Photo by Todd Kesselman

Walking into philosopher Simon Critchley’s home in Brooklyn, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Like his work, he’s full of contradictions, a description I think he’d lovingly embrace. “They’re the source of the most extraordinary weirdness,” is how he describes Shakespeare and Sophocles. Critchley is another source of extraordinary weirdness, in the best sense possible.

Over a number of glasses of scotch, we discussed his new book, The Faith of the Faithless, his interest in viewing love and faith philosophically, his involvement with novelist Tom McCarthy and the International Necronautical Society, his annoyance with the hardline atheist position of people like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, and his love of bears and bear-related humor.

Tyler Malone: Let’s start with The Faith of the Faithless. Obviously it’s about a number of things, but two topics that stick out as central to the book, and that are tied together, are the concepts of faith and love. The first of which, faith, has been ingrained in your work, in various ways, all the way back to Infinitely Demanding. But love is new — or at least newer to your oeuvre.

Simon Critchley: Yes, love is new.

Well, I guess the place to start then is by asking you: what guided you in that direction?

Ah, well, I fell in love. I fell in love and everything changed. That’s part of the story. I fell in love with a 13th-century Flemish mystic! So that led me to one of the strangest of all philosophical questions, and that is: “what is love?” It’s one that you can give all sorts of answers to, but they’re not particularly convincing. Philosophy is the love of wisdom. Or love is the relationship between two consenting parties. It’s a relationship of dependence, where we’re still independent, which is how Hegel defines it. But what I got interested in were instances of love that were much more dramatic than that.

Right, not so . . . contractual.

Exactly, not contractual at all, much more extreme. That then led me into, in particular, these female mystics from the Medieval period, for whom love is this extraordinary act of daring — [love] for God, God in the form of Christ, and a Christ who is very incarnate, and very much an object of desire. So I ended up with an idea of love as an act of spiritual daring and an act of impoverishment, where you sort of empty yourself. Love is, as one of these mystics [Marguerite Porete] says, hacking and hewing away at oneself to make a hole that’s large enough for love to enter in.

Which is not the usual idea of love, I guess you might say.

No, it’s not the “hey, we love each other, let’s get married!” kind of love. It’s a very violent kind of love, and that drew me. It was the extremity of that that drew me, which is because I guess the question is really whether you can love and desire in the same place. There are different ways of talking about this, but one way of diagnosing culture would be to say that we love in one place and that we desire in another place. So, for example, I’m sure Eliot Spitzer loved his wife, but he desired the hooker that ruined his career. What I’m exploring is not some sort of pacific, peaceful idea of love — love and harmony and reconciliation — but a love that is fueled by desire, that is sustained by it. I’m working with some idea that these could exist in the same place, whatever that means. That’s what was on my mind when I set about writing the book. Linked to that is an idea that a lot of the work that I’ve done over the years has been concerned with death.

Right. Basically up until this point everything in your oeuvre has, at the very least, some tangential relation to death. And when you look at a book like The Book of Dead Philosophers, it’s obviously all about death. What is it about death that offered such an exquisite point of entry into the lives and works of philosophers throughout the ages?

There’s a big question at the back of that. Philosophy begins with a death, but it doesn’t just begin with a death — it begins with a political execution (of Socrates). So the first text that we think of, the first Western philosophical text, is The Trial and Death of Socrates — of someone who was ordered to be executed by the city because he was impious towards the gods and corrupted the youth (both of which were true).

Socrates says in the Phaedo that “to philosophize is to learn how to die.” The philosopher is already half-dead, he says — he already has one foot in the other world, the world of the true reality of the forms. So, in a sense, to be a philosopher is already to be half-dead, and there’s a strong tradition — that you can track all the way up to some of the more contemporary figures — that follows that through.

I’ll admit, though, that The Book of Dead Philosophers actually wasn’t my idea. Most of my books are my idea, but that was a suggestion made by a friend. It just seemed like a great way of linking everything together. 

How do you go from “to philosophize is to learn how to die” to the question of love? Where does love come into that?

The problem with the philosopher’s approach to death is that if to philosophize is learn how to die, then my worry is that philosophy is a rather selfish activity. It’s about me dying at the right time, in the right way, in the right place, and doing what it takes to bring that about. Epicurus, a later philosopher — very influential in the ancient world and still influential in various corners — said the objective of philosophy is to overcome the fear of death, and he thought a correct understanding of nature was going to get you to that. He thought that if you understand the way the universe works, then you’re going to feel calm, at peace. But in these types of approaches, it’s very much a solipsistic, individualistic idea of death, whereas love is a relationship to another being. On that front, maybe philosophers aren’t so good.

In a way, love seems the opposite of the conquering of death. If that is the selfishness of philosophizing, love is the ultimate selfless act (especially in the Porete sense of hacking and hewing away at oneself).

Exactly. Love is something which is, as I say in The Faith of the Faithless, stronger than death in the sense that death is my death, and my death is pretty important and I’m still terrified of it and I hope it doesn’t happen in the next, you know, couple of days, but love is something else. Love will make you do things that will maybe cause your death, or it will make you act in some way where you begin to think not of the sphere of your own life, but of forms of continuation that will exceed your life. There are all sorts of crazy ideas of immortality, but a very concrete idea of immortality is that which lives on after your death. That’s one way of thinking about children or loved ones or whatever it might be, that’s a form of living on.

So I suppose the shift or modulation in what I’ve been up to in the last few years is a shift from the question of how to live — which can be answered with, “to live is to live in the foreknowledge of death,” or, as Montaigne says in lovely phrase, “to live with death in your mouth” — to the question of how to love; which is, I think, ultimately a much more difficult question. And suddenly religious traditions take on a new urgency, because they are traditions which have long been trying to grapple with that question.

Speaking of the religious impulse that underlies your new trajectory, one of the things I wanted to ask you about was your thoughts on the Hitchenses and the Dawkinses of the world (the “New Atheists,” as they’re often called). I know you’ve said in various places that you’re, to put it colloquially, not their biggest fans. 

Not really, no.

You’ve said that belief in god is a “useless distraction,” so I’m curious: what is wrong with Hitchens and Dawkins attempting to convert people to a non-religious position? From your critical viewpoint, wouldn’t it be just another “useless distraction”? Or, to put it a better way, why does Dawkins bother you so much, and why does someone like Cornel West — with whom you just had a very lovely public conversation — not seem to bother you?

I guess I’d say that their hostility to faith is another form of faith; it’s a faith in science. But it isn’t really the faith in science that scientists have, which is really more of a working in the dark. For me, it’s a very English hostility to depth of any kind, and hostility to the forms of speculation and inwardness and the sorts of activity that religion sustains. “This is just nonsense, it’s crap, it’s bullshit, and we need to replace it with the truth.” But that is itself a theological move. It’s saying, “We need to get rid of the false god of god and replace it with the true god of science.” For me, it’s a very sort of arrogant worldview. It thinks that people who have religious faith are deluded and stupid. I don’t think that. I think it’s the other way around. Maybe I’m deluded and stupid for not being able to experience that kind of faith?

I can understand exactly how Dawkins and Hitchens feed into and against a chronics of fundamentalism, which we’re playing out tonight in the Republican primaries and all the rest. But it gets rid of one theology and replaces it with another theology. If the old theology was underpinned by an idea of revelation and redemption, which is an idea of progress, then the new scientific theology is also underwritten by a kind of progress — that science will eventually get to the truth, and we just need to hold on.

I think [Hitchens’ and Dawkins’ hostility to faith] misses what is so radical about different religious traditions, particularly Christianity — which is that it is anti-imperial, it is anti-inequality, it cares for the poor. Someone like Cornel West, coming out of the traditions of historically black Christianity, is using Christianity as a way of articulating those political concerns.

Ultimately, with Hitchens and Dawkins and the like, I think it is their arrogance that most irritates me.

In Very Little . . . Almost Nothing, one of your earlier books and one of my favorites, you quote Heidegger as saying, “Philosophical research is and remains atheism, which is why philosophy can allow itself the arrogance of thinking,” and then you add that in your view, “Philosophy is atheism and to have an experience of faith would mean stopping doing philosophy . . . stopping immediately . . . right away.” How would you view that statement in relationship to your current views on faith?

It’s complicated. It’s very good that you found that, because I wrote that in the specific context of colleagues of mine in England, for whom philosophy and faith were in different boxes. Philosophical questions were philosophical questions, and they had a certain set of procedures governing them. Faith was something else. There was a certain strand of philosopher — and I was close to a couple of these people — for whom philosophy was very important, but it just stopped at a certain point, and then faith would kick in. It was as if their minds had two compartments, a bicameralism in their heads. I never understood that.

For me, I burned with a desire for faith. As an undergraduate, I read Pascal and Augustine and Paul and Kierkegaard, and I was strongly drawn to them. But faith always felt like some extra thing that I didn’t have. It felt like something that was out of reach, on the top shelf or something. So to that extent, philosophy is atheism.

Now, I guess what’s changed is . . . well, I suppose I could say that nothing’s changed. I don’t think that faith is theistic. I don’t think that faith requires a belief in a god. Faith is a subjective commitment to something that places a demand on you, that places a call on you. There are people that will believe that the source of that call is a divinity; there are people that will believe that the source of that call isn’t. It’s not for me to decide one way or the other — the experience of faith is the same.

If I understand faith as a faith in the existence of a deity, I still can’t make that leap — and then philosophy is atheism. But if faith is understood as, let’s say, an ethical disposition of the self as a kind of commitment that the self makes, then I think faith makes sense to me. So the word “faith” can be used in very different ways. But it’s a question that I do ask myself and perhaps should ask myself on a deeper level, I think.

So do you see The Faith of the Faithless as a continuation of Very Little . . . Almost Nothing, rather than something that is butting up against those earlier books?

In Very Little . . . Almost Nothing, I say that if philosophy is inconceivable with religion, it’s inconceivable without religion. That proposition is historical. If you say, the way Hitchens and Dawkins do, that these people are just wrong, then the history of thought becomes unrecognizable. How can we begin to understand someone like Aquinas or the great Muslim scholars?

One thing you said when you were talking with Cornel West was that these religious scholars and theistic philosophers may not come to all the right answers, but at least they’re asking the right questions.

Yes, because for many philosophers, questions of love and faith are unseemly. So you’ve got that historical dimension, but you’ve got the existential as well. I think the religious traditions are able to dig into a deep existential matrix of what it means to be human. So for me, the problem of ethics and politics is one of motivation. How do you motivate a subject to act? How do we really bring about a shift such that it will commit itself to act in a certain way?

Philosophy can find forms of rationality, rational arguments, that get to a certain point, but there can always be arguments against that. We require a sort of extra ingredient. Religion has that deep motivational structure. That’s one of the things that interests me about it, but it’s also what’s frightening about it, because it can lead to fanaticism.

Definitely, it’s a slippery slope. Changing gears, I’m curious how the International Necronautical Society came about. I love your work and I love Tom McCarthy’s work, and the stuff you’ve done together as the Society, as well as the Joyce paper you did together. How did you first hook up with Tom McCarthy?

I met Tom about 12 or 13 years ago. I was very impressed by him. He was writing novels at the time, but no one was publishing them. Everyone was turning them down. I think he’s realized that “overnight success” in literature usually takes about 20 or 30 years!

Tom always thought that he would be a novelist, but no one was publishing him, and then he stumbled into the idea that maybe he’d go into the art world, which seemed interested in his ideas. Neither of us really had any experience in the art world, but we ended up using the vehicle of this semi-fictitious society to make events happen. One thing led to another, and we began to write together a lot, and that continues to this day. It’s fantastic to write in a kind of two-headed way. You sort of give up your intentionality when writing with another person; it’s liberating. I’ve been trying to do a lot more of that, and I’d like to do a lot more of that in the coming years.

Tom and I have obsessions, and there are objects that obsess us both. Finnegans Wake was one, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice was another, and thematic things that we both get focused on, like the question of authenticity. What’s fascinating is Tom thinks laterally, in terms of lateral associations. If you mention something, he thinks, “Oh, that’s like that moment in Nabokov, which is like that moment in Faulkner, which is like that moment in Cervantes.” He moves laterally, horizontally, whereas I’m sort of this castrated academic with a PhD, thinking in terms of argument structures and vertical developments. It makes it nicely messy.

It’s been a great pleasure. All our stuff is going to come out in a book at some point, hopefully this year, with an art press.

That’s fantastic to hear. You say you want to do more co-writing — are you saying you want to do more with Tom, specifically, or with other people?

Well, at the moment I’m writing a book with my wife . . . it’s on Hamlet. Working with her, in some ways, is similar to working with Tom — it’s like I’m married to Tom! She is a psychoanalyst, and she thinks in a certain way. I think in a different way. There’s this creative dissonance in our approaches. You find yourself saying things that you wouldn’t say, normally.

I’m a great believer in collaboration. The art world is much freer in that regard. Academia tends to be very individualistic. And the worlds of fiction and nonfiction are also driven by author-brands. I’ve always been fascinated by couples like Deleuze and Guattari, William Burroughs and Brion Gysin, or Laurel and Hardy, or what have you.

The problem with writing is inhibition. You experience inhibition with regards to what you’re going to say. You start writing and then you check your e-mail. It becomes really hard. Whereas writing with someone else is also writing for someone else. You sort of give up what’s of concern to you in the name of this larger project.

Any other collaborations on the docket?

I’m also collaborating, doing a little book, with the French artist Phillipe Parreno. Phillipe is someone who has really just worked with other people for the last thirty years. We’re working in a medium that is not his medium — in words and speech — and it’s interesting, letting that happen.

What’s the Hamlet book about, if you don’t mind me asking?

Well, it’s about the play. The play’s the thing to catch the consciousness of the king, and all that. It’s a very intense and weird scrutiny of the text. We’re using a whole series of outsider interpretations of Hamlet, like Carl Schmidt, Walter Benjamin, Lacan, Nietzsche, Adorno, and other figures. All of whom have things to say about Hamlet, but for none of them is Hamlet central; it’s a peripheral concern. We look at what light they can shed on the play, and then we mess with their interpretations. The way it ends up is that Hamlet is a play of desire. Hamlet is incapable of love, incapable of articulating his desire, it is always displaced onto something else (the ghost, his mother, etc.).

We’re finishing it now. We’re trying to look at Joyce and Melville and Goethe. Melville says somewhere that there is such an interior gloom in Hamlet which we can’t bear, and for that reason we try to turn Shakespeare into some sort of moralist. He invented humanity according to Harold Bloom, or whatever. We pour an awful lot of cold water on that idea. Hamlet is a sort of awful farce; there’s no reconciliation.

That reminds me also of Keats’ reading of Shakespeare. It’s through Shakespeare that he comes to this idea of “negative capability” — this idea of being of many minds, and able to avoid reconciliation of these opposing forces.

Then the book after that, I hope, is going to be on ancient tragedy. What interests me about drama really is that negative capability you’re talking about, and that’s as true of Sophocles as it is of The Wire, or Mad Men, or whatever. It’s an experience of moral ambiguity. You don’t know where the “good” resides. To experience drama is to experience a world where there are multiple moral perspectives which are in play. Great drama is where that ambiguity can be sustained and not closed down in the name of some specific view of things. Obviously Shakespeare is full of that, but that’s sort of unbearable. We end up having to dredge a meaning out of Shakespeare, but that, for me, is ideology, and that has little to do with Shakespeare. We don’t know what Shakespeare thought or who he was or anything, but we have these plays.

In many ways, something like Hamlet is a higher form of philosophy than philosophy. It’s capable of doing something that philosophy can’t do. Philosophy tends to be, on the whole, monologic. When it’s not monologic, it’s dialogic, but it’s not really dialogic — it’s Socrates pretending he doesn’t know, but really he does know. In Shakespeare, though, we have no clue why things are the way they are. We’re presented with a complex scenario, and we’re invited to reflect on it. And for me, that is a much more philosophical activity. So, in a way, philosophical activity is better at home in the theater.

At the end of The Book of Dead Philosophers, under your entry, you quote a Shakespeare stage direction, writing, “Exit, pursued by a bear.” Elsewhere in your books bears come up quite often. You’ve mentioned loving Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man because of your affinity for bears and bear-related humor. So I have to ask: why bears?

I don’t know, it’s some sort of grotesque, repressed . . . I don’t know. It’s the awful truth I can’t face up to. It obviously has something to do with desire, right? I want to be raped and murdered by a bear! Maybe that’s the goal of my life, so I’m using jokes as a way of controlling that.

I could just say it’s funny, but obviously there has to be more to it than that.

You wrote a bit about Terrence Malick in your book on Wallace Stevens. More recently, in How to Stop Living and Start Worrying, you mention you’ve kind of moved away from Malick. Did you see last year’s The Tree of Life? And if so, what were your thoughts on it?

Yes, I did, and I hated it violently. I think it’s me, and not him, but I find it sort of intolerable: sentimental, boring, it just drags. For me, there’s a choice between Malick and Lars von Trier of the last year, between The Tree of Life and Melancholia. I’d go with Melancholia anytime.

Well, Melancholia has a sense of humor, and a brilliantly dark sense of humor, whereas Malick does not.

Yes, The Tree of Life is humorless. The Thin Red Line works because it is based on a great book. It’s a brilliant depiction of combat. It lends itself to the interior monologue. But I had the same problem with The New World as well. I desperately wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t. Tree of Life I couldn’t even get to the position of wanting to like it. It seems to feed that Emersonian, American desire for authenticity, which just fills me with nausea. I’ll go with Lars von Trier and Melancholia. Nature is Satan’s church.

Moving onto politics: I’d be curious to hear about your thoughts on Occupy Wall Street.

It’s weird. For me, the most fatal delusion that philosophers and writers have is that the world is confirming your theory, so I’ve always been very skeptical about that. That being said, however, I think that the picture of resistance that I try to set out in Infinitely Demanding is a fairly good description of what’s happened with Occupy Wall Street.

But having said that, it is firstly bad manners, and secondly arrogant and stupid, to attempt to co-opt a movement for a theory. There were a whole number of theorists and philosophers who were at risk of doing that during the fall of last year when the Occupy movement was at Zuccotti Park.

I went down there a lot. What I enjoyed doing was just being there, and looking at things, and hanging out, and listening to the general assembly, and watching it all happen. Between September and November, they seemed to be incredibly well-organized, they knew what they were doing. They didn’t need instructions from intellectual leaders to give them a better theoretical appraisal of what they were up to. So at that point the task is to sit back and listen, and maybe think about how the world is changing.

One of the formulations I come up with in The Faith of the Faithless is that politics is association without representation. It’s a form of being together that doesn’t necessarily require the forms of voting, representative assemblies, parliaments, houses of congress and all the rest. So politics is really at its essence a form of direct democracy. The Occupy Movement was playing that out, I think, in a very incredible way.

What’s happened in the last three months? Four months? It’s been a while now. I’m in touch with people in the movement, but we’ll see. . . . There is no politics without location, in my view. Real politics has two elements. It consists of a demand or a set of concerns, and the second element is location. There needs to be a place. The genius of the Occupy movement was the location it had, and the architecture of the location was important as well. It became a struggle over a place. Politics is always a struggle over a place, but now there’s no place. So there will be a series of what? Abstract demonstrations? We’ve seen those before. So . . . we’ll see . . .

It’s been a fantastic lesson in how politics can spontaneously erupt. This is going to be a strange year in the U.S., with the election, and obviously Obama is going to suck in, cynically, whatever is rhetorically useful from the Occupy movement against the language of inequality and the one percent, and yet most likely do nothing about it. For me, one of the most extraordinary moments from when I was down there happened towards the end. I saw someone down in Zuccotti with a poster that said, “Obama please say something.” He said nothing.

But is that so surprising?

No, it’s not surprising at all. There’s a line in Prometheus Bound where Prometheus is being asked by the Chorus what he gave human beings. He said, “I gave them technology, I gave them fire, they formed civilization, it was all because of me, and that’s why I’m chained to this rock.” The Chorus asks, “Well, what else did you give them?” He says, “I also sewed in them blind hope as a way of forestalling doom.” That’s a very Greek thought, but we have blind hope, too. In many ways, what happened in 2008 with the Obama campaign was a wonderful example of blind hope. There was a genuine grassroots movement. People did all sorts of wonderful things for all the right reasons. Once Obama was elected, though, they were told to go home and bide their time, and he’d take it from there.

Occupy is the first consistent leftist response to the disaster of 2008. People might feel better this year because the economy is slightly better here (though it’s not in Europe), but that’s not going away. We live in hope!

At the end of The Faith of the Faithless, you talk a lot about non-violent violence. You also talked about it in your discussion with Cornel West. You talked about it in relation to Walter Benjamin calling non-violence “a guideline for action.” I was wondering if you could expound upon that?

The problem is really to what extent an ethics and politics of non-violence is practical. Can we really sustain a principled non-violence? This was something I’d argued at the end of the whole chain of reasoning in Infinitely Demanding — arguing for a sort of blanket Gandhism, that protest movements and resistance movements must be non-violent. That’s all very fine, but the line that separates non-violence from violence is a very delicate one, and one has to take it context by context. There are contexts where a non-violent strategy of resistance is going to work, as it did in India under British Imperial rule with Gandhi’s strategy, and it’s been effective elsewhere, but there are contexts where that’s not going to work, and where the violence of the regime requires a counter-violence. How do we think about those situations?

That’s where the Benjamin essay became interesting. For him, in this weird passage of this weird essay, the commandment “thou shall not kill” is not an absolute law. It’s not a law at all, it’s a commandment. It’s not a principle or a categorical imperative, it’s a guideline. So the outcome of this line of argument is that violence might be necessary. Is that violence justifiable? No. So it tries to separate the argument of the necessity of violence from the argument of the justifiability of violence. What usually happens is that when oppositional groups kick back, they feel justified in kicking back, and then we’re into a logic of revenge, and you’re never going to win in that position. The violence may become necessary in certain contexts, but it should never become justified.

An example I gave in the book, which is an extremely powerful example, is of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor in Germany before the second World War, committed to non-violence, who then became active in the plot to assassinate Hitler. There’s this concept of what he calls “preparedness to take guilt onto oneself.” It’s a poor translation from the German. I think the passage from non-violence to violence is like that.

I’m very against those areas of the Left that heroize violence and celebrate violence. The Leftist and anarchist traditions that interest me are really sort of low-level incompetent, unheroic. It’s about planting carrots or opening a corner store or something; it’s not dramatic. I’m not into the ski mask, let’s-smash-things-up mentality. That strikes me as something we need to move against, but neither am I advocating a blanket non-violent position, which I think is untenable.

In reading your books, you get a good sense of your constellation of philosophy, what philosophers you’re drawn to, who is in your personal canon, etc. But I have less of a sense of your favorite fiction writers. I know you’re interested in Beckett, Shakespeare, Joyce — who are some of your other favorite authors?

I’m depressingly culturally conservative in that regard. I despise a lot of middlebrow contemporary fiction, and the cult of creative writing. I just want people to go back and read Sophocles. This came up in the thing with Cornel West, an idea of subversive traditionalism. In some ways, the most subversive thing to do is to possess that tradition of subversion that stretches back millennia. If I spent the next twenty years just reading the Greek tragedians, that’d be fine. There’s enough in there.

In many ways, literature for me is more of a space of association. That’s something I share with Tom [McCarthy]. You read the Oresteia, and you hear echoes of it in a moment in Faulkner, and that will begin to resonate with a Kraftwerk track that you like, or a David Lynch film that you’re obsessed with. I don’t respect any sort of genre distinctions, any time-based distinctions, or any medium distinctions. What counts as literature, for me, is what has the capacity to transmit and to be received. That’s also true of music. That’s also true of movies. To that extent, I’m in favor of a kind of polymorphous perversity in relationship to our cultural ingestion. So I find the idea of literature itself, for that reason, questionable. You know, I’d like people to read Joyce, and to read Joyce alongside everything else they do — alongside watching TV, or whatever. The idea that literature is something that needs to be separated and elevated is something I find abominable.

But, as far as what I read, I read sort of opportunistically. The last thing I wrote was on Philip K. Dick, which was on this massive book that came out last year called Exegesis, which is his philosophical and theological vision. I just became obsessed with it for no particular reason. Today, I was reading Ulysses in the cafe at lunchtime, because my wife and I are thinking about using Ulysses, because there’s this amazing debate of Hamlet. A month ago I was reading John Donne, and I was looking at anonymous Medieval English lyrics, so it doesn’t really add up. It’s not quite random, but it’s open.

I think there’s this open cultural field of transmission and reception, and we have to take stuff in and move stuff out, and have as little respect for boundaries and policing as possible. So it means that any given day, any number of things may happen. Though I guess I have a certain classicism in the sense that I’m interested in Shakespeare and Sophocles, but I think there’s nothing conventional or traditional about them. They’re the source of the most extraordinary weirdness.

Tyler Malone writes for various publications, runs Reading Markson Reading, and is working on his forthcoming novel, Awaiting the Next Metamorphosis. He is also the Editorial Director of PMc Magazine. He lives and works in New York City.