsetting.

7. This book is comforting.

8. Some people said this book was disturbing and I was like have you ever lived your life at all or ever really loved someone or had a partner and if you haven’t maybe your life is easier and even if your life has been really nice you’ll still be like “yup” while reading parts of this book because it’s just so real in how it’s rendered because it’s just written so elegantly and simply stated and maybe that’s the thing with Kevin Sampsell’s writing.

9. We’re working with the rhetorical you in this entire book.

10. It’s written like a confessional ode-ish poem.

11. “You squinted your eyes at the ceiling fan, like its spinning above us was your brain working out a plan. ‘This might get complicated,’ you said.”

12. It is the most consistent, evenly written book I’ve read in a long while. You’re at the same altitude the entire book. Which is really like, skillful masterful which is interesting because at no point do you feel like the guy’s writing, like you’ve been had, like this is put on.

13. “I turned the music back up. We were passing some place called Fort Dick.”

14. I am a very vulnerable person but I think this book is not messing with me.

15. Read the book because it’s a bananas hybrid of like seven genres.

16. I think this book might be about mutual sadness.

17. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of unhealthy situations going on in this book.

18. “A kettle of hot water started whistling loudly on the stove behind you. I got up to take it off the hot element. I asked if you were okay.”

19. It’s therapeutic in a way because you’re like I know how this feels.

20. I sometimes have déjà vu’s of how my life is supposed to be going while it isn’t how it’s going is that schizophrenia or reincarnation memory?

21. “It was Sheryl, my ex-wife, who taught me to go slow in bed.”

22. It’s not mushy gushy it’s a guy writing it if that makes you want to read it at all more.

23. He balances on a high wire the whole way through and read it.

24. “You and I found each other and tried to run away from our poisons and sadness. You looked for freedom. I looked for escape. Once a leaver, always a leaver. Sometimes I feel like we’re just keeping an eye on each other.”

25. “I liked the gaps in you.”

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  2. Quincy Rhoads

      Added to the ol’ “to-read” liswt. Thanks for hipping me to this jive.

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