"To me, a mystery is like a magnet. Whenever there is something that’s unknown, it has a pull to it. If you were in a room and there was an open doorway, and stairs going down and the light just fell away, you’d be very tempted to go down there. When you only see a part, it’s even stronger than seeing the whole. The whole might have a logic, but out of its context, the fragment takes on a tremendous value of abstraction. It can become an obsession." — David Lynch
Artist and illustrator Joey Spiotto, aka Joebot (previously featured here and here), has a solo exhibition of over 50 of his awesome pop culture properties reimagined as children’s book covers, entitled Storytime, opening this Friday, August 1st at Gallery 1988 (East) in Los Angeles.
- The Reading Room: How does it feel to have the novel back out in the public eye (with a striking new cover!) for a generation of readers who perhaps missed it the first time?
- James Sallis: Well, considering that almost everyone seems to have missed it the first time, it feels great. Tremendous. The book’s had a tiny group of ardent fans over the years, was even optioned for some time, but it more or less remained among the good dishes you don’t bring out often.
- RR: Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a particular routine – things that you prefer to have in place – or is it more of a free for all? And has it changed over the years?
- Sallis: The thing I have “to have in place” is butt in chair, and that’s definitely become more difficult over the years. No more three- and four-hour writing jags; I can’t sit for more than forty minutes or so before I’m up, wandering about the house, reaching for a mandolin or guitar. There’s a lot more wandering about in the story itself, too: rummaging, poking it with sticks, seeing what comes to the top.
- RR: What needs to happen on page one of a novel to make for a successful book that urges you to read on?
- Sallis: The writer must lean close to me and whisper “I have something important to tell you.”
“ Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. But the realism is merely a mask for depression’s actual essence, which is an overwhelming estrangement from humanity. The more persuaded you are of your unique access to the rottenness, the more afraid you become of engaging with the world; and the less you engage with the world, the more perfidiously happy-faced the rest of humanity seems for continuing to engage with it.