In honor of the passing of Mr. Jim Carroll, I found an interview with him that I did one month after 9/11, in Saratoga, CA, at a reading from Void of Course. In it, he discusses the effect of the WTC bombing on life and art. Originally published October 24, 2001.
Jason Louv: A lot of your work, especially your diaries, have been about NY and living in it and being a part of it as a city. Are recent events going to affect your work at all?
Jim Carroll: Yes. Yes. I mean it changes my past work, it changes everybody’s past work. But everybody’s work is always changed, with every new book that a person writes. You look at a person who maybe influenced that person in a different way you know? You know when Beckett started writing, we looked at Joyce’s books differently. But, when something like this happens, the psyche of America is changed, you better believe that it changes things. You know, I say in The Basketball Diaries, “I know now that I want to be a writer, I feel it stronger each day.” Then I say that I want to have my writing powerful enough so that one day I’ll write a book that’s 8 pages long, and everytime you turn the page a different section of the Pentagon will explode. Solid.
I first came across Jeff Hoke’s “Museum of Lost Wonder” in zine format; at the time he was doing them out of his house and selling them on stapled manila paper. Basically you could chop up the zines and make your own origami temples, mind-bending devices and other examples of the genius of the ancient world. In the meantime the zines taught you everything you need to know about alchemy, Qabalah, the universe and ways to trip out without drugs. They were practically arts-and-crafts training modules in the Ancient Mysteries. Now it’s all been collected as a hardback. Hm… slightly less tempting to chop up. Buy two! If I knew any smart kids (I don’t) I would buy this for them next time at the next given Present Tax time, and guarantee a life of inward-directed seeking fun.
Jeff reviews Raymond’s autobiography, which is apparently even harder to find than the rest of his books. From Raymond’s introduction:
I have said a lot about writing in these memoirs, with particular reference to the black novel. I could not have described my life in any depth without almost constant reference to the work that has given it meaning?
Recently got a look at the gigantic coffee table book A Lovecraft Retrospective: Artists Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. 400 pages, 400 dollars (though discounted everywhere), and honking huge hardback containing big renditions of Lovecraft-inspired art from H. P.‘s day until now. A truly terrifying and awe-inspiring thing to behold…!
Millipede Press is pleased to announce A Lovecraft Retrospective: Artists Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. This huge tome is four hundred pages long and features the work of over forty artists, including J.K. Potter, H.R. Giger, Raymond Bayless, Ian Miller, Virgil Finlay, Lee Brown Coye, Rowena Morrill, Bob Eggleton, Allen Koszowski, Mike Mignola, Michael Whelan, John Coulthart, Harry O. Morris, John Jude Palencar, and dozens of others, as well as twenty thousand words of original essays.
This is an art book unlike anything ever published. Many works have never before seen publication, many are printed as special multi-page fold-outs, and several have detail views. A thumbnail gallery allows you an overview of the entire contents of the book and provides notations on each artist, work title, publication information, size, and location.
Because of its sheer size and scope, A Lovecraft Retrospective will never be reprinted and will sell out very quickly. Twenty years down the road, people will be paying huge prices for this book because of its range and the quality of reproductions. This is the H.P. Lovecraft fan’s dream come true.
When I was about 14, I discovered a copy of “The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III” in the local library used-book bin. Noting that it had something to do with Dungeons and Dragons (don’t act smug!), and also noting that it cost about $1, I bought it.
That book stuck with me for a long time.
Egbert, for those who are not versed in their nerd history, was the kid who disappeared in the Michigan State University steam tunnels in 1979, apparently as the result of a live-action Dungeons and Dragons session, provoking a nation-wide scare about the then-new role-playing game that would be unrivaled in sheer stupidity levels until the Satanic Panic…
Disturbing news from England today as The Guardian describes the sexual past of Lord of the Flies author and Nobel laureate, William Golding. Apparently, Golding’s private papers detail his attempted rape of a 15-year old girl when the author himself was 18. Golding went on to justify his behavior by calling his target “depraved by nature” and, at 14, “already sexy as an ape.” (Hold on—is that VERY sexy, or sexy not at all?!)
And if that wasn?
Thomas Pynchon‘s largely well-received 7th novel, Inherent Vice, drops today and if you’re still unsure as to whether or not it’s worth your while, Jason Boog over at Galley Cat cobbled together a “commercial” of sorts using “vintage footage of 1970s California, private detectives, old-time computers, and some choice passages” from the novel itself. Whether or not it persuades you to plop down your $15.37, I’m always fascinated by how Pynchon inspires the type of fanaticism that yields such DIY projects as Zak Smith’s illustrated Gravity’s Rainbow, or home-movie versions of The Crying of Lot 49. The internet certainly makes it easier to indulge all this (see today’s already thriving Inherent Vice wiki), but apparently Pynchon needs the web just as much as the web needs him. Searching for just the right Vice cover, Pynchon found his surfboard-toting hearse here.
Updated, Pynchon speaks: The Penguin Group USA just released an Inherent Vice promo piece featuring “unconfirmed” voice-over work from the man himself! Keep watching until the very end, though, where Pynchon mocks the high cost of his own book, and sighs, “That used to be like 3 weeks of groceries, man! What year is this again?”
(Thanks, Frank Smith!)