Monday, January 28, 2013
Spotlight on ... Casey Hannan Mother Ghost (2013)
'The thing about fiction is a lot of fiction isn't fiction. I can't blame people for wanting to know how much of a story is true. I make stuff up, but I steal my best stuff from real events. I guess the hardest part is gluing it all together with lies. That's also the most fun.
'One of my themes is the homosexual experience. I try not to normalize that experience. It's not normal. It's not hetero. It's not status quo. At the same time, it can be anything I want it to be. Still, I feel like a ghost sometimes, like every conversation I have is trying to apply something to my life that doesn't apply. ...
'I don't have an MFA. My undergraduate fiction classes were run like MFA workshops, though. I wrote some OK stories in undergrad, but that wasn't the point. The point was to learn how to read. My boyfriend and I are avid readers, and once a week we'll go out to eat at the Indian buffet and talk about what we're reading. Sometimes, I let my boyfriend read my stories before I send them out. I'm pretty proud, though, and my boyfriend hates confrontation, so I usually just send out the stories and wait for the rejections. Rejection sets me on fire to impress more than anything else. ...
'I was writing a novel. I loved the idea of writing a novel, but every chapter read like a separate story, and the characters weren't consistent from chapter to chapter. I only recently realized I'd been writing a collection of stories all along. Also, Tiny Hardcore Press came to me loving my stories. They've given me a lot of free reign, but it felt dumb to throw my first attempt at a novel at them.' -- Casey Hannan, from The Interview: Casey Hannan | Molly Laich
Casey Hannan reads 'Worn Out' from 'Mother Ghost'
Mel Bosworth reads 'Other Sons' by Casey Hannan
Story Swaps: Casey Hannan reads Molly Laich
Casey Hannan's Vicious Cycle
Casey Hannan's GUYS + PIES
Casey Hannan interviewed @ [PANK]
Casey Hannan interviewed @ American Short Fiction Blog
'Smoking with Casey Hannan'
'Everyone in NYC Has A Crush on Casey Hannan'
Casey Hannan's 'Mother Friends'
Casey Hannan's 'Piano Hands'
Casey Hannan's 'Other Sons
Casey Hannan's 'Ghosts There'
Casey Hannan's 'Call You Back'
Casey Hannan's 'Ghost Water'
Casey Hannan @ Twitter
Preorder 'Mother Ghost' @ Tiny Hardcore Press
' ... to the coming out letter I wrote my parents when I was 15'
'the family recipe for my favorite pie'
Casey Hannan through the ages
Tiny Hardcore Press
'A gay man comes out of the closet every day of his life. His mother is the first to know. She says he’ll be lonely, but he’ll never be alone. The men who take his time are taxidermist veterans and autopsy pathologists, deer hunters and bartenders, museum directors and curators of contemporary art. They haunt each other on porches and beaches and in the back of trucks. They’re the places a gay man goes to escape his mother. She’s still there, though, in the air between them. She is Mother Ghost.' -- Tiny Hardcore Press
Smoking on the porch outside the secret orgy, we keep looking over at each other, hoping one of us will say what comes next, or that it’s time to go inside and take off all our clothes. But then a deer moves down the street, tapping hooves on the asphalt so evenly, like the back of a head against a headboard.
We both wonder aloud, “Must be time, huh?” Then we giggle, a little, before the demonic laughter takes us over from the inside out. Our faces are lit only by the matches we scratch—one cigarette after the other, after the other, after the other. We laugh so hard our cigarettes look like little boiled noodles.
I say, “That deer walks like someone who’s worn heels all their life.”
You howl as if you’ve just received bad news. I light another cigarette by making my cigarette kiss your cigarette.
I say, “There’s a name for that, you know.”
You say, “What, frot?”
I laugh and cough at the same time.
“Yeah,” I say, “the tips of our cigarettes are ‘frot’ with longing for each other.”
I make our cigarettes kiss again. Ashes fall to the porch like a cindered emission.
You love wordplay, so you howl until it transforms into a scissored cough, like your breath is caught in a rock tumbler. I realize this will be your last cigarette ever. You bleed your coughs onto the shoulder of your t-shirt in big, tacky blotches, and you say, “This is it, man. My only chance to do something like this before I die. I’m dyeing, God, how I’m dyeing this shirt right in front of you.”
And then you scream, but the people inside can’t hear you. The music and the moaning are just that loud.
You startle the deer, though, and it leaps into the intersection, hitting a car full of orgygoers just back from a beer run. Some of them are already naked because they can’t wait to taste a stranger, but the only thing they taste now is the blood and the glass and the shame that comes from being naked during a travesty.
The deer is dying too, so it keeps kicking someone in the face through the windshield. Teeth crack like vibrating dishes. I keep smoking on the front porch. You never know what you’ll do when you don’t know what the fuck to do.
Someone says, “Help. Me.” So I pull out my phone like I’m easing a gun, like maybe someone else will make the call first, but I realize, between puffs, there’s no one else around who isn’t slowly dying.
Lee’s across the river on the stone where we clean animals. He’d be naked, but he has a beard. He’s got one hand going in and out of a dead deer like he’s trying to restart the heart. The other hand is lifting one of the deer’s legs. Lee runs his tongue over the leg like he’s sealing an envelope. He spits out a hair and does it again.
I stand by the fire. I’m naked, too. Last night was the last night for us. I pee in the fire, and it hurts. A black snake out of season goes heavy across my foot. The snake wraps my ankle because I’m warm.
I grew up with snakes. We kept them in the basement and pulled them out on Sundays. My mother prayed for her hair to turn into snakes so she could always be tested. She stuck her head in one of the snake boxes and yelled, and that’s how she lost her nose. My family has a lot of incomplete ghosts.
I’m quiet, but Lee sees me anyway. He puts his tongue away and pulls his hand out of the deer. He stands, and he’s mostly blood. I try to make a face he can’t read.
The river here is narrow where the big rocks come in on both sides. Lee strides the rocks like he’s closing the gap between two mountains. He’s wide and ginger and fat with old football muscle. I’m small and dark as a dog, so I run.
The snake climbs to my thigh but sloughs off when I get too hot. It bites first, though. The sting of it spreads pink like thawing meat. It’s not venom. No black snake in this country has venom. I can still run.
I get to the tall grass where I don’t know what’s inside. My mother sent me into our dark basement once after a flood. I found loose rattlesnakes with my feet. Now I only have a few of my toes. Lee likes to bite the air where my toes are missing so I feel it. It’s called a phantom sensation, like when you suffer in a dream. Lee’s had trouble with never tasting all of me.
I try to climb the grass to get out. It’s a dry winter. There’s no snow and no ice. It’s cold, though, and Lee is loud behind me. He says the grass goes on forever, but it doesn’t. There’s gravel and a truck and a man reaching over to open a door orange and rusted as danger.
He says, “Get in if you’re getting in.”
He could be Lee like every man in a shadow could be Lee. I get in, even though.
p.s. Hey. I'm very happy to be able to celebrate the imminent arrival of superb writer and d.l. Casey Hannan's first book today. I've read it, and it's fantastic, and I very highly recommend it to you, and I hope you'll enjoy exploring it and its memorabilia. Also, an early heads up that there will be another interruption in the flow of the p.s. this week. I'm traveling to the French city of Lille on Wednesday morning for an overnight stay, so there won't be a full-fledged p.s. for the two days that I'm there. You'll get a rerun post on Wednesday and the monthly slaves post on Thursday. Then, normalcy will return when I'm back in Paris on Friday. ** Jeff, Hi, Jeff, welcome, and thank you a lot for being here and talking Beckett with Jax. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Very curious to see 'Upstream Color'. I've heard a lot of really good things about it. Not very interested whatsoever in 'Big Sur', but I've never been all that interested in the Beats. Ha ha, I'll direct Yury's attention to Julie Newmar's mother's stuff, but I guarantee you that he will cringe. So not his style, and I can't imagine he has the slightest idea who Julie Newmar is. ** Tosh, Hi, Tosh. Extremely interesting about your stint in the Beckett play, whether your part survived the cut or not. I just read somewhere that Dean Stockwall is starring in some new, very odd sounding film, I think, maybe with Jerry Lewis (?), but I can't remember the details. ** Rewritedept, Hi. I would guess Blur will at least do an East Coast show while they're already Stateside, but we'll see. Could be that the Three O'Clock reunion will get me to Coachella, but that kind of vast, field-based festival with undoubtedly anti-ideal viewing and hearing is not very appealing at all. Don't know. Time to think. ** JoeM, Hi, Joe. Beckett's 'Happy Days' is great. One of my very fave theater things by him, and maybe my favorite. Yeah, the period when that dad video was made was a rough, uncertain, very disappointing time, and then we gave up, basically, and now ... we'll see. But being locked out of the US like that was so incredibly unfair. It would be the same if he tried for a visa now. I don't know. Thank you, Joe. ** Steevee, Hi. There's an upcoming screening of 'White Epilepsy' here that I'm really hoping to catch. I was really into the Mothers of Invention when I was young. I haven't listened to them in yonks, but I used to really like pretty much everything by them/Zappa up through 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh' in, yeah, as you said, 1970. After that, I kind of couldn't stand what Zappa did. I think 'We're Only In It For the Money' was my favorite. ** Un Cœur Blanc, Hi! 'How It Is' is so good. Very interesting about the wrongness of 'Aminadab'. It's the only Blanchot that didn't stick deeply in my mind, and I hardly remember it, which is very strange. That may well be why. Thanks for the read and urge on the new Kitchell poetry book. I read the online sample, and I thought it was interesting, and I need to order that. Your enthusiasm will get me to do so almost immediately. Thank you. ** Misanthrope, Our weather is upwardly mobile here too. Might not even need a scarf today. Oh, God, LinkedIn ... as I was saying on Saturday, I got pulled in there while sleepy because I got an invite to join from ... well, Jonathan Sanders, whom you know ... and, not having talked to Jonathan in quite a while and missing him, I dove in, only to realize the invitation was generated not by him at all, and I quit, but not before everybody who's ever written me a fucking email seems to have gotten an 'invite' from me. ** Paradigm, Hi, Scott! Yeah, the Day shines a very bright klieg light up my alley. I didn't know that Franzen championed Stead. That's unpleasant. I think that post was made before his stamp of approval besmirched her. I don't think I know that Mark Cousins film. Sounds definitely worth a look. I'll see if it's uploaded somewhere, and, if not, I'll search further. My weekend was okay, yours? How's your work and everything going right now? ** Jax, Thanks so ultra-much, buddy! It was great, and it was a hit! ** Scunnard, Hi, J. Oh, right, that's what LinkedIn is. So people actually get jobs from that site? Trippy. I wonder what kind of jibs I would have been offered. I'm almost kind of sorry I deleted my account now. ** 5STRINGS, I wish that I could get so insanely rich that I could make everybody I know and like rich, and then we'd all be kind of rich, and life would be a perpetual spring or something. I've heard of Jesus, yeah. He's, like, Rimbaud for stupid people or something, right? Back in the halcyon days of my youth, I totally got and felt the 'god' thing about, oh, Page, Beck, Hendrix, Blackmore, Green, Iommi, etc., but I never got the Clapton thing. Saw Cream live three times, and saw Derek & the Dominoes live once, and I don't know. My ears failed me or something. A vampirish world indeed. You're so evermore mastering the stack form, and with text component! Everyone, without ado, 5STRINGS' 'The World is a Vampire' aka 'First World Problems' Skeedaddle! ** James, Hi, James. Glad to hear you're both more human and skinnier. Nice combo. There's still every chance the George novel won't work and will have to be deep-sixed, but at least I'm inside it again. I've heard the term 'ambient influences, yeah. With me, they're more than ambient because I'm pretty much always more influenced by the music and film and art and stuff I'm into than I am by literature. Always have been. If anything, I think the literature influence is more the ambient one for me. With music, art, film, etc., I really study that stuff carefully, and, with the lit influence, it's, like, 'hey, if you can get your influence into what I'm writing, cool, but I'm not asking'. Do I think it's possible that Titus Andronicus could be influencing your work? Well, absolutely! Like I've said before, music, especially, is a huge influence on how I write. So, yeah. Love to you. ** Kyler, Hi, K! ** Bill, Hi! I stay extremely far away from foie gras, yeah. Even the idea of a vegetarian version makes me feel nauseous. I kind of doubt there is one, but I don't know. Never heard of one. Oh, I finally dug into your generous Butoh stuff, and it helped enormously, and I've put together a post using it and supplementary stuff for the next couple of weeks, so thank you so much! ** Allesfliesst, Exciting about your proofs correcting, man. Very exciting. Oh, a hypnosis story for me, cool. Hold on while I read it. But ... but ... but ... what happened?!? Ha ha. I'm sure my particular imagination can fill out that blank adequately, and so it will. Thanks, Kai. ** Chilly Jay Chill, Hi, Jeff. Well, Gisele laid out the basics what she wanted to do -- the woman and boy performers, the setting in an abstracted-out Eastern European techno club, that the text would be separate from the performance and inform/create it via a book to be read by the audience after the performance part was over, etc. We discussed some of reference points she had for the piece -- Bertolucci's 'Luna', 'Lilya 4-ever', and others. And then she gave me complete freedom to make the text I wanted to make, to create the woman and boy character and their stories however I liked. As I had started working on the George novel and was very consumed by it and didn't think I could create something far afield from the material I was consumed by, I made the decision to tell the same story in two different ways. In the theater version, the boy is writing about his relationship with the woman in the future when he's older, and, in the novel version, it's me writing about George. The text is a strange, complicated text that only gradually finds a way to tell the actual and very difficult, painful story, so it was possible to work with it in both contexts. It was different for me in the obvious way, as I had never written something that was destined for a novel and a theater piece at the same time, and I doubt I'll do that again, but, in this case, it seems to have worked, although we won't know until the piece reaches the public, of course. Thanks for asking about that, Jeff! Superb news about the success of the open studio. God, that piece sounds like it's going to be so amazing! I so hope I'll get to see it somehow. I'll make every effort to do so. Crazy about the Matthew Barry-like boy given 'Luna's' presence in our work, and given the MB character's influence on our piece. Wow. ** Alan Hi. No, Joel picked the image. He took the photograph. I gave him complete reign over the cover, and I didn't know what he was going to do until he sent me the cover already designed. It was a total surprise to me, and I'm pretty sure the two interior scene covers are the result of pure coincidence. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. So good to hear about your great day! Good timing and hugely deserved, obviously. The 'Twister' installation looks even cooler than I imagined it would. Thanks a bunch for letting me see. Everyone, _Black_Acrylic has posted some photos of a show at the Embassy Gallery in Edinburgh, featuring a very cool looking installation work by Ortonandon aka artists/sisters Katie, Sophie and Anna Orton based on the game Twister, and you should check them out here. Look forward to your review! ** Sypha, Hm, maybe I will yet again update my 50 novels list. You know me and my list-making fetish. Thanks for tweaking it. Which McCourt novels did you get? ** Chris Dankland, Hi, Chris! I'm good, thanks. I haven't heard that Lish interview. I'll listen to it. Mixed feelings about that guy, as you know, but I'm always interested to hear what he says. Yeah, the last time I talked to Zach, he was way into Lish and was about to take a class with him, but I haven't talked to Zach since then. I wonder how it went for him, and, of course, I'm extremely interested to see what Zach's new work is going to be like. Interesting to hear that you liked 'ZDT'. I think I'm going to hold off on seeing that until the blah blah around it is hard for my memory to recall precisely because I feel like any viewing right now would be too interfered with by the surrounding noise. But I will see it at some point, and I'm really glad to know what you thought. How are you doing? How is writing going? How is everything? ** Marc Vallée, Hi, Marc! Awesome to see you! Yes, I do know that Larry Clark is here doing that film. Apparently, when he was here to install his retrospective, he fell in love, in a very Larry-Clark-like manner, with the skateboarders who hang out and skate around the Palais de Tokyo, and, hence, a film idea was born. I sure hope it's a lot better than that last online-only film of his. ** MMR, Hearty greetings, MMR! Glad that TKitH are still revamping you, and I'm well, thanks, and I hope you are very well indeed. ** Okay. Casey Hannan's book has your local day all mapped out for you, so get back up there and dig the fruits. See you tomorrow.
Posted by Dennis Cooper at 12:03 AM