Nowhere Else To Go

Gary Lutz, “Windows That Lead to More Windows: An Interview With Gary Lutz” by Blake Butler, Vice 5 September 2013

Life is plotproof, muddled, desultory, irreducible to chains of cause and effect. It’s sweaty and rampantly sad. It’s a motion of moments. There’s no line of any kind other than the one that runs from birth to thwarting to death. As a reader, I drop out of a novel or even a short story as soon as I sense that the writer has a scheme and is overarranging things. I’ve had it with the masterminded. That’s just my own prejudice, obviously, but I’m the same way about humor: I don’t want to wait through a setup for the punch line: I want one one-liner after another: I want the upshot, I want everything to feel final from the first, I want the conclusion. I don’t need to know what it took to get there; I only need to know that there’s nowhere else to go. In my fiction, life sweeps over people as they sum themselves up on the fly. There’s no backstory for them to take shelter in. They can’t luxuriate in ancestry and hand-me-down handicaps. They’ve never once felt as if their bodies were earmarked for life. It’s all they can do to just view each other’s ruins and blurt out their aperçus in nothing flat. There’s nothing more to it than the fact that in every moment everything’s over all over again. It’s not as if there were something to be had from life. And there isn’t one thing to lead to another, because there’s only ever just one thing …

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