Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blake Butler "Ever" -- Interview: Question 1

RK: The beginning of "Ever" seems crushed and whole in the beginning and end of time. In the space-time foam that physicists--string and other--are, in our world and lives, trying to explain. The beginning pages of Ever seem partly built from physics notes and partly from descriptions of dark paintings. Clearly, the world (the universe) has gone to shit but the narrator still wakes humping the wall. Can you please, then, tell me (us) a bit (or a lot) about the wombing and birthing of this book?

BB: I didn't mean to start writing a book really. Besides one section near the end of the first third, this whole thing was written in about 5 big sections, one after another. I think I thought I was going to write a really long novel. The form that I wrote the lines in I think dictated the voice and the disconnection of thoughts to a large extent, though that original form is absent from the final book. Originally, the lines were numbered and subnumbered, in the way of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. 1, 1.1., 1.11, etc. When I was doing the writing, then, each line kind of stood on its own and had its own inner logic, and the way they came together was much more loosely based on this kind of listmaking and building off one another or then ramping off into sub thoughts, new veins, etc.

So I wrote these 5 big sections each was meant to stand alone but eventually perhaps be woven into a larger thing that I didn't understand. During this time a tornado landed on my apartment. My shit was all either soaked through or in boxes and I was staying with my parents for a while in a room I had grown up in. That probably came out in the landsapce of the novella also: for sure it did. Then at some point, after I finished the 5th large section, I stopped working on the project. I put it down I think with intentions of coming back, thinking I had a lot more to do on it, that I had just started. Though when I came back, about 2 months later, unable to sleep one night at like 4 AM thinking, I realized it was all right there. That there was no way for me to say anything else, and that I couldn't even really find a way back into what was already there: the book kind of locked me out I think. I wove the 5 large sections in with a couple other fragments I had written and not remembered writing that were hidden on my hard drive, worked it all into a massive rubric of some sort, and sent it to Derek to check out, which in more than one way was extremely lucky for me, as I now realize after the fact, that no one else could have released this book as what it was meant to be but Calamari Press. I mean that not only in that Derek was big on taking the numbering system I'd created and melding it into what eventually became the bracket structure that contains the texts where the numbers had been, like little rooms, but also his art in and around the book is so intrumental to me in the texture of it: it could be no other way.

So yeah, I think you are very right about the whole thing being a big collision of space-time foam and weird physics and other apocrphya: it is bitchmaster of mangled air.

(to see the rest of the interview look in archives--dec 2008-- or, more easily, click on one of the labels, like Blake Butler, at the bottom of this post)

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