Monsters

Exhibit 1.8.20

New Cupboard

 

MyPhotoofHiggs

Becoming Monster
by Christopher Higgs
63 pages. Tape-bound.
$5.00

Cover and Book Design by Todd Seabrook.

 

An essay in nineteen parts, where writer-critic Christopher Higgs investigates how a monster is not born but formed. What are the circumstances that can turn a person into a monster, and what are the ramifications of becoming one? Scanning art, philosophy, literature, and television, Higgs is on the hunt not just for the world’s monsters, but for the monstrousness that hides in the depths of human nature. Then again: “What do we mean when we say human,” Higgs asks, “and what do we mean when we say nature?” These unstable definitions are as dangerous as any monster hiding in man’s stories. Part treatise, part warning, Becoming Monster is a critical study of the very nature of the grotesque. The Cupboard is thrilled to put the beastly thing in your hands.

 

About the Author
Christopher Higgs wrote The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney (Sator Press) and assembled ONE (Roof Books) in collaboration with Blake Butler and Vanessa Place. Other of his work appears in print and online at The Paris Review, Denver Quarterly, BOMB, AGNI, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Florida, where he curates the critically acclaimed online art gallery Bright Stupid Confetti.

 

Read an excerpt. | Order a copy.

Comment / Posted in Christophers, Monsters, The Cupboard

Exhibit 1.6.6

Teaching Autobiography of Red This Week

Wrote about it when I first read it five years ago here, favorite lines here.

Now my favorite lines might come from the opening translations:

Geryon was a monster everything about him was red
Put his snout out of the covers in the morning it was red
How stiff the red landscape where his cattle scraped against
Their hobbles in the red wind
Burrowed himself down in the red dawn jelly of Geryon’s
Dream

Geryon’s dream began red then slipped out of the vat and ran
Upsail broke silver shot up through his roots like a pup

Secret pup At the end of another red day

1 Comment / Posted in Monsters, Poetry, Red

Exhibit 23.27

Bad Ideas

* Having your Pulitzer Prize winning story collection include an “interview” in the discussion material between the author and the titular character. “Wait, you were following me?” the titular character says and we all die a little.

* Telling the dog that the wind is chasing us Happening style. Well, maybe this isn’t a bad idea, really.

* Writing a boring half of a story to meet the requirements of a class exercise then making a note at the end of the file that says, “Make second half good. Add monsters.”

* Thumbs.

Comment / Posted in Bad Ideas, Monsters, Wind

Exhibit 19.11


I was excited when I got the flier for the Monster Sale until I found out it was really about underware. I mean, I was still pretty excited but I had to change the drawing.

3 Comments / Posted in Drawings, Monsters, Sales

Exhibit 17.4

Stock Photography Review

I did this in the fall, skipped the winter, and am back to do it now that it’s “spring.”

(Ed note: It is not in any way spring. Here’s how cold it is here: there is no coffee in our office, and I can’t make myself walk outside to go find some. For whatever reason, I decided it would be spring when I got back from my last trip and nothing about scraping my windshield every morning or my apartment being 50 degrees is making me change my mind. That’s why I’m wearing these shorts and carrying this kite).

As always, these photos are from the first few pages of results for the relevant words.

Spring is the time we…

…teach our kids about religion.

…finally tell Joey how much he’s disappointing us by not excelling at soccer. Or even understanding the rules. And those capri pants he wears don’t help either. Oh, god, Mary, do think Joey might be, you know? No, no, he can’t be. I’ve seen him talk to that girl in his class, that little Susie Swanson. Oh, god, I think he was telling her where he got his capris. That’s it, Joey’s getting a basketball for Easter and this time I’m not going to let him pick out the sparkliest one.

…get too literal.

…revise our resolutions and decide that, yes, this year we will start running–but for different reasons.

…win it all back from Santa, some debaucherous leprechaun, and, um, a guy dressed up as Wonder Woman? Also, teach our kids even more about religion.

…finally catch who did this to Mr. Floppy. We made a promise to Beatrice, damn it! Do you want to go back and tell her and those 14 kids that the wackjob who did this is still out there? Any one of us could be next. Well, probably not Crazy Peter, the guy who lives in the old knife factory. He’s too crazy. Come on, Officer Cottontail, let’s go talk to Uncle Wiggily. I just don’t trust him.

…learn this isn’t going to end well for Lester and that maybe there really was something going on between him and that chick.

…realize that consuming pints of shaken-up Scope is a drinking problem but not the kind they deal with in AA.

…learn to love (monkeys) again. Hey, wait, is that monkey playing with a detached hand? It must be spring! I’m going to fly this kite all the way to the coffee shop. Thanks, creepy-but-initially-adorable monkey.

Comment / Posted in Monsters, Spring, Stock Photography

Exhibit 15.15

Two Things:

* I have unanswered questions about the movie Baghead. I also don’t want to give anything away, so if you care and haven’t seen it–and I’m not saying you should though maybe you should. Or not. It’s okay, wildly uneven, should have been better–just don’t highlight this text below and you can remain spoiler free. If you have seen it, let me know what you think. If you haven’t seen it and don’t care, you still shouldn’t read the question but should instead imagine your own baghead movie which you will then want to talk about authoritatively as if it’s the real baghead movie, making sure to accuse those who try to correct you of being sexist.

So…

Who was wearing the bag when the baghead enters Michelle’s room? It’s established that it’s not the filmmaker guy since he’s not there yet. The woman says it wasn’t her and since she’s not a very good actress, I’m inclined to believe her. Now it could have been Matt (the dude Michelle was expecting), but then why would he just show up and leave? It also could have been the other dude who would have had a reason to leave (he was disappointed the girl was expecting Matt) but not a reason to put on Matt’s clothes. So, since the filmmakers decided to make their movie less interesting by being very literal, what’s the explanation for this? Maybe I’m over thinking it, but every other appearance by the baghead gets painstakingly explained. I think this only bothers me because it leads to the movie’s funniest line, “A baghead didn’t see you naked!” Clearly, like the filmmakers, I’m captivated by the idea of a baghead. Also, it’s hard to type in white. I probably should have waited until I was done typing and then switched the font color. Next time.

* This is far less important than baghead-related matters, but it’s been brought to my attention that my tiny chapbook thing My Untimely Death from Subito Press has more or less sold out. The three copies left at Amazon here are apparently the last of the first print run. I only mention it because I’m relieved that I am no longer going to be responsible for an unsold box of books that a Boulder janitor would have to throw away in 2015. Unfortunately, I’m told the intention is to print more, but there is some question as to when. Keep your fingers crossed that funding falls through, future Boulder janitors.

I suppose I also mention it because I still have 10-15 and would give a copy to anyone who wants one. I have done a remarkably poor job of distributing my copies. Please take one.

4 Comments / Posted in Little Books, Monsters, Movies

Exhibit 2.18

Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

This is the first in what will, ideally, be a continuing series of poetry books and chapbooks that I’ll be reading in the coming months. It’s either appropriate or a little bit of a cheat that this book is “a novel in verse” according to its cover and while that may just be publishing house shenanigans, it seems appropriate even if it doesn’t really mean anything.

There is a narrative here, sure. There are also characters who change, dialogue, length, and probably whatever other surface level concerns people who go about deciding what’s a novel and what isn’t use to make their distinctions. Even the verse is very near prose, and the experience of reading the book was to this reader a very different thing than reading a book of poetry. There is much beauty, but very little opaqueness. If anything, there is a hyper-specificity to the language which fulfills the promise of Stesichorus’ use of adjectives that Carson notes in one of the pre-poem appendices.

Calling it a novel then seems completely natural and completely false. It has a novel’s story but a poem’s soul, with most of the pleasure coming from the language and the playfulness of the contradictions. It’s a novel, but it’s not a novel. Geryon is a monster, but Geryon is a boy. There are appendices, but it is as if the poem is appended to them in both order and intention. There are translations of Stesischorus, but they are clearly false and anachronsitic.

Carson’s project then seemed to be to make a book out of the muddle that includes: a mythological red monster murdered by Herakles; Volcanoes; a Greek poet who wrote the definitive work on the myth, apparently in a meandering way that did little to glorify Herakles and much to humanize the red monster; translations of the surviving fragments of the myth; an interpretation/reimagining/modernization of the myth as being about love, specifically homosexual love (possibly due to Stesischorus’ other writings); Canada; and, finally, Stesischorus’ as meaning-breaking author.

What’s surprising is how seamlessly these disparate pieces and competing purposes become a book. Put at the end, the appendices would be reference material for a modernization novel and prompt a reading about Geryon as victim. At the beginning, however, they inform the reading as an act of translation, both of the Greek into English and of Geryon into man. The interview with Stesischorus that concludes the book after a somewhat enigmatic ending to the story proper, but in a way it simply does it’s part to make the book itself as much a collage of the real and unreal, poetic and prosaic, and mythological and contemporary as the source material.

One can imagine Anne Carson looking at the fragments of Stesischorus’ Geryoneis and wanting to translate not just the words but the feeling of being a monster in a world of men, of being scraps in a world of novels.

2 Comments / Posted in Monsters, Poetry, Writing