Has staying away from New York (by which I mean: mainstream publishing) helped you to take more risks, to say, “Fuck ‘em,” to not feel like you have to ascribe to anything?
Scott McClanahan: No, it hasn’t helped me at all. I know how to do it. The path is fairly easy in terms of New York publishing. It’s called networking. You write a manuscript about living in Europe and how you struggled there, or you write a novel about your vacation to somewhere or a book sort of like another book and then you start dreaming about the bland cover you want for the hardcover edition and your quirky author photo. Then you also think about the non-fiction book or collection of short stories you can package with it in a contract. Writers should work on their networking skills. I think everyone knows this, though.
People think books are holy or something, but books are products. They’re no different than shitty television shows or shitty movies. But shit saves us. It’s what keeps us going. It’s fertilizer. I love books of all kinds.
1. I was listening to Merle Haggard’s “Going Where the Lonely Go” and for some reason I started crying. Juliet started laughing and then she started filming me crying.
2. I kept doing this weird thing where I would see a mountain and say, “There’s a mountain.” Or I would look out on the desert and say, “Yep, that’s the desert.” It was like I’d reached pure enlightenment.
3. Juliet and I played this game where we asked one another questions about the past. I found out she threw up on her desk when she moved to California in the third grade because she was nervous. I told her about a fight I got in with my ex-girlfriend Kim where she started walking away from me. She was like 50 yards away, but I decided to throw my keys at her. I have no idea why. I missed Kim completely with my keys and then I couldn’t find them. I probably spent three hours looking for them.
4. I kept thinking about Lawrence of Arabia where someone asked Lawrence why he liked the desert. He said this.
Lawrence: I like the desert because it’s clean.
5. Juliet said something about the singer from Thin Lizzy being from England. I told her he wasn’t from England. He was from Ireland. She said, “Same thing… English, Irelish, Scottlish.”
This chapbook begins with two epigraphs: one by Dorothea Lasky and the other by the rapper Drake. This sets the tone for the whole collection as it bounces between exuberant pronouncements of love (“you are a hundred / helium balloons knotted / around my ribcage”) and quiet contemplations on long nights playing NBA Jam with friends, dreaming about getting more from life. Cugini writes:
I am Alt Lit.
I am right now.
I am ready, I am ready,
I am ready to fucking kill you.
and it’s true.
Marry me, Quincy Rhoads.
omg this poem published by my boo marky mark cugini written by my boo laura marie marciano
- me: what do you think i said
- me: when i saw your tumblr photos
- sja: "dear god"
- me: ding ding ding
alexispopeisagirl is really good at this.