J. Michael Martinez | December 14, 2012
1. Where are you now?
Sitting at my desk in my one bedroom apartment in Denver, CO.
Autumn: cloudy—light leaking leaden through the ash black curtain—blustery as a day in the 500 Acre Woods.
a) Devotional Cinema by Nathaniel Dorksy, pg. 48: “When the hierarchy is out of order or one element is out of proportion, the cuts lose their vibrancy. The aliveness of the cinematic space collapses.”
b) Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, pg. 63 (Book Four, 2): “Take no enterprise in hand at haphazard, or without regard to the principles governing its proper execution.”
c) Modern Art In Africa, Asia, and Latin America: An Introduction to Global Modernisms; ED. Elaine O’Brien, Everlyn Nicodemus, Melissa Chiu, Benjamin Genocchio, Mary K. Coffeey, and Roberto Tejada. This fantastic work situates modern art on a global scale as opposed to a particular Eurocentric historiography. I skip around in it. Hopscotch reading.
d) The Glimmering Room by Cynthia Cruz: amazing. Beautiful.
2. What are you working on and what have you got coming out?
The Ph.D. work takes quite a bit of my time but I try to work on a number of projects at once: in addition to editing poetry manuscripts for Noemi, I’m in the midst of writing an article on Craig Santo Perez and his poetics (the brother’s work is an example of what is foundational and revolutionary in 21st century poetries), writing an article responding to claims by certain of our elders on the state/(de)construction/epistemological structuring of 20th century poetics. I wrapped up my final edit of a new poetry manuscript called In the Garden of the Bridehouse. I’m starting to send it out; I’m hoping it finds a home.
I’ve recently become completely obsessed with my new project: a novella/graphic novel with essays, children’s book, video and a soundtrack. I love books like The Little Prince and The Prophet. And I love the novels of Herman Hesse, particularly Narcissus and Goldmund…and growing up work comic books like Kabuki and Squee were essential readings. I wanted to combine these forms and do visual art again. And write music. I’ve been spending what free time I have from Ph.D. stuff working on painting and writing this book.
The book (I might make it an ‘app’) is called The Invention Machine: I had a dream about a year and a half ago where I was in my room/workshop constructing a dollhouse. It is a massive structure and, when opened, the doll house’s rooms were organized to correspond to a human body: two large libraries occupy the place of the lungs, the living room is where the heart would be placed; where the sexual organs would be situated, the doll house had a baby doll house growing within it; in the dream, you could open up the baby doll house and see its even smaller organ matched interior. In the dream, I finished working on the architecture and, looking up, saw a children’s book: I began to read it. Long story short, The Invention Machine is the book I read in my dream. When I woke I remembered it entirely. This dream-story helped pull together a number of writings I’d abandoned because I couldn’t think of a way to make them work. All in all, the novel-esque portions are situated in one man’s memories and the graphic novel portions are situated in the gaps governing the architectural boundaries of recollection. The main character writes children’s books and I’m including a few of those. This is My Science of Why.
3. Where do you write?
I’ve turned my apartment into a workshop: my little dining area holds my amps, guitars, keyboard and mics; in the living room, I trashed my couch the other day so I could have room for my painting supplies, drafting table and other art stuff; on the other side of my living room, I write at a pretty massive desk I got cheap off of Craig’s List; all other spaces are crowded with books.
5. What journals, poets, presses have you discovered lately?
Denver has become such a gift: writers are visiting and reading veritably everyday at some gallery or bar. Dot Devota and Brandon Shimoda were just here for The Bad Shadow Affair and I’m crushing on their work; Carmen Gimenez Smith’s new book Goodbye, Flicker is gorgeous.
6. Care to share any distractions / diversions?
Steven Gutheinz “Cracking Shadows”
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, “Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!”
P.M. Dawn, “The Best of P.M. Dawn”
Mint Julip, “Save Your Season”
Grouper, “Dragging a Dead Deer up a Hill”
Abandoned Pools, “Sublime Currency”
Gliss, “Hunting E.P.”
Belong, “October Language”
7. What are you looking forward to?
The compact silence of snow, tomorrow morning’s coffee, the crackling kiss of winter air. I will not apologize for sentimentalities.
(Question by J.C.)
8. How does curiosity fit into your life?
I think I still have the curiosity of my five year old self: I get excited at the prospect of…most things…I’m naturally an optimistic person; if you know me, you know what I mean. Moreover, I try to live by an ethos put forward by James P. Carse. I read his book in my late teens and it has guided my perceptions for a very long time, check it out: Infinite and Finite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility.
(Question by E.C.)
9. If you talked down the clouds rather than took them down, what would you say to convince them to come down?
I’d hide a flower behind my back and whisper to the clouds that they have a love child they’ve never met.
(Question by J.Cr)
10. What do you love most about your body?
The manner in which it keeps record.
(Question by K. M.)
11. True or False: Glasses are sexy?
Truer than gravity.
(Question by S. M.)
12. Where is a wound? And how does it manifest?
The wound is the flower behind my back and the manner in which it keeps record: it whispers to the clouds they have a love child they’ve never met and it visions life as a season of play where light leaks leaden through the ash black and, in that aliveness, space collapses. The wound is where you love your body and glasses are sexy and what you look forward to is how curiosity fits into your life.