Talking—and characters do a lot of it here—becomes one of the book’s transitional devices, used to show how Josiah, once profound and elegiac in his boyhood speech and mannerisms, is now flippant in some regards, able to view his father’s pious ramblings as insane, as if they were the clear signs of an imminent death. Armageddon, which the Laudermilk family had held in view like a distant, illustrious star, now becomes real, earth-like, as Gill slips deeper and deeper into what Josiah believes is mental illness. Or is it pure, unsullied clarity?
In Episode 11, we spend some time with the relentless and charming D. Foy, author ofMade to Break. We talk about booking your own book tour and all of the things that go into that kind of stew, traversing America by car solo, psychic abilities, and about staying true to your artistic vision irrespective of obstacles.
Neil Gaiman answered readers’ questions about James Thurber’s The 13 Clocks for the Wall Street Journal's Book Club. Here is his response to the submission: “Was James Thurber thinking of pleasing the reader when he wrote this story, or was he writing for pure joy, to please himself?” and describes his Stardust as being the most similar to The 13 Clocks of all his books. He also shouts out Sylvia Townsend Warner.
When Frings had first heard of the concept for the Tower, it had seemed like the height of folly: two buildings—one on each side of the Crosstown—supporting a larger building, twenty-five floors from the ground, that spanned the Crosstown and tapered, pyramid-like, as it rose another twenty-five floors. Atop the structure, a spire rose a hundred feet into the air, ringed at its peak by a circular observation deck. And yet, here it was, the exterior completed, though the interior wasn’t yet ready for occupancy. In his column, Frings had dubbed it “The Colossus of Roads.”
Anyone coming into a tome about the Beat Generation probably knows something about its most renowned writers. While this familiarity comes in handy and helps the book set its hooks in early, American Smoke is a strange and unpredictable read because Sinclair’s brings together key figures of the Beat Generation and interweaves their stories with those of the places in which they worked, his own thoughts, memories, and feelings, and tangential narratives about the people who surrounded their lives. This is a fragmented autobiography of Iain Sinclair as much as it is a book about the Beats, pop culture, movies, travelling, Olson’s Gloucester, Burrough’s Lawrence, and the secrets, lies, and half-truths often found when conducting research on famous characters. The result of this wild mixture is a multilayered text in which names like Ginsberg and Kerouac end up intermingling with others as unexpected as Courtney Love and Aliester Crowley. (via Vol. 1 Brooklyn | Review: “American Smoke,” Iain Sinclair’s History of the Beat Generation)
Moodwise, The Spray was meant to cover a very specific spectrum based on what we both took away from the Jonathan Lethem short story of the same name. Overall, I think we were aiming for notes of ambivalence and resignation but we have a…tendency towards the ebullient even when we’re trying to bum out the listener. SIMISM was meant as a return to those comfortable, feel-good waters. We used the word “shameless” a lot when we were making it. We wanted it to radiate positivity. (via Vol. 1 Brooklyn | “We Wanted It To Radiate Positivity”: An Interview with Seattle’s USF)
When I finished, I had not worked on a story for five or six years. I did exercises. I started stories that just died, and I didn’t spend much time with them. The last thing I published was in 2007, probably. A story, also, about religious yearning, that takes place in Death Valley. I went back in, and I found myself writing really long stories, which I’d never done before. I wrote two very long, fifty-page stories, which I eventually cut down to a more serviceable twenty-five, twenty-eight pages. And then I felt totally spent, and I found myself revisiting one of my old loves, which is Donald Barthelme. I started writing these weird things that looked nothing like the other stories and nothing like the book. So I’ve got five stories: two that are somewhat traditional and three that are somewhat…off. And hopefully someone likes them, somewhere in the universe.
In Episode 10, we hang/rap/laugh/explore with poet/publisher/all-around good dude Mike Young. Mike runs Magic Helicopter Press and has been an integral part of moving indie publishing/writing from ones and zeros into paper and hands. Mike was in town for a thing and we were so stoked he came and spent an afternoon with us at Mellow Pages. Mike even took a request from Eric and sings us all a song. Mike’s newest book, Sprezzatura, is on the cusp of release from Publishing Genius.