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Masturbating Over Ghosts

"Slow Slidings" bills itself as a book that should be filed in stores under “Architecture / Bodies or Objects / Landscape,” but you could just as easily find it in “Haunted Death Sex / Sadist VHS Mystery / Wet Nightmares for Freaks.” Taking equal cues...

Slow Slidings bills itself as a book that should be filed in stores under “Architecture / Bodies or Objects / Landscape,” but you could just as easily find it in “Haunted Death Sex / Sadist VHS Mystery / Wet Nightmares for Freaks.” Taking equal cues from messed up foreign psychological horror films, paranormal photography, and the French—the new book M. Kitchell has assembled bends both the face and ass of the American novel. If you get turned on from being weirded out about being murdered, you just might touch yourself while reading it.

VICE: This book is fucked. What the fuck is it?
M. Kitchell: It's the combination of an exercise in hyperstition with the narrative of my own desire and obsessions and desperate need for architecture and dead gods and floating and the beach and the ocean and pain and terror and desperation itself. It's my desperate need for desperation. It's my love letter to the void. I mean, everything is. It's my love letter to the impossible. It's a love letter to Georges Bataille and Alain Robbe-Grillet and every work of art that's ever made me want to die in pure white light. It's a collection of 12—initially it was 13, but I decided the 13th should be absent as a sort of conceptual move, as Nick Land says, "zero is immense"—texts that are ultimately part of the same grand narrative. The narrative of the text, in the book as a whole, never bothers itself with anything other than what I, as an obsessive human person body meat, am obsessed with. It's a book. It's my mode of rewriting eurohorror and the French eros-driven fantastique fiction of the 70s and early 80s to make it something I could personally get off to. Or something.

I can feel the influence of weird-ass cinema when I'm reading this. What films got into you when you were writing, or getting ready to write?
I was obsessed with cinema before I was ever obsessed with books. I've basically been obsessed with eurohorror since the age of 13, which led to everything that has become a part of me. I pretty quickly moved beyond the obvious greats like Argento and Bava and Fulci (though don't get me wrong, Fulci, specifically, holds a very special place in my heart) and into the weird shit like Renato Polselli and Alberto Cavallone and more experimental shit that's filled with terror like Frans Zwartjes and Paul Sharits. There's also this Alain Fleischer movie called Zoo Zero that stars Klaus Kinski and Catherine Jourdan, who is in Robbe-Grillet's Eden and After, and it's kind of perfect in the same way that Jean Rollin's Night of the Hunter is, but with a completely different iciness. It has the sort of iciness that I want present in my work.  There are all these great movies out there that are so fucked up, but thanks to the internet they are finally being rescued and people are watching them. It's this incredible absent world of fantastique terror-filled sex narratives that are better than anything else. I mean, these movies reach beyond perfect and become so impossible. Also, more recently, the films of Andrzej Zulawski and Philippe Grandrieux played a major role in inspiring the texts in my book. Trying to translate the moves of perfect fucked-up cinema into text is both impossible and necessary.

Why are so many people shitty at writing about sex and how do you go beyond that?
I think there are a lot of answers to this. And it's possible that all of the answers I have to this question will make me sound like an asshole. First of all, I think in terms of a sort of oblique obsession with realism. It seems like most people are probably having really boring and shitty sex, maybe they don't even know it, and then they try to "realistically" represent that shitty sex. This probably results in boring shitty sex writing. Up until last year, I never had bad sex. The concept was so alien to me that when it finally happened it was like passing a kidney stone. It was painful and boring and really just made me wish I was at home asleep. I think avoiding bad sex makes you a better writer. Also, writing "realistic" sex seems fucked up to me. If you want "realistic sex," you should either just have some normal and/or boring sex or just watch vanilla porn. The thing about words is that you can do whatever you want with them and there are literally no constraints. So when I end a sex scene with somebody breaking down in tears and floating into the sky and realizing that they're God, I'm not worried that most people can't actually levitate. I think to go beyond writing shitty sex you have to give yourself total freedom and just let your desire run infinitely over the edge of the precipice.

Bernard Noel was this French writer who was a fairly respected poet among the intelligentsia and shit and then he published a pseudonymous novel called Castle of the Communion, which involves getting fucked by dogs and the sun and a secret chateau on an island and weird star cults and it's completely blasphemous and far more exciting than the de facto perv of literary history (Sade), but it's also smart. Dude knew that metaphor is kind of inherently boring, but realized that symbolic sex can be stimulating on multiple planes. Sex writing that does more than show sex I think is another key.

Do you think about where you are when you are writing?
I write best when I feel like I'm outside of my body. I don't want to say that it's like some metaphysical trance-state or whatever, but it sort of is. I wrote most of Slow Slidings either in my bedroom in the small shitty town I used to live in or on the university computer at my old job in the small shitty town I used to live in. The only way to make things work, especially being as architecturally obsessed as I am, was to forget where I was, to refuse my location. 90 percent of each of the texts in the book was written in a single sitting, because it had to be. I had to fugue-out my body and come back when the text was done. Sometimes this would mean fuguing-out for half a day or other times for like 20 minutes. I have this fantasy that if I were to discover some magickal location that fits all of my obsessions, all I'll have to do is be in that space and then words will just spit. But maybe I'm completely wrong.

Do you really think you are going to die in the ocean or are you being hyperbolic? What is hyperbole?
I will either die in the ocean or the desert or I will stand alone inside of either and just let time go by. But right now, I don't believe in the future, so I can't decide what I was ever thinking. Also sometimes I think I might already be dead, so it's not hyperbole. It's just a lie. I'm making spooky ghost sounds right now. I can't wait to have sex that involves me floating in the air. I think drowning would be so terrible and romantic at the same time. Thinking about my body filling up with something, anything, it's like some endless void that's spilling into you. I'd also consider throwing my body into a volcano. That would have the same sense of sublimity without being as prolonged. But what's death amount to without an experience? I don't know what the fuck death means anymore. A lot of my friends have died. When my publishing bio used to be "one day he will die in the ocean," I thought it was so perfect. But when I found out my childhood neighbor, who was the same age as me, actually died in the ocean, I felt a little fucked up about it. Especially with my propensity to actually write reality. I guess I've sort of reneged on that phantasy.

I think hyperbole is like a post-ironic obsession with excess.

Below are eight pages from Slow Slidings’s "Cinema / Television / Passion" section:

Slow Slidings is available now from Blue Square Press.

@blakebutler