In this episode we get to hang out with publisher and mad genius Giancarlo DiTrapano of Tyrant Books. We rap about almost everything anyone would ever want to talk about—growing up weird, finding one’s self, the publishing industry, cluster headaches and miracle cures, psilocybin, West Virginia, dogs, and love in its many varied and wonderful forms. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did in making it. Giancarlo is love.
This will be the last episode of Almost Live at Mellow Pages for the next while. In doing this show, we’ve been able to spend a lot of time getting to know writers/publishers/editors we really love and wanted to speak to, and the common thread throughout has been putting in time and work. Both Eric and myself have books coming out in 2015, and we realize we both have some of our own work to get down to doing. We hope you’ve enjoyed this run of shows, and we hope to be back sooner rather than later.
BLVR: Do you think language is a fundamentally human product? Or does it exist outside of people and somehow create them?
BB: I think language is a system that we have devised to negotiate a series of more amorphous entities. It’s a layer you can use to see where those things exist, but if you don’t have anyone speaking anymore, those things are still there. The things that language stands for do not require humans, and in fact are often trampled down by humans.
BLVR: Your language has a quality of invocation: rather than describing things, even fantastical things, it’s causing those things to be. I think that’s part of why it’s difficult and also really exciting.
BB: That’s always been my goal as a writer. It’s not that I’m an escapist, but the value of language is that it can create places that did not exist before. And so language for me doesn’t reflect the world, it extends the world, so that it becomes larger and more fantastic and less mired in this school shooting bullshit. It actually builds a future—that’s how evolution occurs.
I reached into my pockets and pulled out the teeth I’d removed from the girl’s head shaped like my mother’s and showed them to everybody. These are Darrel’s teeth, I said. Darrel no longer requires food to make his flesh. We are his mouths; he is our house. I put the girl’s teeth shaped like my mother’s teeth into my own mouth and on her teeth I chewed until I heard my own teeth in my head breaking and I swallowed and I smiled.
Soames removed the cigarette from his mouth and dropped it into his glass of Sauterne.
"Soames!" again I cried. "Can’t you"—but the devil had now stretched forth his hand across the table. He brought it slowly down on the table cloth. Soames’s chair was empty. His cigarette floated sodden in his wine glass. There was no other trace of him.
For a few moments the devil let his hand rest where it lay, gazing at me out of the corner of his eyes, vulgarly triumphant.
Sir Max Beerbohm
I asked [Tolstoy]: “Do you agree with Poznyshiev [in ‘Kreutzer Sonata’] when he says that doctors have destroyed and are destroying thousands and hundreds of thousands of people?”
"Are you very anxious to know?"
"Then I shan’t tell you."
And he smiled, playing with his thumbs.