Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blake Butler "Ever" -- Interview: Question 7

RK: Earlier in this interview you wrote that "There is a definite arc to the book I think" and I think that is true to a large extent. Fuck it, let's stay it's true. It's true. At the same time though I think I can view (describe) this book in terms of a universe breathing, exploding in and out. It's filled with gore, in and out, gore dripping from bus-tops and children's lips. Gore in the eyes of birds. Gore from clouds which are falling in and out of the center. At the end of the book, though, and throughout, again and again, we're kind of at the same point as we started. This being said, at a sort of center therein there's a child's bed, a child's bath, a child's drain, a child's mother: a still point, where the pictures of one's life adorn the walls. But the waves keep crashing in and out. And there is still gore everywhere. In and out. I see your book some times as a horror story. Recurring eternally. Breathing in and out. There is no hope. No hope except for the narrator's voice. And that's hope enough, because in a world outside of God, (even though you said earlier that you believe in something like a God this book, i think, is a world outside of God), there is no other hope. Towards the end of "Ever" the narrator writes that the "the house had learned a song." I would say instead that she understood that the house was a song. So, i agree and disagree with you. Set me straight or crooked? Or just riff on the subject.

BB: It's interesting that you mention specifically the breathing in and out. In the final arrangement of the book (which you may not have seen yet), there are two sections, one in the first half (the narrator describing the doors in her home) and one in the second (the narrator describing rooms she passes through), that are arranged, unlike the rest of the book, with a lot of white space on the page. I liked the folding of this, the kind of passage in and passage out that it made, and Derek specifically called it a 'breathing in and breathing out.' I also think that the way the book ends in a way could then be extended as a door right back into the opening of the book. In that way, yes, wholly, the book could be considered neverending. Neverending things are frightening. Especially when it seems, as you say, that the book is full of a stream of terror inflicted on the narrator in a way that may or not be a function of her own mind. There is something of a question of what being alone does to a person, what getting locked in one mind while everything else is allowed to run its course, which I think is what happens to certain people.

I have been in close proximity to watching the dissemination of several loved ones' brains in the past few years. My grandmother lost her mind in the last time after her husband of 50+ years passed. My father is showing signs of Alzheimer's, which have bene getting worse. My mother seems to have her whole memory in this, and yet is at the crux of it, and slowly as a result beginning to lose some of herself in the mind as well. This is why the book was dedicated to those 3 people. This is why I wrote the book in my parents house.

I think the thing I like most about the narrator is not only the tinge of hope she keeps, however embedded, in the spinning and gore and in inflation/deflation the book is made of, but also how she at the same time shows almost no fear in the moving through the terror, which is how anyone these days, I think, must live.

(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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