Thank You For Your Sperm" (MadHat Press, 2013) is Marcus Speh's debut collection of short fiction with 80 stories and an interview with the author. — Order the book now via Amazon.com.

«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]
51 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. 

Spent some time this week sorting through books left behind by my late father who was a huge Norman Mailer fan. Mailer (1923-2007) is not quite the cultural talk of town anymore. His prose, fiction or non-fiction, always seems to have managed to incite and irritate, and we can see why when we look with the wizened eyes of the 21st century at lines like these written in 1971:

«Finally, he would agree with everything they asked but to quit the womb, for finally a day had to come when women shattered the pearl of their love for pristine and feminine will and found the man, yes that man in the million who could become the point of the seed which would give the egg back to nature, and let the woman return with a babe who came from the root of God’s desire to go all the way, wherever was that way. And who was there to know that God was not the greatest lover of them all?»

—Norman Mailer in “Prisoner of Sex” (1971).

Post-post-modern sensibilities burn to a cinder but there’s a mythological force here, too. Clive James felt it in 1971, and Katie Roiphie felt it in 2009, Kate Millett didn’t in 1970. The only Mailer book I ever read was his monumental “Harlot’s Ghost” considered his masterpiece by another dead vitriolic bard, Christopher Hitchens (in his obituary on Mailer). Oddly enough the one character that stuck with me 20 years later is the female protagonist (and CIA asset), Hadley Kittredge Gardiner—perhaps because I then felt drawn to the suppressed sexuality that seemed to surround upper girls born bad and well-bred in New England. Norris Church Mailer (1949-2010), Mailer’s last wife (in the photo, but not shown), wasn’t one of them. I enjoyed this 2010 interview with her: ”He was the most exciting man I’d ever met.”

Thank You For Your Sperm, Norman. [Deutsche Version.]

Posted at 1:33pm and tagged with: Norman Mailer, Clive James, Prisoner of Sex, Quote, Alt Lit, july 2013,.

Spent some time this week sorting through books left behind by my late father who was a huge Norman Mailer fan. Mailer (1923-2007) is not quite the cultural talk of town anymore. His prose, fiction or non-fiction, always seems to have managed to incite and irritate, and we can see why when we look with the wizened eyes of the 21st century at lines like these written in 1971:

«Finally, he would agree with everything they asked but to quit the womb, for finally a day had to come when women shattered the pearl of their love for pristine and feminine will and found the man, yes that man in the million who could become the point of the seed which would give the egg back to nature, and let the woman return with a babe who came from the root of God’s desire to go all the way, wherever was that way. And who was there to know that God was not the greatest lover of them all?» —Norman Mailer in “Prisoner of Sex” (1971).

Post-post-modern sensibilities burn to a cinder but there’s a mythological force here, too. Clive James felt it in 1971, and Katie Roiphie felt it in 2009, Kate Millett didn’t in 1970. The only Mailer book I ever read was his monumental “Harlot’s Ghost” considered his masterpiece by another dead vitriolic bard, Christopher Hitchens (in his obituary on Mailer). Oddly enough the one character that stuck with me 20 years later is the female protagonist (and CIA asset), Hadley Kittredge Gardiner—perhaps because I then felt drawn to the suppressed sexuality that seemed to surround upper girls born bad and well-bred in New England. Norris Church Mailer (1949-2010), Mailer’s last wife (in the photo, but not shown), wasn’t one of them. I enjoyed this 2010 interview with her: ”He was the most exciting man I’d ever met.”
Thank You For Your Sperm, Norman. [Deutsche Version.]

Mia Avramut: Describe your muse. I imagine her (or him) as quite a character, and multifaceted, with enormous literary, artistic, scientific and business capabilities. 

Marcus Speh: No, my muse has only got enormous, pneumatic breasts — like the Venus of Willendorf perhaps. This may shock and displease many readers, of course, but I insist it’s true, and I cannot offer any apologies on politically correct grounds. A muse is a very personal attachment, almost an artifact. I think the Muse grows with the artist who pays attention to her and it withers when he takes his attention elsewhere. Some writers have sought them in real women, Bertolt Brecht comes to mind, and Robert Graves, and I used to think of my wife as my muse, but I have lately decided that this is too much of a burden, both for her and also for me. And about those capabilities you mention: it’s me who has these capabilities. The Muse provides focus, simplicity and sensibility.

From: interview with Connotation Press—An Online Artifact. Image: schema for “Thank You For Your Sperm”.

Posted at 6:48pm and tagged with: Connotation Press, Mia Avramut, Marcus Speh, TYFYS, muse, Venus, venus of willendorf, Robert Graves, Bertolt Brecht,.

Mia Avramut: Describe your muse. I imagine her (or him) as quite a character, and multifaceted, with enormous literary, artistic, scientific and business capabilities. 
Marcus Speh: No, my muse has only got enormous, pneumatic breasts — like the Venus of Willendorf perhaps. This may shock and displease many readers, of course, but I insist it’s true, and I cannot offer any apologies on politically correct grounds. A muse is a very personal attachment, almost an artifact. I think the Muse grows with the artist who pays attention to her and it withers when he takes his attention elsewhere. Some writers have sought them in real women, Bertolt Brecht comes to mind, and Robert Graves, and I used to think of my wife as my muse, but I have lately decided that this is too much of a burden, both for her and also for me. And about those capabilities you mention: it’s me who has these capabilities. The Muse provides focus, simplicity and sensibility.
From: interview with Connotation Press—An Online Artifact. Image: schema for “Thank You For Your Sperm”.

Photo: Penny Goring, ”Songs of Praise”. You can follow poet and performance/artist Penny on Twitter or Tumblr, or you can stalk her in London. She’s a fierce friend of sperm and a loyal defender of the church of Thank You For Your Sperm.

Posted at 6:27pm and tagged with: Penny Goring, vicar, TYFYS, sperm, juice, songs of praise,.

I reblogged this from my reader kamukuraproxy:

yeeeeeeeeees

This is Olie. I wish I knew if “yeeeeeeeeees” means she likes the book, because, as you can see, everything in Olie’s world is back-to-front. Her eye is back-to-front: it looks at the inside of Olie’s head. In her world, TYFYS is titled: “mrepS ruoY roF uoY knahT”. SYFYT completely different from TYFYS: the back-to-front-ness turns the flash fiction into its opposite — in Olie’s world, TYFYS reads like the fragment of an infinite novel stolen from a shelf in an Escher drawing. I structured the book symmetrically around a centre, “The Serious Writer” stories. In Olie’s back-to-front (B2F) world, “The Serious Writer” has become “The Silly Writer”. And so on. I love it when people experiment with the book. Who knows if “sperm” is even sperm in Olie’s world. I like Olie’s metallic nail polish: it resonates with the color of the chimeara on the cover. 

!eilO ,uoy knahT

Posted at 8:12pm and tagged with: Olie, TYFYS, SYFYT, back-to-front, Escher, chimeara,.

I reblogged this from my reader kamukuraproxy:

yeeeeeeeeees

This is Olie. I wish I knew if “yeeeeeeeeees” means she likes the book, because, as you can see, everything in Olie’s world is back-to-front. Her eye is back-to-front: it looks at the inside of Olie’s head. In her world, TYFYS is titled: “mrepS ruoY roF uoY knahT”. SYFYT completely different from TYFYS: the back-to-front-ness turns the flash fiction into its opposite — in Olie’s world, TYFYS reads like the fragment of an infinite novel stolen from a shelf in an Escher drawing. I structured the book symmetrically around a centre, “The Serious Writer” stories. In Olie’s back-to-front (B2F) world, “The Serious Writer” has become “The Silly Writer”. And so on. I love it when people experiment with the book. Who knows if “sperm” is even sperm in Olie’s world. I like Olie’s metallic nail polish: it resonates with the color of the chimeara on the cover. 
!eilO ,uoy knahT

I met Francesco Cirillo in an English bookshop in Berlin where he indulged in his love for books. I might have guessed that he is a productivity grand master because of his amiable attitude and easy manner: in our performance driven age, only those only those who manage time really well (perhaps because they know that it’s finite and existential) appear truly relaxed. We soon chatted about the making of books: Francesco had just produced his own book—the 3rd edition of his hugely successful guide to the Pomodoro Technique® and was pointing out improvements for the next printing of “Thank You For Your Sperm” which he had just purchased. In the photo he looks as if he didn’t think it was a waste of time and I can’t help wondering how many “pomodoros” it took for him to finish it. Perhaps you need to try the method yourself to get the answer. — It can’t be easy, I reckon, for an Italian like Francesco, a Roman even, to take roots in Berlin. But Germans have had a love relationship with Italy for 1000 years: that must mean something — strong emotions usually flow in both directions. “Thank You For Your Sperm” contains an hommage to Trieste (the story “In the Nude”) where I lived once with my Italian wife (partly, but not at all times, in the nude), and to the pope himself (with all respect) & I wouldn’t mind writing more about Italy and its people in the future. With or without tomatoes (“pomodori”) — I think I’ll take my time.

Photo: Francesco Cirillo owner of Berlin’s FC Garage & Pomodoro Technician.

Posted at 11:45pm and tagged with: FC Garage, Pomodoro, Francesco Cirillo, TYFYS, Berlin, writing, promotion, software design,.

I met Francesco Cirillo in an English bookshop in Berlin where he indulged in his love for books. I might have guessed that he is a productivity grand master because of his amiable attitude and easy manner: in our performance driven age, only those only those who manage time really well (perhaps because they know that it’s finite and existential) appear truly relaxed. We soon chatted about the making of books: Francesco had just produced his own book—the 3rd edition of his hugely successful guide to the Pomodoro Technique® and was pointing out improvements for the next printing of “Thank You For Your Sperm” which he had just purchased. In the photo he looks as if he didn’t think it was a waste of time and I can’t help wondering how many “pomodoros” it took for him to finish it. Perhaps you need to try the method yourself to get the answer. — It can’t be easy, I reckon, for an Italian like Francesco, a Roman even, to take roots in Berlin. But Germans have had a love relationship with Italy for 1000 years: that must mean something — strong emotions usually flow in both directions. “Thank You For Your Sperm” contains an hommage to Trieste (the story “In the Nude”) where I lived once with my Italian wife (partly, but not at all times, in the nude), and to the pope himself (with all respect) & I wouldn’t mind writing more about Italy and its people in the future. With or without tomatoes (“pomodori”) — I think I’ll take my time.
Photo: Francesco Cirillo owner of Berlin’s FC Garage & Pomodoro Technician.