Blake Butler | November 16, 2012
1. Where are you now?
Atlanta, Georgia, at my desk in sweatpants and a shirt that’s too big for me.
2. What are you working on and what have you got coming out?
I’m kind of in a having-just-finished-something state. This whole years seems to have been one of hovering after wrapping up a long book I’ve been working on for a few years. Since then I wrote a kind of novel-length treatment for an unfilmable film about a huge white building full of slaves. Have spent the last couple weeks trying to figure out how to write an essay about my mother’s thirty years of quilting, which is becoming more and more daunting the more I try to figure out how to begin. My next book, Sky Saw, comes out in December, and that long book, titled 300,000,000, will be out sometime in 2014.
3. Where do you write?
Most days now I drive up to my parents’ house, who live half an hour north of the city, and write in a makeshift office I have there. I’ve been helping my mom take care of my dad in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, but I’m still able to spend a lot of the time while there doing my work. I kind of love the weird emotional space it provides, even if sometimes it’s distracting.
4. What’s the last best thing you’ve read?
I read Céline’s Normance a couple weeks ago, which I was really impressed by. I usually am not a fan of war novels, but this one is pretty much one long insane scene of France being bombed by the Nazis, wherein the speaker in the midst of being bombed switches between these ridiculously affective descriptions of the destruction and talking shit about all the people who are under attack or dying, including himself. The best kind of black and absorbing at the same time. Before that I really enjoyed Gaddis’s The Recognitions, which I finally read after years of putting it off, and also With The Animals by Noëlle Revaz, who somehow pulled off a semi-redneck brain-deformed French Beckett,
5. What journals, poets, presses have you discovered lately?
Hmm, I don’t know, I feel my brain is hardening. I finally read Moby-Dick this year, does that count? I was surprised by how funny and full of different styles it was. It seems like that book gets a shitty pitch, in that I’d always heard it was rather stolid. I found it quite the opposite. This has been a year of reading big old books I should have a long time ago, which has been refreshing.
6. Care to share any distractions / diversions?
I wish food didn’t exist.
7. What are you looking forward to?