“I’m not sure what I’m after besides writing the best book I think I can write and having a feeling inside me that I’m taking a risk or trying new things from book to book. Style equals personality and you have to strip away the bulk of your influences to dig out the you and place it on the page. And that includes your flaws too. I think I’ve made so many mistakes in my books, but that makes me proud. It feels real and human. The style and logic and images don’t have to always be clean and flawless because clean and flawless can also put you to bed. A lot of the old books I love—and even old music—are full of imperfections or a certain kind of raw quality, and that’s what makes it.”
“The aesthetic of brokenness, of jarring incompleteness, stands against the perfection of Water Lillies, or Brundage’s father’s last “empty” paintings of a field, where his own ashes are scattered after his death. It’s an homage to the jagged aesthetic of underground music itself, a tradition that stretches back past the Sex Pistols to the Dadaists. But this also implies a more fundamental view of how artists keep creating. By the end of the novel, Brundage accepts that there is nothing to be hoped for except this incompleteness, and the possibility it creates for more work, for more possibilities: “I cannot begin to understand what it is to feel the weight of the work drop away and be unable to retrieve it … I cannot understand it, I do not want to understand it.” In the work of art itself, Brundage says, we “salvage what we can” — echoing T.S. Eliot: “These fragments I have shored up against my ruins” — a paradoxical act, an act of rebellion against both loss and permanence.”
“Unfortunately, casinos have introduced gross amounts of social injustice in the form of tribal disenrollment. That’s when a tribe changes its criteria for membership and subsequently kicks people out of the tribe. Can you imagine? You spend your whole life on a reservation, and one day someone comes and tells you that you have to leave because you’re not a member of the tribe anymore? And it’s more than just being kicked out: you’re stripped of your identity, what makes you you. In California, a tribe kicked out an old woman, a tribal elder, who was one of the few people left who still spoke the language! It’s a big problem in many tribal communities, especially the smaller ones, which are essentially clans. What’s to stop someone who presides over the tribal council that your family had a beef with a decade ago from kicking you out? Sadly, very little. In the story of scarcity versus surplus, surplus almost always leads to corruption. It’s no different on the rez than it is in the rest of the world.”
“Mood Indigo is like watching the death of imagination through the colorful lens of a fast-paced, surreal love story.”
Rehearsals ran late.
and I couldn’t comprehend”
Rehearsals ran late.
Night swayed on its green stem
and I couldn’t comprehend
we’d ever be clipped from it.
“My copy of Catherine Lacey’s debut novel is dog-eared to the degree of making all those folded corners pointless. The book is one large dog-eared page, because you don’t have to flip far to find sentences and sentiments that make you pause and stare at the words, those simple marvels, and emit the sort of soft “oh” that usually comes after finishing a poem.”
“Kerouac has never been one of my literary heroes, but I confess to some magic here. Time and space—no greater gift exists for a writer, but I believe it’s this specific place. Kerouac’s Underwood typewriter sits on a built-in shelf, his books cram the bookcases. A triptych of him typing in the very same bedroom hangs above the single bed, a close-up by the washing machine. He and Neal Cassady stare down at me from above the living room mantle, the two in front of City Lights. When I work in the study, Jack is always behind my back, another large sketch of him on the wall. In short, it’s impossible to forget whose house I’m in.”
“When she is feeling despairing, she goes to eddies at the mouth of the river and tries to comb the water apart with her fingers. The Straightfoward Mermaid has already said to five sailors, “Look, I don’t think this is going to work,” before sinking like a sullen stone. She’s supposed to teach Rock Impersonation to the younger mermaids, but every beach field trip devolves into them trying to find shells to match their tail scales. They really love braiding.”