RK: The opening of the book made me think of Rumi recounting how a fat man taken into Muhammed's house wakes in the middle of the night and can't get out of his room. Locked in. The bathroom outside. And he needs to crap. And he is panicking. You, Blake Butler, fixate deeper in the book more obviously on religious matter(s). With all the universe, string theory, etc, that seems inevitable. But you didn't have to flow that way. You could have stayed with just "light," let's say. But you move into "prayer" and "he" etc etc,.... And even though you revoke that, right away at first, you circle it and circle it... This seems to be a circling question too... Can you talk about this? (the religion aspect, please, and whatever,....)
BB: It's funny, I only started to notice how much religious imagery and speech and so on were in the book after I got pretty deep in the revising. There's a lot of it there, and so much and so embedded in this woman's head that I don't even know exactly what it's after. Growing up in the South, and particularly Georgia, is funny because religion is so embedded and social that you tend to forget about it. I've never been a religious person in the way of that, though I do believe in god, and I believe in things outside of human comprehension. What its function is is for whoever, though: why people spend all their earthly human time trying to consecrate ideas of something they by definition posit as unknowable is to me in a way profane. I think god has to be a funny motherfucker. I think god has to know what he was doing when he put shit inside us humans.
So much of what you hear when you hear people in certain circles talk about 'what fiction should do' is that fiction should talk about 'what is human.' To me, what is less human is the idea, like god, that you can make these big dashing remarks and consumptive poses in text and language that are meant to direct you to 'the heart of the matter.' The heart of it for me is, most days I don't feel my body. I don't know where I am going when I know where I am going. There are so many rooms in so many houses and no matter how many times I come inside them I will never know what I am inside of and when I stop coming inside them the house will not know and will not flinch.
Someone just IM'd me 'i need to stop waiting for a miracle.' That is one of those thoughts that you think knowing you won't be able to stop thinking it, the same way that I am kept awake at night precisely by my inability to stop fixating on the idea that I need to go to sleep.
But I also think that in my inability to stop thinking the thing that thinks me into what I don't want to be, that is how I am created. And how what goes on in rooms is created. And something else about god. And walls.
(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)