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One Way of Saying What There Is No Year is About
Early on in the novel, the family finds another family living in their house, "An exact copy of their family — a copy father, mother, and son. [...] Their copy skin felt like our skin. Their copy hearts beat at their chests." Later, the mailbox starts filling up with multicolored caterpillars, "The critters fell and wiggled on the concrete. There were hundreds of them stuffed inside the mailbox. There was no room for the mail." At the center of the novel is a box within a box within a box (and so on), each growing progressively larger than the initial box until "the center bloomed — bloomed out into a light — a light as large as many rooms." There is something very wrong in the house.
Butler's prose offers no explanations for these or any other incidents in the book; they are described in much the same tone that he lends to passages about driving to work or watching television. You could say that he's brought the logic of the Internet to bear on the physical world: where we have copies of ourselves existing alongside ourselves, where we are ceaselessly, uselessly cleaning our mailboxes, and where light can emit a world impossibly larger than the thing containing it.
An Attempt At Describing There Is No Year In Referential Terms
If Gertrude Stein wrote the script for a Kenneth Anger film set inside of a Norman Rockwell painting to be produced for YouTube with a John Cage soundtrack.
An Example of How Boxes Work
It is generally accepted that a box can only contain something smaller than itself. Basic geometry teaches us formulas to better understand this concept, but math is not really necessary for comprehension. Just try to put your refrigerator in your oven and you'll understand. The box we call a computer follows a different set of rules. You can open it and open it and keep opening boxes inside of it and the light will show you volumes that exceed the volume of the computer box.
This box contains the Internet Butler; contains Butler erratically shaving in a bathroom with aquamarine walls and speaking to a video camera: "I cut my neck right there. I'm not very good at this"; contains a college student burning a copy of Scorch Atlas while saying, "There is nothing honorable, nothing likable, nothing anything that anyone could look up to in your novel"; contains Dennis Cooper's blog, where the experimental fiction icon has been copying and pasting videos of Butler and excerpts of Butler and quotes from Butler; contains author and former HTMLGiant contributor Justin Taylor saying, "I have no idea what I'd say about Blake's book — it kind of stumped me, to be honest"; contains an interview on Bookslut in which Butler says, "I had these feelings of wishing I had a real baby I could hold in my hand and crush [...] Writing has only ever been the only way I could beat the fuck out of the child in my mind and actually do it and actually do it and not have hurt anyone but myself"; contains the iconoclastic, minimalist novelist Tao Lin writing from New York to say, "In person Blake has been a calming, fun, kind presence"; contains Lin, Butler, Taylor, and others drinking pink smoothies and holding cameras in a kitchen while Butler screeches, "This is like the deleted scene in Pulp Fiction."
The box contains other things, like the founding documents of Scientology, and a man with his face obscured stroking an erect penis, and the complete recordings of Talking Heads, and a soldier in Afghanistan posing with the body of a farmer he just murdered like a prize buck, and everything published in the New Yorker ever, but why go on about it? This is not news to anyone. We carry all of these things on our cell phones and keep all of these things on our desk and bring all of these things into our homes and it doesn't bother us because we can keep it all inside of a box within a box within a box. We can say that outside the box is real and inside the box is not real.
Blake Butler On Realism
"Going to the grocery doesn't feel like going to the grocery to me. It feels like being attacked by dogs. I think all things are real, except for maybe what's considered real, realism. Anytime people try to confine life to this A-to-B story, that's just not how it feels, at all. Even if the action is A-to-B. Everything is bigger than those things."
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
When will you be accepting applicants for the 2014 competition?
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