July 2006 Archives
In case you've ever wondered about the origins of the somewhat ubiquitous Andre the Giant graffiti stencils (e.g.), Perry Farrell interviews the originating artist:
I find myself occupied by someone else's quote during composition. For White Teeth it was cinematic and naive; Katie Hepburn saying: "The time to make up your mind about people is ... never!" For On Beauty the following quote from David Foster Wallace (he is talking about Kafka's work) sat deep in my book, and somehow upbraided me whenever I was tempted to lie or sell something short or go for the easy joke or ... well, a lot of things. I still did all those things, but I think I did them less than I would have if this quote hadn't been bugging me: "The horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle [...] our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home." In struggling to be more of a Muslim you show yourself to be, in fact, a Muslim. In your battle with the idea of femininity you prove yourself a woman. If the word "blackness" doesn't cover boys like Levi, then it is the word that is lacking, not the boy. On Beauty was my old-fashioned attempt to make tight words larger so that my characters (and I) can live in them comfortably. Not too comfortably - just enough to feel alive.
For all of Wallace's reputation for logorrhea, he has a wonderful facility for concision, I don't think you could get much better than 'our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home'.
Jonathan Lethem, one of my favorite authors, has a short story collection coming out, How We Got Insipid. What's odd about this is that the publisher can't promote the book in the press:
[A]ccording to the press release accompanying the book, Subterranean is contractually obliged not to promote the work via the usual channels -- it can't send the book to newspaper or magazine reviewers or to the trade magazines like Publishers Weekly or Booklist. This is apparently an attempt to make sure Insipid doesn't cannibalize the sales of Lethem's big publisher work (although since Insipid has a print run of just 1500 copies it's hard to see why that's a real worry), or cause the newspapers and magazines in question not to review Lethem's other work because they just reviewed this.
Very odd, but I can't imagine they'll have trouble selling out the print run.