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The diarrheic, incomprehensible, foul, ridiculous prose of author Blake Butler 

A portrait of the artist as a young blogger

Page 3 of 4

Things Blake Butler Says About the Internet in Casual Conversation

"Fuck the Internet."

"I fucking hate the Internet."

"Fucking Internet."

Blake Butler Was A Fat Kid Who Liked Computers And Then He Lost Weight And David Foster Wallace Ruined His Chance Of Having A Career In Computer Programming

In the hallway with the quilts, the human Butler points to a framed series of school pictures, his body slowly growing like a balloon each consecutive year. Then, in the second to last picture, his body suddenly deflates and resembles the present Butler. At 16, Butler started running and counting calories. He lost 80 pounds. He still runs five miles every day.

He attended computer camp as a child. He recalls early, fond memories of playing with dot-matrix printers and how this all led to attending Georgia Tech to become a computer programmer. In 2001, he started reading David Foster Wallace, "I was in a review for a test in physics class and I was sitting there reading Infinite Jest instead of listening. My professor walked by and stood there next to me. He didn't say anything to me, but he was talking and standing right next to me and I could tell that he wanted me to pay attention. I got up and left and dropped the class and changed my major that day." This, it seems, is how he makes decisions. Butler wrote the drafts of four unpublished novels over the next two years.

Why Blake Butler Doesn't Write At His Own House In Cabbagetown

"I don't shit where I eat."

"Four Novels I Wrote While Trying To Figure Out What A Novel Is and Realizing Traditional Narrative Isn't Really My Pal" by Blake Butler

The Flood Backwards: About a guy who buys a machine that records his sleep to which he gets addicted and builds a house of TVs and stereos and dies from attaching himself to this machine and not sleeping and turns into human mush that breathes.

The Pupils of an Inflated Giraffe: About two brothers named Elevator and Escalator, one of whom is employed as a human lottery ball on TV and the other who collected mannequins and then starts collecting living human bodies when god tells him to build a vessel out of their house, in which they live with their 450-pound mother who runs a day care in it until she runs off to meet a trucker from a 1-900 who hits it and quits it and then she tries to kill herself with pills and overeating while Elevator tries to find her and bring her home to the house now full of abductees.

Yes I Am Aware That I'm In Hell: A father loses his job and convinces himself and his estranged son that he can get a new job at Disney World so they move there and the son is haunted by this presence in a restroom and the father explores homosexuality with the Disney employees and does drugs while trying to force his way into a job he can't get and yeah.

More Light: A man's wife disappears one night when he comes home to find all the lights in his house on and all the cabinets open but nothing stolen and he spends the next several dozen years looking for her circling the same ground over and over and teaching himself to eat himself.

Why Blake Butler Started Blogging

Tao Lin told him to.

"Trips on the Flop with Junk"

The only time the human Butler seems uncomfortable in conversation is when talking about his job. He writes about poker for an online gambling company, producing short, keyword-heavy copy. Butler started playing poker in college, where he was introduced to a circuit of illegal, underground games operated in disguised apartment buildings at all hours of the night. He says he quit playing when it felt like it was taking over his life. His advice for playing with heavy blinds or loose flops ends up on anonymous-seeming content farms, alongside links for pharmaceuticals and credit tips.

Some Other Ways of Saying What There Is No Year Is About

A third of the way into the book, we're offered a plot summary of a movie that sounds a lot like the book: "There was a family living in a house. There was a father, a mother, and a son. The family all looked tired. Nothing ever really happened. The father drove places and got lost and walked around the house. The mother mostly cleaned and worried. The son would stand and sit and stand. Other scenes showed the family together, going places, though these were rendered in black-and-white," and so on. This is an accurate plot summary of There Is No Year in the same way that "a man walks around Dublin" is an accurate plot summary of Joyce's Ulysses.

Threads of traditional narrative arc through the novel's many chapters — the son has some experiences that resemble a coming-of-age, the father's mind deteriorates, the mother turns inward — but Butler is more tuned into language and affect, tuned into the possibilities that words offer (and fail to offer) us. There Is No Year is, in many ways, about words, the ways we use them to try to make sense of our lives, the ways we can be overwhelmed by and unable to understand them, and the ways we find meaning through their placement on a page or a screen. The book's resolutions, if any, relate to language — the son's attempts at writing, the mother's sexually charged physical communication, the father's complete lapse of coherence.

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