Friday, March 16, 2012

We are Connotation Press. And Darger.

We are also much appreciative. There is new interview. And new piece, "Mass," a riff on Henry Darger. Big thanks to the Connotation Press and the endlessly awesome Meg Tuite. Now, how about some excerpt? Cool. 

"I loved this story, Mass. At first, I’m reading this exceptional inner dialogue of this magnificent OCD character. His every move must be methodical or the next move cannot happen.

“You make coffee. There can be no spilled grounds, grounds bring ants, ants bring pestilence and pestilence brings death. You drink your coffee, one cup, no milk, no sugar. If the coffee spills you start again. You make toast, one piece, butter, no jam, never jam, jam brings ants, ants bring pestilence and pestilence brings death.”

Then, as I’m reading on, I am sure that you have drawn an incredibly moving picture of a day in the life of Henry Darger. I saw the documentary on his life and was mesmerized by him. No question, the story of Henry’s life is inspirational, but how did you come to write this beautifully poetic and disturbing piece.

“You go to Mass. You absorb the words as they float across the pews, taking flight, changing shape, and color, nuanced and beautiful and bending in and around the light. You do not think about the asylum. You take this time to kill all thoughts of self-abuse, or pleasure. There can be no release of any kind until you are home again.”

First off, thank you for the invitation to submit a story, the kind words and your interest in doing an interview. And second, I had this story “I Am Richard Simmons” published by ML Press a couple of years ago and I initially thought it might be cool to try and write some similar pieces in that vein, first-person ruminations on obscure or somewhat inscrutable quasi-celebrities we think we know something about and how they cope with confusion, pain and their inability to wholly communicate what they struggle with. I didn’t pursue the idea because I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to capture the tone and vibe I had with that piece. More recently though I started thinking about this again and for a month or so just wrote down the names of people who I thought might fit what I was going for, including Henry Darger, who I have been alternately fascinated and repulsed by for years. I am also fascinated and repulsed by OCD and the crippling nature of it in the extreme is endlessly upsetting to me... I didn’t want to romanticize this, nor do I frankly know anything really about Darger, but that’s part of my goal with these pieces. They’re my impressions and reactions to people we think we sort of know, but don’t, and can’t, and if they turn out poetic or beautiful, I’m thrilled, that’s really wonderful and humbling.

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