An essay in nineteen parts, where writer-critic Christopher Higgs investigates how a monster is not born but formed. What are the circumstances that can turn a person into a monster, and what are the ramifications of becoming one? Scanning art, philosophy, literature, and television, Higgs is on the hunt not just for the world’s monsters, but for the monstrousness that hides in the depths of human nature. Then again: “What do we mean when we say human,” Higgs asks, “and what do we mean when we say nature?” These unstable definitions are as dangerous as any monster hiding in man’s stories. Part treatise, part warning, Becoming Monster is a critical study of the very nature of the grotesque. The Cupboard is thrilled to put the beastly thing in your hands.
Well, confusion or dissonance are things that sometimes work in opposing ways but they kind of set the story straight. Sometimes the most interesting thing to watch is the way things dance with each other or connect with each other in ways that you would never expect. I’ve always felt more attracted to things that were more emotionally complicated.
Calling a practice uncreative is to reenergize it, opening creativity up to a whole slew of strategies that are in no way acceptable to creativity as it’s now known. These strategies include theft, plagiarism, mechanical processes, repetition. By employing these methods, uncreativity can actually breathe life into the moribund notion of creativity as we know it.
My remix of Pirandello’s 6 Characters in Search of an Author appears in the latest edition of The Coming Envelope, which is BookThug’s beautiful letterpress publication of experimental prose fiction edited and designed by Malcolm Sutton.
Over at HTMLGIANT, I offered holiday gift recommendations for recently published works of Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry.
Over at The Paris Review Daily, I interviewed Kate Zambreno about her new book Heroines.
Over at The Brooklyn Rail, the three of us did an interview about ONE.
Over at Fanzine, critic Laura Carter reviewsONE, and declares “There is beautiful language here.”
And the great Dennis Cooper includes both ONE and Bright Stupid Confetti on his list of favorite music, fiction, poetry, film, art & internet of 2012.
I am pleased to announce the release of ONE (my collaboration with Blake Butler & Vanessa Place) now available from Roof Books. It’s an experiment wherein Blake wrote the exterior perspective and Vanessa wrote the interior perspective; then I assembled the two into ONE.
Here’s the jacket copy:
From the room inside the room, from the house inside the house, memories of a one-legged father and various acts of jurisprudence haunt the mysterious creature who writhes in somatic isolation from one waking nightmare to another. Here, two writers have produced textual bodies: one speaking for the interior and the other describing the exterior, while a third writer has assembled these two bodies into a single grotesque symphony of chimerical language. A hitherto unprecedented collaborative experiment, ONE defies categorization and heralds a new approach to exploring the boundaries of authorship and narrative.
And here’s the blurb from Dennis Cooper:
In theory or even usually, three contemporary majors like Butler, Higgs, and Place interlocking works inside a single book would leave users fannishly dissecting more than reading, but One is something way else. It’s as sublimely integrated as any single-minded novel I can think of, but with this absolutely crazy mega-wattage. I.e., not since Ashbery and Schuyler co-made A Nest of Ninnies, but, whoa, even more so.