Excited to announce my next book. GROBBING THISTLE, coming out via Dostoevsky Wannabe. The book contains my first poetry chapbook (now o.o.p. from Black Coffee Press) ODE TO A VINCENT GALLO NIGHTINGALE, a long poem called SEEDBED, and a warped, cut, destroyed version of the first novel I ever wrote called GIVE UP.
Here are Paul Curran, CA Conrad, and Liz Worth on the book:
“Grant Maierhofer sculpts the everyday trails of youth into something far more beautiful and traumatic. The results feel like watching someone in a furious dream spewing gold down the corridors of an abandoned hospital to cauterize some memories and reinfect others with mad laughter.” Paul Curran, author of Left Hand
“I left earth for something grave” writes Grant Maierhofer and I left earth when reading his amazing new book. It is rare to meet a poet and novelist who is superior to both mouths of the Muse, but in your hands is where that genius provides. This is where instant classics find the frequency to draw the Love of many fans, the Love Maierhofer justly deserves!” CAConrad, author of The Book of Frank
“Grant Maierhofer’s Grobbing Thistle is a book that needs to be experienced, not simply read. Visceral, raw, and weird as hell, Maierhofer’s words must be given entry into your head and heart, where they can writhe like worms. Part pop culture magick cut-up, part stream-of-consciousness confessions, Maierhofer has masterfully crafted a surreal, evocative literary scream.” - Liz Worth, author of No Work Finished Here: Rewriting Andy Warhol
Grant Maierhofer emailed me a bunch of stuff. This was my fav. If you like the nonfiction below, you can see the rest of the stuff he emailed (poetry & fiction) here. Grant seems cool.
I’m doing several things. I’m rereading Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock and reading The Devil all the Time because I’ll be interviewing him and reviewing those books for HTMLGIANT sometime soon. I’m doing other things for that site. I have a tumblr and a twitter, I have a wordpress, I have many things that don’t matter a great deal to me. I want to become celibate because I’m scared of ever feeling something for anything or whatever. I text fat girls about having sex and don’t ever fuck them because I’d feel weird I think. I’m an idiot. I’m definitely an idiot. I started writing a novel but it hasn’t gone anywhere because I wrote myself into a bit of a hole and don’t know how to get out of it. It was my first attempt at writing a novel longhand wait actually that isn’t true I tried it last summer and gave up after awhile. I like the beginnings of things which is bad obviously. I think I have problems in my head that I’m unwilling to face. I want to push myself to be better, to be the greatest artist that ever lived and the greatest writer. I don’t know. I want to know. I want to be a human. I want to be a living human with thoughts and feelings and be a great man. I want to be horrible. I want to have killed like Tolstoy. I want to have read all of Tolstoy. I hate myself. I hate everyone else. I like Samuel Beckett. I don’t like Samuel Beckett. I don’t like women. I hate men. I hate you. I hate this world. I am a small man. I am an unimportant man. I will not break this paragraph no matter how much you pay me. Today is November 14th and I have to cope with that and understand that there will be more November 14ths in my life and I will have to live through them or kill myself. I think about killing myself often because who doesn’t? if you don’t hate yourself I can’t imagine you live a very interesting life. Coffee and nonalcoholic beer sits on the table in front of me. A copy of Knockemstiff with two stories read. The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera with a bit of the first essay read. I’ll read them in the bathtub in a second. My mother is painting with watercolor to my right, a fake fire burns to my left—real fire fake buildup gas etc. I want to be better, more well-read, that sort of thing. I want to hang out with famous writers and be ugly. I want to hang out with ugly women and be famous. I don’t like anyone I’ve ever met. I don’t like coffee. That’s a lie. The only thing I like is coffee. Coffee and films. I live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin where I was born and I’m studying Creative Writing (capital C and W) at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire where I’ll get my BFA then go on to get my MFA and perhaps a Ph. D elsewhere but who the fuck knows anymore? Do you love yourself? Why? Give me ten reasons why you love yourself at the bottom of this page. People will be annoyed by this entry. This is a book? Is this a book? Am I writing a novel this entire time? Perhaps this journal will go on until my book is officially published! That’s a great idea! Here I am, pre-publishing. I hate everything, I hate myself, writing, the books I’ve reviewed, the websites that have accepted my drivel. If I don’t get published for another thirty years I’m still going to write in this very same journal and fill it up so full that it becomes Proustian and afterwards I’ll burn it or eat it or something. Who are you? Do you love yourself? Do you love yourself? Do you want to get married? People won’t believe this is a part of the same book of journals they’ve been reading because it’s so completely different but I assure you it’s the same I’m just feeling rather Beckett-struck and I want to embrace it before my fingers go cold and I have no interest in writing another word this way. That is the mark of a true writer, I guess, the ability or the interest to fill a page this way and the inherent joy one feels afterward; if the joy isn’t there the urge to write isn’t truly there because unlike painters and visual artists this is the one platform we have. I love myself and I wish I was dead. I wish you were dead. I wish the pain of this world was no more. Do I wish the pain of this world was no more? Does this journal have quotations? I cannot remember. Some editor somewhere is going to have an awful time tying this shit together. I hate you editor. I hate you publisher. I hate you everyone. Bye.
Can’t sleep. Ear infection. Absolutely terrible. If I swallow or make any movement in my throat I feel a pulsating in my ear that’s nearly unbearable as though a small alien is growing there. Christ I hate this. I can’t sleep. I’m taking antibiotics and I’ve just eaten some cashews and watched some TV but afterward I just felt deflated and wanted to think for myself a bit and sat there trying to do so with the lights out and became distracted and now all’s simply lost. Everything seems to be flying through my mind at once and yet there’s nothing really substantial to cling on to. I cut myself last night or maybe the night before. It was the night before. Just small cuts with a razorblade just above my kneecap on the right leg for a bit of entertainment in the shower, nothing serious I assure you. I also brought CDs into the shower with me and licked those a bit as well. And into the shower I wore socks, my underwear, and the cardboard roll from an empty roll of toilet paper over my cock—then softening from masturbating a bit earlier to shemale pornography. I enjoy shemale pornography because it has everything I want in a sexual experience without being explicitly gay or straight. I don’t like gayness and I don’t like straightness. I like the area between. I don’t like the idea of sleeping with a man at all. Shaking a man’s hand isn’t bad. But beyond that I’d feel out of sorts. But then only sleeping with a woman without any sort of juxtaposition of roles or parts feels entirely boring as well. I’m not sure what this makes me, or what this says about me. I don’t like these roles and it makes me want to eat society and shit it out and laugh at the pile. I fear that the following fifty pages or so might be entries like this with long paragraphs etc. and no deference to the reader because the reader isn’t the reason I’m writing this drivel. My ear is. I was thinking about adding something to an earlier passage where I mention loving Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity about how after a few more pages from the one I quoted I realized it was a pile of shit and the main character was an asshole and Nick Hornby is a hack who can go fuck himself. I hope the time between makes this jarring. I hope Nick Hornby tries to fight me someday at a book fair and I still have this ear infection and he goes near my ear and I can’t do anything in response but bite his nose off slowly, digging my teeth in as well as I can even though cartilage will almost certainly prove immensely difficult to chew through. Shifting my incisors and front teeth subtly from side to side until his nose is completely in my mouth and blood is shooting out behind it and instead of spitting it out high into the air and punching the spot where it once sat I’ll swallow it down and it will be Nick Hornby’s nose that kills me much like the toothpick that killed Sherwood Anderson.
I am surrounded by nothingness, by trees, by parents, by everything. I am surrounded. I’m looking out at the window right now in my kitchen or at the table adjacent to my kitchen perhaps in the dining room and I’ve tried to write a bit of prose to add to a new story I’m working on but I’m too distracted and I might’ve lost interest in the story I’m not exactly sure. I certainly don’t want to lose interest in this story it’s the greatest thing I’ve written in some time but I don’t know. I just don’t know. I just ate some eggs that were undercooked and with my ear infection this is certainly a recipe for disaster. Fuck. I’m going to vomit or have diarrhea soon I’m sure of it. What is worthwhile? Nothing exactly. Will these journals be published as something worthwhile someday? Are you reading them now? Do you care? Are you interested in everything that happens in the life of the character ‘Grant Maierhofer’ probably not but that’s quite alright neither am I. I love storytelling. No I don’t. I love fantasy, yes I do. I guess I do. Can one approach the creation of an entire class of men and language like Tolkien with the same perversity of fantasizing about fucking the girl running the cash register at a grocery story? I certainly hope so. Fantasy is one word that connects both of these things and that has to be worth something. Something has to be worth something. Try to make videos and maybe something will come of that. Try to paint pictures and maybe something will come of that. Try to write poetry. Try to write an album. Try to do absolutely everything all at once and you’ll probably get somewhere innovative and original and what the fuck will it all matter when you’re dead or in prison anyway? What will prisons look like in the year 3000?
Today is thanksgiving day. I don’t feel thankful for much, is that alright? I don’t want to sit here and give you some massive list of halfway accomplishments that I’m not proud of anyway and people in my life that I’m happy to have around because I’m not happy and there’s nobody around. Family, but that’s a given, that’s always a given. I’ve sent copies of journals to various people. I’ve sent stories to various people. I’m always doing things like that. Last night I was up until 7 30 in the morning and I actually spoke with this gay guy from Columbia College and we kind of had phone sex which was weird. I guess I’m bisexual but I don’t really like that. I don’t know that I could date a guy but then maybe I could. Kil also texted me to today and we both masturbated texting each other. God. I’m pretty fucked up I guess. Not because of the gay stuff. I don’t think gay people are fucked up, I think that’s something I used to think that I’ve had to wipe from my mind. I feel fucked up because of the Kil stuff and the depression and everything else it all just makes me feel insane. I want to stay up late again tonight but I know I shouldn’t. I want to write more or write less or write something infinitely more substantial than these long ambling paragraphs. Ted Hughes spoke about the downside of writing on a word processor being such an immediate connection between your thoughts and your words written out and hence there’s no real thought at all, just constant streaming motion towards the screen. Maybe that’s what Capote meant regarding Jack Kerouac but I hate Jack Kerouac and don’t find Capote all that impressive so that’s a terrible example to call to mind. I’m listening to Erik Satie, I guess. I just took a shit. I’m drinking Diet Coke poured into a glass with ice. I just read a portion of an essay on fiction by Alain Robbe-Grillet while I took a shit and then read a page or so more of the Writer’s Chapbook—a collection of essays created with Paris Review interviews, basically. I don’t feel alive anymore. I feel dead. Is that OK? I feel dead. I need to die. I need to hurt myself or throw myself from something. My writing is all shit. I am shit. I am complete shit. I would like to die. Can I die? Why are people so prohibited from killing themselves? Fuck this. Fuck you. I love you. Bye.
My mother. She was in New York in the 60s, she looked exactly like Mary Tyler Moore. Dressed in a black dress. Everyone was standing around looking at her spin, with a big cigarette in her mouth. She just smiled and threw her hat into the air as she ran, frantic, through the city. Nobody could intrude on her day. She went to Fifth Avenue and bought all the things she could never afford. She smiled at homeless women as she threw them bags from Tiffany’s, and Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s, knowing she wouldn’t need them because that smile and that black dress was all a woman truly needed. She stood in awe at the foot of the Empire State Building, enamored by the couples walking out hand-in-hand, dreaming of George Pappard and Audrey Hepburn. She always wanted to be Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s She liked to fly and smoke and drink and manipulate as much as she wanted to trust love in all of the world, and that was her paradox as She flew down Broadway, a simple purse in her hand, her cigarette clenched between California Red lipstick. She stopped at the Hudson River, smiling back at me, knowing that I was her boy, her perfect little jewel, and that someday I would bring her back here, and it would be as good as the 60s fashion she so loved. And she was a nurse, and she was blatant poetry and could take care of all of her little brothers and sisters, even as she ran down the streets of Manhattan, with such vigor to find the remnants of the old time Cotton Club in Harlem to hear the voice of Billie Holiday and the piano of Duke Ellington and the Count and even though she ran through streets of Civil Protest she did it with such grace and with such a particular smile and look in her eyes that no one questioned her. She was the American woman, Hank Williams playing calmly from the same stage as the Rolling Stones, or Jefferson Airplane, at Altamont, and the Hell’s Angels didn’t fight but moved with the entire crowd and said FUCK YOU to war and FUCK YOU to the man and Hunter Thompson and Tom Wolfe and Mark Twain wrote about the whole thing while a fire burned in the hearth out in Woody Creek or Bunker Hill. My mother was all of it. The mother to the entire generation; she was the caretaker to the ships full of wounded spirits and confused teens, feeding us smiles and happy thoughts. She held out her hands in front of Madison Square Garden, screaming at the top of her lungs that she didn’t care who won or lost but that she would be at CBGB’s through the 80s and that seeing Iggy Pop meant just as much to her as seeing Gloria Steinem burn the bras of a thousand lost little girls. And eventually it was just her face, in the glow of Times Square and all of the lights, and it’s Christmas in Central Park, and Autumn in New York, and New Year’s in the Sea of People, and she’s smiling through all of it, blissful as she spins in frantic circles in her black dress. My smiling mother, the veritable face of immortality and meaning.
Henry is lonely. Trapped in the middle of nowhere he writes. A friend or two gives his life color. Yet the overall hues of his life appear to be relatively gray. For a while he simply exists. Observations of what occurs abound. Rather than take out the small pieces of life they are included and even celebrated. Going on a trip has a way of bringing out Henry’s most anti-social side. While lonely, he is not that lonely, not lonely enough to interact with individuals who are rather wretched or aggravating. In a way he is able to temper some of his disappointment with humanity. By picking and choosing who to interact with he saves himself quite a bit of disappointment.
Deep in the middle of somewhere that worldview is transformed. Nobody is ever truly alone in a giant city. In the light-filled bustling metropolis everything is happening. Henry is able to find peace among this hyperactivity. While everyone around Henry simply goes about their average days he becomes one with the city. The romantic qualities of being in a new place seem to overwhelm him. Originally sent as part of a greater group talking about journalism he becomes completely disinterested in what most of the speakers have to actually say. Unlike his fellow group mates who create great big plans, Henry wanders around fairly aimlessly.
The aimlessness of the city is one of its greatest benefits. In many ways the city provides Henry with a vacation from his mind. Henry has been living inside of his own head for so long that anything that breaks apart the monotony is greatly appreciated. Welcoming the new change Henry’s demeanor begins to change. Interestingly the reminders of his past life, the one left back in his middle of nowhere, irk him the most. Going out of his way to avoid them he manages to make friends and connect with people in a completely honest way.
An outsider view of the city prevails. Positivity is emphasized heavily. Eventually this positivity begins to influence his outlook on life. Happy he tries to share this with everyone he meets, whether they are a basic worker, a person on a subway, or someone playing guitar in Central Park. Whoever they are Henry is able to see them for their hope, for what they will become rather than what they currently are. Part of his depression comes from feeling stuck, trapped in the Midwest. Seeing there are others like him gives him hope that one day he might escape it all and finally realize who he can be instead of who he is.
50 Thoughts Upon Receipt of Another Rejection Email
1. I began submitting my novel, The Persistence of Crows, when it was a 120,000-word manuscript including incessant details about the main character, Henry Alfi’s, life. It has now been pared down exactly 50% and is a 60,000-word manuscript and if most lit agents/publishers are any indicator, it’s still rotten.
2. In that time I’ve had Mononucleosis twice (is that supposed to be able to happen?) Bedbugs once, and roughly seven separate sexual partners of varying degrees of seriousness.
3. I wrote the book hoping to emulate someone like John Fante or even J.D. Salinger although the earnestness of the prose has left significantly with those extra 60,000 words. Now I don’t think I hope to emulate anybody.
4, Several people within the story’s framework that ‘exist’ in real life as well—more or less—have since writing it changed their lives considerably and got married/moved away/received emails from me stating simply ‘I HATE YOU.’
5. I have no idea whether or not I still care about the story at all, but I keep submitting it. What the hell is wrong with me?
6. I wrote the book in my father’s basement when I was nineteen years old. I think that’s part of it. (see 7, 8, and 9)
7. When you create something so steeped in both personal experiences and that nostalgic Salingerian tone it feels like as an author you’re doomed to submit it forever or until you’ve written something eons better.
8. I’ve written something better and because of its tenuous grasp on reality/outright flagrant sexual perversion I’m holding off on submitting it until all bets are off.
9. Perhaps I continue to be dragged along rock bottom by editors and agents willing to briefly hold discourse regarding the work while not technically being willing to ‘take a risk’ on it.
10. I wrote the book on a Brother GX-6750 typewriter and it came to roughly 160 typewritten pages. I then transcribed it in its entirety (adding where I saw fit) onto an Acer netbook and found an editor for the book. She agreed to work on it pro bono at first and we could figure out financials later. I think in the end I gave her $300 or so for notes throughout the entire book with corrections and an overall analysis both physically and via several telephone conversations. She mailed me the book with her revisions after a month or so and when I received it I set it on the floor in a cedar closet in my basement and urinated all over it, opening pages to thoroughly everything because I felt so frightened to be ‘too influenced’ by someone else’s insights regarding my book. I could still read everything she wrote, and took much of it into consideration, but I vowed the moment I received the manuscript in the mail that anybody wanting to read the book as it then was would have to do so risking the smell of my piss on their hands for several hours. Of all the things regarding The Persistence of Crows I think I regret this least.
11. While reading the book over again I listened to a great deal of early Patti Smith and The Velvet Underground and this likely affected the characters a great deal. I think about this sort of thing often; even going so far as to try and listen to a particular artist or composer while writing certain things for some desired effect.
12. From the writing of that first draft to now I think I’ve read some 150 books that have likely directly impacted any decisions within the novel to such a degree that I’d have a hell of a time trying to mull through it once more to completion.
13. I wonder about the editorial process of many writers. This has taken several complete rewrites, and a final mulling over where I was simply hacking away passages with a maniacal grin one night listening to Mozart.
14. I think of Zachary German in that ‘Shitty Youth’ documentary saying “I think it sucks,” regarding his first book and I feel slightly consoled.
15. I wrote one book before this that rounded out to about 49,000 words and was about a kid in high school whose father dies, etc.
16. Will Self said that every first literary effort is an act of parricide. In this regard, he was absolutely correct.
17. A great deal of films have influenced the writing of this second book. One in particular—Jaws—has had the oddest effect, I’d argue. What I mean by that is that a primary character in Jaws, Quint, is played by an actor named Robert Shaw, who actually wrote several novels in his lifetime and they aren’t half bad. While I was rewriting the passages in the novel that discuss this film and Roy Scheider’s acting I realized I wanted to read them and before doing so I’d already decided they’d be an influence on me.
18. I wonder about that. Is it alright to decide something’s going to influence you before you pick it up? I’m not quite sure. It seems fraught with bad-fucking-vibes and I don’t think I like it very much.
19. After writing The Persistence of Crows I wrote an increasingly more bitter and fucked up novel called Shadows to the Light that, as I said, isn’t quite ready to be discussed or read by anybody; but it’s quite reassuring to know it exists. It was the first book I wrote on a computer and hence looking at the ‘word count’ undoubtedly warped the style of writing; but all the same, I think it’ll be pretty fucking good when it’s finished.
20. I’ve taken to doing strange things now, like sending copies of my journals to Dennis Cooper, or emailing random excerpts to Tao Lin. I don’t know why I do this.
21. I think I do this because I’m sick of the vast, robotic pit of nausea and indecision that is the publishing world and the ‘submission process’ and at least this way I’m getting a ‘strange’ reaction rather than a mechanized one.
22. Dennis Cooper is one of the authors I discovered after the writing of this manuscript and of course I wonder what the book would be like if this weren’t the case, wouldn’t you?
23. I write a column for the website Delphian Inc., and I’ve published excerpts there, which makes me feel a little better, but all the same, submitting your writing is fucking bullshit.
24. I know there are longer pieces by authors upon acceptance of their work describing the arduous days before the first ‘yes’ but fuck that. For once I think it prudent to have things told from the other side so people can realize that they 1. Aren’t alone and 2. Aren’t naïve lunatics for still retaining some hope that a ‘yes’ might be out there. Maybe the pieces by authors upon acceptance get to this to a small degree but I always find them pedantic and unsavory.
25. “He can be pedantic. He can be pedantic.” – Costanza
26. F. Scott Fitzgerald talks about having a pile of rejection letters three inches thick, and the book he wrote that finally was accepted—This Side of Paradise—isn’t even that fucking good in the grand scheme of things. Don’t give up, you bastards, don’t give up.
27. Publishing is certainly changing/has changed, and for a time my book was available via Amazon’s KDP program like most aspiring writers today, but I don’t think that has to be the case. I think I’m doomed to be old-fashioned in the sense that if I’m going to self-publish I’ll have to go headlong into it and publish chapbooks handmade and ship them out myself.
28. Rather than watch a lecture about Elizabeth Gilbert and how ‘positive thinking’ can make things a reality for you I recommend—in the miserable weeks/months/years before your work is accepted and you can eke out a living—you search for kindred miserable spirits. We all know that writers like Gilbert struggled about as much as a small fit of diarrhea to reach their level of ‘literature’ and the result was hardly on par with the works of those bastards who did it until it killed them. Pick sides early on, and choose the side filled with hunched over Russians with disgusting beards/scents and long sprawling books about anarchist cells and religious zealotry. Trust me.
29. Q: How the fuck can I even say this shit? What the fuck have I done to prove I have the first clue regarding publishing and literature when I haven’t been fucking published?
30. A: I think it’s rather like I’ve been thrust into the woods for three years and instead of being given praise or accolades for figuring out what the fuck berries I can eat or trees I can live beneath without being woken up by bears every morning the accolade is learning about and knowing those things themselves. I’m OK with this for the most part, but I haven’t given up hope.
31. I’m 22 years old now. I’ve had short fiction published. I’ve put out chapbooks. And I’ve written a pissload of reviews/etc. for HTMLGIANT in a rather short amount of time. I haven’t given up hope.
32. College is a logical diversion for a writer. I don’t see this as a bad thing. If you can devote yourself to serious hours of study and not lose too much money in the process I highly recommend this diversion. Take your time. Become a goddamn professor if you want to. It’s either that, or work some job and go the Melville route. Either way you’re probably fine, just don’t lose sight of shit and remember to occasionally stay up all night watching Pasolini movies.
33. Cull influence from every-fucking-where. Be it film, books, wall art, floor art, biographies, pornography, cereal, TV, Philip Roth, DFW, a fucking shoestore, saying ‘Mark Ruffalo’ over and over to fall asleep and realizing you’re not the same as every other asshole. WHATEVER. Just seek out influences that matter to you and learn every fucking thing you can about them.
34. I’ve since reread my novel many times, and I understand where it currently sits. I’m comfortable still occasionally sending it out to small presses that I admire with the hope and understanding that it might be accepted and worked with if I’m not a complete shithead about it. I like the book. I like Henry Alfi and I like the earnest dickhead I was when I wrote it. I wouldn’t write the same book again and I think that’s significant.
35. Art matters, much more than people think; especially artists.
36. Realize that this period in your life is natural and must be worked with as opposed to worked against. You are trying to cultivate an entire career as an artist in an age that would just as soon tell you to fuck off and keep looking for GIFs from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ or something. It’s going to be fucking difficult. But in the end you get to join the pantheon of those aforementioned influences and your life will no longer suck completely. If it does you’ll kill yourself which is acceptable as well, because what fundamentally matters is the work.
37. I’m not saying kill yourself, fuck face. I’m just saying that if it pushes you to that don’t reject art in general. Maybe work on the ‘not killing yourself’ thing for a few months and come back to literature. It’s not going anywhere. If you’re dedicated enough a few suicidal thoughts are worth the creation of something that no one else could’ve dreamed up.
38. Dreamed V. Dreamt. I always side with dreamt.
39. Use bullshit lists like this to figure out what the fuck you think about certain things. I’m almost done with mine and it’s actually working, I think.
40. My book—as a Kindle E-book—was reviewed by a gal who works for the ‘Kindle Book Review’ and it was acknowledged as a semi-finalist in ‘literary fiction’ for book of the year or some shit. I don’t really take that to heart. I take the second half of this with a rather lofty cup of salt, but the first part—her review—was honest and got to some serious things I was trying to do within the book. That shit matters/mattered, and it probably kept me from destroying every copy of it several times.
41. I often write destroying as ‘destorying’ and feel like that might as well be a word too.
42. When I was sixteen or so I wrote a manuscript of poetry and sent it to tons of places until my friends noted that I said ‘mind as well’ instead of ‘might as well’ and I realized I don’t know the first fucking thing about literature.
43. I still don’t.
44. Norman Mailer fighting Rip Torn on a hillside during the filming of ‘Maidstone’.
45. Tao Lin writes a numerated biography and makes me realize I can’t be fucking up so horribly.
46. One night I paint the entire left side of my body purple with spraypaint and take a shower with a copy of War and Peace because I don’t feel up to reading it just yet. I masturbate into the center pages of the book as it plumps up with water and afterwards I close it, stand on top of it and shower with the water spraying at my chest instead of my forehead because of the extra height the book has given me.
47. The urine-soaked copy of The Persistence of Crows no longer exists and I do not await its return.
48. I threw it into a dumpster in Chicago in the dead of winter (death of winter) and will never see it again.
49. 120,000 words seems like a lot but don’t believe the hype, it isn’t.
the first pages from ‘The Persistence of Crows’ that i cut out of the final draft, for free by Grant Maierhofer
‘The Persistence of Crows’ is a book about a trip to New York City. Grant Maierhofer does a good job of showing the outsider perspective of the Big Apple, from the magic of the subway to simply meeting a guitar player. Over the course of that book the main character appears to become considerably happier with his life before the cycle completes.
With these few pages Grant Maierhofer gets intensely into Henry Alfi’s backstory. In the original book the introduction is a bit of a cold open. This is both literal (a cold Midwest) and figurative (Henry Alfi does not reveal much about his background until much later in the book). By introducing these first few pages Grant Maierhofer grants the reader a few additional characters to root for and care about.
Family life is explored in full. Aspects of this are done through his interactions with his sister that tend to reveal his childhood, growing up with her, and what they share. His history is explained. Many of the moments go over the past rather than the future of what his future holds. ‘New York’ is mentioned but only briefly. Grant Maierhofer has the flashback reign supreme over everything. The sister is a good choice as she shows how Henry could have eventually turned out (better adjusted but still fragile) rather than Henry’s less ideal situation that appears tenuous at best.
Henry’s father is the warmest aspect of the entire thing. It is wonderful. The relationship Henry has with his father indicates a simultaneous sense of worry and joy. No parent ever really knows what will happen to their child, what will interest them. Showing off the relationship means Henry and his father did have a serious moment. How the moment builds is equally interesting as Grant Maierhofer alludes to a great deal of pessimism Henry has with the world.
Yet that pessimism does seem to evaporate. Ultimately Henry, for all of his brooding, comes across as a rare breed of pessimistic idealist, especially in these few pages. He sees the beauty in the world that others don’t because they focus too much on the positive. Music of rainstorms makes him happy. Sad people make him happy because he sees how they can be, the beauty that they still possess. Even when it comes to his kind of water, the bubbling kind, he is aware of what makes him happy. The little things bring him together to give him meaning. Experiences like those he had with his dad in Chicago are the affirmations he needs to keep on moving forward into the future. The past can be a very reassuring thing sometimes.
We place restrictions on love because it never existed. Likewise art
regimented by currency does nothing but trend. All creative output has
been demoted to the same reliant lung work of some pettier currency.
That’s where we stand as conglomerate peoples: likewise and not worth
being. We nametag portions of our quality flaked against time like a
drive-by shooting (they won’t allow us to romanticize or revel in
anything selfish these days precisely because everything is selfish) and
say something was achieved. Labor for the tap dancing void. We dug our
crimes a hole and the climate took a snifter of us with it. At least our
measles have a niche, cave wall slash that cries fuck procession. No,
in no way will we muster a blip. There’s too many of us. There were too
many of us before we were mammals. Let’s die sentence one, scratch out
our legacy either with minor voices, innovation, or general meanness. A
message to this book is: if you want to write, begin by sucking an
You can’t call someone immature just because they’re living out their
abortion. A somnolent amount of Victorian adulthood stacks the novel.
Maierhofer has committed a great atrocity against homeownership by
displaying affection for shit you can’t truly buy. Meaning a book, not
the humdrum commerce of infants being had. A book is only ever in a
container until it rots your thought. A baby is a thing that suffers
land. The worst part isn’t everybody bows to money. I’m Irish enough to
be practically half awake. It’s that they’ve fashioned money into a
couth plasmatic akin with manhood. Age or status are not abstract nouns
to be enforced. You have to smile in the meantime, have to take pride or
they lock you up. You have to stone your medium life across the less
productive or you’re not a citizen. Orphan others by the bank account or
be stuck in a teenhood caste will smite. Then you can stand refined by
the self-aware futility of your gameplay and create pariahs on the
phone, the poses you can’t fess up to, sneering in each profile.