June 2010

Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine, The Ecstatic, and Slapboxing with Jesus (and, full disclosure, a guy who blurbed one of my books), on his early-20s period of obesity, depression, and phone sex: “Have you ever known men or women who don’t get any kind of loving for years? They get weird. The women become either monstrously drab or they costume themselves in ways that make them seem unreal; they externalise their inner fantasies and come to believe that – on some level – they really are elves or princesses or, most disturbing of all, children again. And the men? They’re even worse. Men who are denied affection for too long devolve into some kind of rage-filled hominoid. Their anger becomes palpable. You can almost feel the wrath emanating from their pores. Lonely women destroy themselves; lonely men threaten the world.”

Impertinence or Inspiration?

From Susan Howe’s Souls of the Labadie Tract:

Longing and envy rest
after a little—garden under
trees but better still likely

to be still more anxious to
get to just daylight all I’ve
always pushed back


That’s the “Labadie Poplar”
Labadists—New Bohemia
little is otherwise known
Our secret and resolute woe
Carolled to our last adieu
Our message was electric

Will you forget when I forget
that we are come to that

In the copy of the book I got out of the library, the following changes and updates have been made to these two pages: READ MORE >

Random / 10 Comments
June 28th, 2010 / 3:17 pm

Flavoring the currying of favor

Earlier this morning, probably around 6am or so, I was writing, not an unusual thing. I wrote the phrase “curry favor.” Then, I thought: Maybe it wasn’t curry favor but curry flavor, or maybe it was carry favor, though I was pretty sure my original word choice was right.

So rather than continue writing, which is what I should’ve done, I went to Google…

Many people believe that “to curry favor” originated from the mishearing of curry flavor, which was my error as well. It is in fact based on a mishearing, though not “favor” for “flavor” but “favor” for “favel.”


Random / 8 Comments
June 28th, 2010 / 2:25 pm

“But while Lish’s work can always be likened to self-pleasure, self-pleasure—mine and yours—cannot always be likened to Lish’s work. It is in this way—in its personal, private aspect—that his inky spatter is truly seminal. The first person, the ascendant voice of the past two centuries—from Dostoyevsky’s underground origins to Beckett’s authorial endgame—is today the shrillest voice of daily expression: the online overshare, the chat-window confessional. What once was literature—revelatory direct address—has become blogorrhea: the timestamped account of what happened this morning, of what our peeves and attractions are, of what we do to ourselves and one another by night. Lish was former laureate of that plaint, of its degrees of self-knowledge, its valences of tone. If Lish’s soliloquies have any counsel for today’s solipsistic culture it’s this: Every “I” will always be a fiction; every first person is the last person you were.” — Josh Cohen, from his Bookforum review of Lish’s Collected Fictions


You only get one short story to read for the rest of your life.  What do you choose?  I might go with “The Hortlak” by Kelly Link.  Or “My Lord You” or “Platinum” by James Salter.

Random / 161 Comments
June 28th, 2010 / 11:02 am

Ten Walks/Two Talks: Interview with Jon and Andy

Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch met in their late teens, when they were both crashing in a crowded house in Boston. As Jon tells it, “I stretched on a bedroom floor, shortly after the room’s official resident had left for work. It was 7 a.m. Andy entered the bedroom from the living room (where he must’ve been trying to sleep), hoping to gain a few more hours’ rest, but the bedroom had already been occupied by another scavenger. Standing above me, Andy looked down. He seemed a bit shocked. It was ‘love at first sight’ in the sense of immediate and unshakable friendship.”

Now the fast friends have put out a book together – one that is much beloved here at HTMLGIANT (see?) — called Ten Walks/Two Talks, from Ugly Duckling Presse. It’s a great read that highlights a walking view of NYC, and more than that, a look at thoughts, and more than that, a voyeuristic look at how the brainy half lives in friendship. I’ve interviewed the guys below, and I’ll send a copy of this great book to the commenter who has taken the longest walk (deadline is noon, Friday, 7/2). My record is 28 miles. READ MORE >

Author Spotlight / 43 Comments
June 28th, 2010 / 10:48 am

Objects forthcoming

A record I’m actually excited about for once: Salem’s King Night.

What are you excited about?

Web Hype / 93 Comments
June 27th, 2010 / 2:49 pm

At Dennis Cooper’s blog it’s Sad Keanu day.

“Whose arm is this?”  She said, “That’s my mother’s arm.”  Again, typical, right?  And I said, “Well, if that’s your mother’s arm, where’s your mother?”  And she looks around, completely perplexed, and she said, “Well, she’s hiding under the table.”

– Errol Morris on anosognosia and much much more, in five parts. Starts here.

ATTN NYC: Firework Release Party

[a guest heads-up for the NY set]

To the New York set of the HTMLGIANT clique,
Today is the official release of Firework by Eugene Marten, and
tonight is the reading/release party. It would be great to see all you
guys and girls. One, because I miss you all so much. Two, because it
would just be nice for you to come out and support the spirit of
independent presses and the release of what my biased ass thinks is
the best thing to run through a printing press for some time. I’m
making this wicked drink called a GARDEN SNAKE (secret ingredients)
and there will be stuff to nibble at for those of us who still pretend
to eat. And Eugene will be reading. The Mercantile Library is a nice
place and it should be a really warm and friendly event. Unless I get
drunk and ruin all of that (it happens). So, you know that guy or girl
that you finally got the nerve to ask out to dinner tonight and they
said YES (ahmagah) you think you might be in love and that they could
be the one? Stand him or her up. Or better yet, bring them along. And
if he or she doesn’t want to come, then that’s a huge red flag that he
or she doesn’t deserve you. You’re better than that and you know it.
And if you just needed someone to make out with, then I’ll be there
tonight for specifically that purpose, so just pull me in the bathroom
at any point and it’s on.

Firework by Eugene Marten Launch Party
7:00, June 25th 2010
upstairs at The Mercantile Library/The Center for Fiction
17 East 47th Street

Any problems finding it, just call me (917-539-3963).

Thanks. You guys are really great.

Events / 14 Comments
June 25th, 2010 / 6:10 pm