INTERVIEW: BLAKE BUTLER
You keep yourself incredibly busy between your writing projects and your editorial work on HTMLGiant. Do you see writing and editing as separate, and if so, how do you schedule yourself to keep them that way?
I do both at the same desk in the same space, though it feels like clicking back and forth between two levels of a field. For me, writing requires a kind of void-state, while editing requires math; I like that fold. I think the hyper-active nature of being online and immersed in things while writing can awake something in the writing if you let it mold around you rather than let it eat you up.
To help promote its publication, you organized and executed an ambitious "marathon reading" of your novel There is No Year over four nights at four different venues in New York City. Do you think reading your writing in front of a live audience makes you a better writer? If so, how?
Reading out loud and knowing you are going to read out loud in front of people probably does indeed make you take different looks at what the words actually say and how they feel and what kind of confidence interior to the work itself is apparent beyond your own head. Too much of this, though, can certainly be dangerous. I think in general I more am protective of the mental wall around me and only want to read something once it is fully formed, if even then. There are many things that can make one a better writer and reading your own work is probably low on that list.
When you are selecting or soliciting work from other writers, what's the one thing a piece absolutely positively has to have to maintain your interest?
A sense of will unto itself that it possesses an interior logic that I might not even directly understand, but that maybe seems, by force of solitary being, to want to light me up or rip me up.
BLAKE BUTLER lives in Atlanta and most recently published the novel, There is No Year.