indieberlin: Your book, Teen Surf Goth: tell it us in one sentence…
Oscar d’Artois: its not a fashion statement, its a fucking deathwish
indieberlin: how did the writing of it happen?
Oscar Bruno d’Artois: in the spring/summer of 2013 i met and/or became aware of some people through a kind of [whatever the opposite of a perfect storm is] of events, some of them via the internet, others thru this library called mellow pages, which had just opened that year, and which for me & i think a number of other people served as a kind of catalyst over the course of its 2 year existence. (the library still exists now, but the ppl who founded it have left new york & the space has been moved to somewhere much smaller, & i have never been, so i don’t feel as close to the space as i used to). 2013 kind of changed my outlook on writing. Prior to then i hadn’t really given much thought to publishing, although i’d been ‘secretly writing’ forever. That fall i wrote the first of 3 longer poems that would become the core of TSG & published it through shabby doll house, a magazine that had rejected my previous submission, that summer. it was the first time i’d used the name ‘oscar.’ The rest of the poem came together over the course of the next 2 years (the 3 longer ones at different intervals, or ‘points of crisis,’ along the way, so its kind of like a small cycle i guess, as pretentious as that feels to say), & just kind of made sense as a book.
Anyway, obviously it is such a cliché to tell one’s own ‘founding myth’ as ‘i moved to new york and then [string music rises]’ but i think there is a certain strength that comes from telling oneself that kind of story, too. Sure it’s all ego narrative but like, how else are you supposed to understand yourself in the context of the greater world? There’s a reason clichés exist, right? like they have to have a basis in something. And you have all these ppl, like patti smith or whatever, and i mean i think she’s great but, just all these people saying that new york is dead or whatever, that it’s become too expensive & hostile to artists. i Feel like those are the same ppl who are saying that the internet is not a valid platform for art-making, which is an aesthetic pose that i feel so many people who want to be seen as counter cultural or something choose to adopt, & which is just so gross.
lt’s like, sure new york is prohibitively expensive, & sure there is something icky about the way a lot of people choose to use social media, obviously, but also, i feel that the primary function of having that kind of opinions is to deny the world as it currently exists around us, & to prevent people who are trying to be ok with being alive in it from doing so, by telling them not to romanticize their own lives, even though that kind of romanticization seems necessary to me. ppl need to romanticize themselves, to tell themselves stories about themselves, its how we make reality semi-tolerable. but not to with the past, that’s easy. it’s about figuring out ways to romanticize your present.
indieberlin: Right now, you are on a book tour with your brand new book, Teen Surf Goth. Hence the interview via internet.
So… Where are you now?
Oscar d’Artois: a) on the q train in brooklyn, on my way to coney island. i messed the train up tho so i’ve been on it for ~3hours. it’s very hot still & i kind of want to go swimming but probably won’t.
b) ok, that isn’t true anymore. When I started responding to this i was still in brooklyn, but at time of sending this in, i am back in berlin & technically homeless & crashing various places. it is cold and dark here. any sublets for the winter?
indieberlin: What’s the book tour like?
The book tour has been really fun. I guess it is over now. When it started I was referring to it as a ‘mini-tour,’ but now it feels like there was nothing mini about it. how do ppl go on tour for a month or more at a time? I’m fuxkin exhausted. Like, good exhausted, but still.
probably the coolest part, for me, is not so much showcasing yr own stuff, which gets boring pretty quick, as it is getting to see or rediscover people that are doing things I can relate to & feel some sort of ‘kinship’ with -jay ritchie, matt bookin, sarah jean alex, etc. – which always feels like, ‘rejuvenating’ or something. especially given the past year or so, which has felt kind of quiet as far as ppl writing & talking about writing goes, at least online. it is exciting to see other ppl be excited about to genuinely exploring/thinking abt about whatever it means for them to be alive, is what i mean i guess. feel like ppl who do that are sorta rare.
indieberlin: A topic close to your heart is...
Oscar d’Artois: Killer whales; anything to do with two-facedness; garlic bread
indieberlin: What will you give the audience on November 7th?
Oscar d’Artois: idk i dont rly plan readings more than like 30 minutes in advance
ps fuck sea world
………Get your copy of Teen Surf Goth from www.onmetatron.com, check out his website oscardartois.wtf, and follow @brunoartois for more gold like this !
And come see him read! November 7th, at the indieberlin book fair! It’ll be a blast!
Writer and Surrealist.
Literophone Operator : sit in a fluffy cubicle & be on the phone to poets.
Author of “Cured Meat: Memoirs of a Psychiatric Runaway” – Guardian Best First Book Nominations 2014.
Interpreter of Ancient Tales.