I only found out about Scottish-Japanese performer-writer-musician-trickster Momus this summer via his darling, tongue-in-cheek “Precocious Young Miss Calloway”. As a long time Marie-Calloway-aficionado myself, I wrote to him. We exchanged polite emails and PDF versions of our books. Last night, I listened to two hours of Internet kitchen radio with Momus and his Berlin hosts. Sperm and sex (which came to Britain in the Annus Mirabilis 1963, when I was born, as Momus told us) were topics early on and the discussion, held up intermittently by Momus memorabilia, global warming & global leaking, kept coming back to sperm in particular, including my favorite evolutionary theory, panspermia, until at some point, accompanied by virtuoso Dutch mouth trumpeting, Momus urged the listeners to

«please buy “Thank You For Your Sperm" by Berlin author Marcus Speh.»

Alright! Despite Momus’ assertion that I «wouldn’t get too excited about his endorsement, because he came relatively late to this” (Sperm? Writing? Radio?), I am of course thrilled to bits, awed, blown away, momused.

Thank you for your sperm, Momus!

Photo: Momus (centre) between hosts of [Berlin’s radio on] hosts Adrian Shephard and Rinus van Alebeek in an undisclosed Berlin kitchen on October 2, 2013. Only Momus has earned his patch. Check out: Momus’ [blog & tour dates] & [Mrs Tsk*]. In his latest album,  [Bambi], Moondog meets Tom Waits meets Disney in Japan ([playlist][spotify]). His novel, [Book of Jokes]. Charming: [Precocious Young Miss Calloway]. [Meeting Marie Calloway Without Adrien Brody] [Philip Larkin, Annus Mirabilis] [Panspermia via Wikipedia]

Posted at 12:27pm and tagged with: Momus, momusu, speh, sperm, TYFYS, Thank You For Your Sperm, Berlin, Bambi, radio, marie calloway, adrien brody, Philip Larkin, Annus Mirabilis,.

I only found out about Scottish-Japanese performer-writer-musician-trickster Momus this summer via his darling, tongue-in-cheek “Precocious Young Miss Calloway”. As a long time Marie-Calloway-aficionado myself, I wrote to him. We exchanged polite emails and PDF versions of our books. Last night, I listened to two hours of Internet kitchen radio with Momus and his Berlin hosts. Sperm and sex (which came to Britain in the Annus Mirabilis 1963, when I was born, as Momus told us) were topics early on and the discussion, held up intermittently by Momus memorabilia, global warming & global leaking, kept coming back to sperm in particular, including my favorite evolutionary theory, panspermia, until at some point, accompanied by virtuoso Dutch mouth trumpeting, Momus urged the listeners to 

«please buy “Thank You For Your Sperm" by Berlin author Marcus Speh.» 

Alright! Despite Momus’ assertion that I «wouldn’t get too excited about his endorsement, because he came relatively late to this” (Sperm? Writing? Radio?), I am of course thrilled to bits, awed, blown away, momused. 
Thank you for your sperm, Momus!

Photo: Momus (centre) between hosts of [Berlin’s radio on] hosts Adrian Shephard and Rinus van Alebeek in an undisclosed Berlin kitchen on October 2, 2013. Only Momus has earned his patch. Check out: Momus’ [blog & tour dates] & [Mrs Tsk*]. In his latest album,  [Bambi], Moondog meets Tom Waits meets Disney in Japan ([playlist][spotify]). His novel, [Book of Jokes]. Charming: [Precocious Young Miss Calloway]. [Meeting Marie Calloway Without Adrien Brody] [Philip Larkin, Annus Mirabilis] [Panspermia via Wikipedia]

All the other “Serious Writer” stories in my collection are told from a male perspective. Only “The Serious Writer And Her Bush" (below, a kind of counter-piece to "The Serious Writer And His Penis") assumes that The Serious Writer is a woman.

I’ve often been drawn to picking female protagonists only to find out later that it’s too hard for a man to write a woman convincingly. At least I cannot do it & I think it may be a widespread problem among male writers. Take Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” — for me, the title figure never really comes to life in the same way as Lewin, the male protagonist, does. He seems to carry the burden of the story while she carries the heavier fate.

Perhaps someone should offer a tutorial for Serious Writing (Wo)Men, “Writing as a (wo)man for wo(men).”

Here’s the story — The Serious Writer And Her Bush:

«The serious writer looks back on a long and distinguished career as an herbologist. Her favourite bush grows in Central Park and is called Noah’s Ark by the residents because of the myriad of animals that it shelters. The serious writer has given a name to every leaf and branch of the Ark, and when autumn comes, her heart slowly withers, pondering decay as the shrub sheds its summer splendour and returns to the raw.»

Central Park New York City New York 23 cropped


—From: The Serious Writer And Her Bush, in “Thank You For Your Sperm”, published by MadHat Press. This story was first published under my nom de plume Flawnt in elimae. — Photo: Central Park Bridges (Wikimedia).

Posted at 2:44pm and tagged with: TYFYS, elimae, Central Park,.

«This debut collection mixes the sacred and profane, beauty and beast, the strange and the wondrous. Not necessarily in that order. Or any type of defined order other than The Serious Writer segment  […] Rather, the stories in this book seem quarantined like hungry orphans: Read me, they appear to shout from their temporary cots, take me home and love me; or better yet make love to me. Speh’s voices are consistently on pitch, his plots and settings well defined. There is a clatter in the book similar to the way Chekhov made his stories come alive.»

—from “A Certain Balanced Unbalance”, a review of “Thank You For Your Sperm” in The LitPub by Susan Tepper, author of The Merrill Diaries. Image: Venus of Willendorf.

Posted at 10:22pm and tagged with: Susan Tepper, TheLitPub, TYFYS, Thank You For Your Sperm, review, George Orwell, balance, stories, book review,.

«This debut collection mixes the sacred and profane, beauty and beast, the strange and the wondrous. Not necessarily in that order. Or any type of defined order other than The Serious Writer segment  […] Rather, the stories in this book seem quarantined like hungry orphans: Read me, they appear to shout from their temporary cots, take me home and love me; or better yet make love to me. Speh’s voices are consistently on pitch, his plots and settings well defined. There is a clatter in the book similar to the way Chekhov made his stories come alive.»
—from “A Certain Balanced Unbalance”, a review of “Thank You For Your Sperm” in The LitPub by Susan Tepper, author of The Merrill Diaries. Image: Venus of Willendorf.

The serious writer is working on his first novel.

He moves his household to a deserted location called Loch Llamorgan. He buys a large shovel, which he covers with tattoos lifted from a book of Maori motives. He anticipates a journey of many moons. He drives to the local liquor store and purchases supplies. He devises a plan to shelter the house from all disturbing influences: it involves a system of trenches surrounding the house, an escape tunnel from the study, and CCTV surveillance around the perimeter. He begins to dig.

When the serious writer, weeks later, finally sits down to start writing, he is exhausted and has forgotten what he wanted to write about, or why. He dolefully looks at his tool with the strange patterns on them, and at his callused hands, and he cannot hear any voices.

He composes an e-mail for an anonymous publisher expressing his sorrow over pressing deadlines, the demands of job and family, and regrets the delay in providing a synopsis. After sending the message, he lies face down in one of the ditches criss-crossing the field in front of the house, and drinks in the scent of the soil, waiting for the book to write itself.

[From: “Thank You For Your Sperm”, MadHat Press, 2013, story first published in Wrong Tree Review, 2011][Image: Atlas, drawing by Alfred Kubin, 1942]

The Austrian artist Alfred Kubin (1877-1959) was a pioneer of symbolism and expressionism. He illustrated books of Edgar Allan Poe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Fyodor Dostoevsky and others. His only novel “Die andere Seite” (The other side) was admired by Kafka. My father was a collector of Kubin’s graphical work and passed his collection on to me. Kubin’s fantastic, absurdist novel was an important influence during my teenage years.

image

Posted at 1:12pm and tagged with: Alfred Kubin, TYFYS, Atlas, Novel, Writing, serious writers, Speh, MadHat Press, Wrong Tree Review,.

my hands were made of iron: i built a faraday cage to shield my manhood from curious looks. thus armed, i left work & went for a walk in the park that always makes me peevish, but more so when i’m horny and upset. i watched the people pass through their lives & i wondered how they might feel on the inside: furry or feverish or simply red-hot. i sat down on a bench to read, munching carots and sandwich prepared by her for me, lovingly i had to give it to her. the sun melted my resolve to remain a grump. teenagers hopped along, listlessly. no radiowaves ravished my soul. calm & collected i got back to work, lead my team astray & postponed deadlines like an expert undertaker.

 [Excerpt from: “Tickled Pink”. Photo from: “Barefoot in the Park” (1967)]

Posted at 1:53pm and tagged with: TYFYS, Thank You For Your Sperm, Barefoot, 1967, pink,.


my hands were made of iron: i built a faraday cage to shield my manhood from curious looks. thus armed, i left work & went for a walk in the park that always makes me peevish, but more so when i’m horny and upset. i watched the people pass through their lives & i wondered how they might feel on the inside: furry or feverish or simply red-hot. i sat down on a bench to read, munching carots and sandwich prepared by her for me, lovingly i had to give it to her. the sun melted my resolve to remain a grump. teenagers hopped along, listlessly. no radiowaves ravished my soul. calm & collected i got back to work, lead my team astray & postponed deadlines like an expert undertaker.

 [Excerpt from: “Tickled Pink”. Photo from: “Barefoot in the Park” (1967)]

«Two leathery lovebirds set off to a jog through bewitching countryside. The stench from the fields was sharp and brought the animal out in Fred. His wife, Frieda, was belting along the dirt path despite her seventy-eight years. Fred’s little Martian stirred merrily at the thought of the Venus trap between Frieda’s legs. If the stars were aligned he might get lucky tonight he thought, all the way to his death that awaited him at the end of a seemingly infinite patch of bluebells, whose little heads were bobbing towards the place where Fred would fall and lie, his eye turned upward for as long as it took him to imbibe the beauty of the world for one last time and carry it wherever he’d be going, as alone as he hadn’t been in half a century, while Frieda was storming ahead of him, her chin stuck out, a fighter to the last breath, an incandescent wife.»

[From: Rites of Spring, first published in killauthor. In: Thank You For Your Sperm, MadHat Press, 2013][Photo: Bill and Lois Wilson, founders of AA]

Posted at 12:36pm and tagged with: Thank You For Your Sperm, TYFYS, AA, Lois Wilson, Bill Wilson,.

«Two leathery lovebirds set off to a jog through bewitching countryside. The stench from the fields was sharp and brought the animal out in Fred. His wife, Frieda, was belting along the dirt path despite her seventy-eight years. Fred’s little Martian stirred merrily at the thought of the Venus trap between Frieda’s legs. If the stars were aligned he might get lucky tonight he thought, all the way to his death that awaited him at the end of a seemingly infinite patch of bluebells, whose little heads were bobbing towards the place where Fred would fall and lie, his eye turned upward for as long as it took him to imbibe the beauty of the world for one last time and carry it wherever he’d be going, as alone as he hadn’t been in half a century, while Frieda was storming ahead of him, her chin stuck out, a fighter to the last breath, an incandescent wife.»
[From: Rites of Spring, first published in killauthor. In: Thank You For Your Sperm, MadHat Press, 2013][Photo: Bill and Lois Wilson, founders of AA]

"The fool packed a sand bar for lunch and a drinks of herb salt. But whence he went to play along the rainbow warrior, whom only he could see, who’d admire the mud cakes he baked? The half way house where he lived half-wittedly, loomed. He thought the term referred to: half way to an incredulous blessing bestowed by a holy child. Another century had begun already. Sign of the dragon. How he longed to novel a great lizard, edge over its scaly wings, warmed by fire breath, beowulfen, free view of the lordish land below. Called himself Hightower Givemeaflower. Little did he know that when he came back everyone would be waiting for him. When he saw them he scorched his longing and broke out in vicarious song. They appreciated his pithy pastry. That surprised him. He loved a girl named Ruina Hyena by him. Atop of his world, spinning on the outside of control, pointing with clownish fingers at this miracle and that, sat the threadbare fool and broke his bread with a beaver."

[“08:46 hrs - Praia, Cap Verde” in “On Christmas Day”, Thank You For Your Sperm, MadHat Press, 2013][Image: A Fool and a Lady Fool, ca 1540, Hans Sebald Beham]

Posted at 12:48pm and tagged with: TYFYS, fool, speh, Thank You For Your Sperm,.

"The fool packed a sand bar for lunch and a drinks of herb salt. But whence he went to play along the rainbow warrior, whom only he could see, who’d admire the mud cakes he baked? The half way house where he lived half-wittedly, loomed. He thought the term referred to: half way to an incredulous blessing bestowed by a holy child. Another century had begun already. Sign of the dragon. How he longed to novel a great lizard, edge over its scaly wings, warmed by fire breath, beowulfen, free view of the lordish land below. Called himself Hightower Givemeaflower. Little did he know that when he came back everyone would be waiting for him. When he saw them he scorched his longing and broke out in vicarious song. They appreciated his pithy pastry. That surprised him. He loved a girl named Ruina Hyena by him. Atop of his world, spinning on the outside of control, pointing with clownish fingers at this miracle and that, sat the threadbare fool and broke his bread with a beaver."
[“08:46 hrs - Praia, Cap Verde” in “On Christmas Day”, Thank You For Your Sperm, MadHat Press, 2013][Image: A Fool and a Lady Fool, ca 1540, Hans Sebald Beham]
59 plays

I never managed to get any closer to a book trailer for TYFYS than this: one of a number of songs, composed, performed, & recorded by me. Posting this reminds me of the time when I briefly studied musical composition with Michael Finnissy whose music I loved then like now, as well as John Cage’s often obscure but always energetic and never empty statements like this one, which bolsters me up right now :

“It is not futile to do what we do. We wake up with energy and we do something. And we make, of course, failures and we make mistakes, but we sometimes get glimpses of what we might do next.” —John Cage

Photo: Margaret Barr’s “Strange Children” ballett (1955), photographer unknown. State Library of New South Wales Flickr stream.

Posted at 10:47pm and tagged with: song, TYFYS, WWI, Margaret Barr, NSW, trailer, Thank You For Your Sperm,.

[“Family Feud” from Thank You For Your Sperm’s “Unpleasant Stories”. First published in Monkeybicycle. Photo: dead Robert Walser, 1956.]

Posted at 4:48pm and tagged with: Walser, TYFYS, Speh, Feud, Lit, Thank You For Your Sperm,.


[“Family Feud” from Thank You For Your Sperm’s “Unpleasant Stories”. First published in Monkeybicycle. Photo: dead Robert Walser, 1956.]

«[…] Characters within these stories are fully fleshed out. ‘Pleasant Pieces’ neatly organize a picture of a singular, titular character. Though they reference many familiar names (Max Ernst, Hansel and Gretel) they tend to focus on the writer’s own personal experiences, thoughts or ideas. How the mind wanders over these topics is brilliant. Little elements of childhood, growing up, ailments, memories, former friends and lovers, all find themselves in here. After a while the stories resemble a reality as filtered through a series of mirrors, constantly reflecting on both life and life’s inevitable interaction with a culture so dominant it becomes part of one’s upbringing. […] Blogs come up a number of times in the book through Marcus Speh’s own experience with his blog and another blog mentioned in the prologue. Technology comes into view with the IPAD which plays out as a comedy of misunderstandings. Writing changes before the serious writer, Marcus Speh’s stand-in. After surprising revelations in ‘The Serious Writer’ section he moves onto lovely, dreamlike imagery of ‘On Christmas Day’. Moving around the world he captures slivers of humanity’s experience. […] The absurdity is worked into a weird place. Everything moves. Nothing is stationary. Pieces of the Greek gods show themselves in the ephemeral ‘Thank You for Your Sperm’. By the very end of the book an interview helps to clarify elements of the book, neatly summarizing everything. Marcus Speh writes in a way that is refreshing unique, absurd, sad, and quite touching. ‘Thank You for Your Sperm’ is absurdity done gently from a point of view that’s revealing and surprisingly personal.» —Anonymous review of TYFYS in HTMLGIANT.  Photo: iconic alt lit writer  Beach Sloth in London 1953, between two giant Beefeaters. 

Posted at 7:17pm and tagged with: Beefeater, htmlgiant, London, 1953, TYFYS, sperm, book review, galleycat, Speh,.

«[…] Characters within these stories are fully fleshed out. ‘Pleasant Pieces’ neatly organize a picture of a singular, titular character. Though they reference many familiar names (Max Ernst, Hansel and Gretel) they tend to focus on the writer’s own personal experiences, thoughts or ideas. How the mind wanders over these topics is brilliant. Little elements of childhood, growing up, ailments, memories, former friends and lovers, all find themselves in here. After a while the stories resemble a reality as filtered through a series of mirrors, constantly reflecting on both life and life’s inevitable interaction with a culture so dominant it becomes part of one’s upbringing. […] Blogs come up a number of times in the book through Marcus Speh’s own experience with his blog and another blog mentioned in the prologue. Technology comes into view with the IPAD which plays out as a comedy of misunderstandings. Writing changes before the serious writer, Marcus Speh’s stand-in. After surprising revelations in ‘The Serious Writer’ section he moves onto lovely, dreamlike imagery of ‘On Christmas Day’. Moving around the world he captures slivers of humanity’s experience. […] The absurdity is worked into a weird place. Everything moves. Nothing is stationary. Pieces of the Greek gods show themselves in the ephemeral ‘Thank You for Your Sperm’. By the very end of the book an interview helps to clarify elements of the book, neatly summarizing everything. Marcus Speh writes in a way that is refreshing unique, absurd, sad, and quite touching. ‘Thank You for Your Sperm’ is absurdity done gently from a point of view that’s revealing and surprisingly personal.» —Anonymous review of TYFYS in HTMLGIANT.  Photo: iconic alt lit writer  Beach Sloth in London 1953, between two giant Beefeaters.