First the good news! It's publication day for my Guillotine Press chapbook with Kat Howard. In this beautiful object called GUILLOTINE FANTASTIQUE (front and back pictured above, but which is which?) you can read Kat's story "Those Are Pearls" and also my story "Meet Me in Iram."
I told Sarah that once the chapbook was out I would reveal the sort of appalling thing I discovered, which is that I am Jack Kerouac reincarnated. I discovered this listening to On the Road, which I'd never read before, last March, after I'd already turned in the story to Sarah. I listened to the book in my car on the way to Fresno, alone, first across the mountains and then through the hanging dust, probably the best conditions for absorbing that novel, which by the way is very brilliantly read by Matt Dillon. And then last month I read the first volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle, and I had to revise my interpretation of what was going on. It turns out I am not Kerouac reincarnated. Rather, Kerouac and Knausgaard and I, and maybe you too, who knows, are linked by this weird childhood fantasy.
From "Meet Me in Iram":
I remember when I was a kid, on long car trips, I’d imagine a giant saw was attached to my side of the car. The saw could cut through anything. It sliced fences, it sliced trees. The fences gave a swift groan and exposed the hollow insides of their poles. The trees went snick and fell over with juicy ease, the tops of the stumps left gleaming moist and pale, like a wound before the blood comes. I was leveling the whole country from my seat in the back of the car. I don’t know why it gave me so much pleasure.
From On the Road:
I told Dean that when I was a kid and rode in cars I used to imagine I held a big scythe in my hand and cut down all the trees and posts and even sliced every hill that zoomed past the window. "Yes! Yes!" yelled Dean. "I used to do it too only different scythe — tell you why. Driving across the West with the long stretches my scythe had to be immeasurably longer and it had to curve over distant mountains, slicing off their tops, and reach another level to get at further mountains and at the same time clip off every post along the road, regular throbbing poles."
From My Struggle, Vol. 1:
Another fantasy I had at that time was that there were two enormous saw blades sticking out from the side of the car, chopping off everything as we drove past. Trees and streetlamps, houses and outhouses, but also people and animals. If someone was waiting for a bus they would be sliced through the middle, their top half falling like a felled tree, leaving feet and waist standing and the wound bleeding.
I could still identify with that feeling.