Video Review: Normally Special by xTx

by Michael Filippone on March 10, 2011

In this episode I talk about Normally Special, the slim, smart, subtle, sexy story collection by xTx. It came out this month from the brand new Tiny Hardcore Press. You can check it out and pick up your own copy here.

Also, below, watch me read some stories from the book, and check out a list of my favorite sentences in each story of the collection.


0:28 The Importance of Folding Towels [p11]
3:18 Marci is Going to Shoot Up Meth With Her Friend [p26]
5:00 Standoff [p14]

FAVORITE SENTENCES FROM EACH STORY IN xTx’s NORMALLY SPECIAL

For The Girl Who Doesn’t Know She Has Everything
Instead, you kept on crying whenever you felt so lonely it made you want to swallow pills,cut yourself, say yes to boys.The Duty Mouths Bring
He has a face like a minefield.

Water Is Thrown On The Witch
When I see the clothes you’ve laid out for work, when I walk past the closet and I see them laid out on the bench in perfect top to bottom order, when I walk past fast and it catches my eye, my first thought is always – you melted.

The Importance of Folding Towels
I have graduated magna cum lazy from the University of Why Can’t You Do Anything Right.

Standoff
I cannot risk him pulling away again; my heart has too many knives right now.

Father’s Day
He’d always be the opposite of melted and I’d never feel like a princess.

Marci Is Going To Shoot Up Meth With Her friend
But I will keep trying because every wall in the world is waiting for the impact of my head.

She Who Subjected The Sun
I surrender my eyes to the sun, holding my breath as the burning blindness reaches its peak then retreats.

For Her
I will reach for them grabby and earnest, burying my face into them eating them, everywhere with my lips no longer virgin to their taste.

The Honking Was Deafening
She looked like a little girl dancing for her father.

Their Daughter Played With Boxes
New appliances are so exciting for at least three weeks.

The Mill Pond
On my way down I’d wonder if I would ever be found and how nice it would feel to be looked for.

Good Boy, Fritos
He would be almost chubby and I would pay him with hands in his hair.

A Brief History of Masturbation
I didn’t know why she was mad; but then I did and quickly pushed the brush into the crack of the couch cushions and pulled the afghan up to my neck feeling a new kind of bad I’d later recognize as shame.

Fireflies
All the lessons that were learned that night are remembered but not necessarily practiced.

Exactly Raisins
She is a mom and I am not.

I Love My Dad. My Dad Loves Me.
It is difficult to masturbate about your father, but not impossible, as it turns out.

There was no mother in that house.
I thought about how crazy that lady looked with all of her out of control snot and tears and screaming.

An Unsteady Place
I can feel the house holding heavy, threatening to turn inside out.

Because Seven Ate Nine
David Bowie tongue-kissed the silence.

I Wish I Knew
I came out and saw them lying there in the dark and their legs were splayed like their arms were splayed like bird shit splatter across a store window but completely beautiful and easy to hurt, in that, I could do anything to them if I wanted to.

Things I Could Tell You
I will give the weary searchers fresh batteries for their flashlights and cold drinks when the sun beats them blind.

Because I Am Not A Monster
I know the trucks are filled with gas and I know their benches are worn with springs just beginning to poke through because each one of them holds the knowledge of the curve of my ass.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

xTx March 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

Wow! Thanks Michael! Totally appreciate you taking the time to do this!!!

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Michael Filippone March 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Hey xTx, thanks for watching!

Reply

Marcus Speh March 10, 2011 at 11:06 am

awesome and fresh. both the stories and the review. enjoyed this.

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Michael Filippone March 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Hey Marcus, thanks for checking this out!

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xTx March 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Michael,
curious as to which piece you didn’t like/understand. care to share?

Reply

phm March 12, 2011 at 1:10 am

nonpress has more samples of xTx’s work at http://notapunkrockpress.com/xtx

Reply

Cassandra March 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Mike, this is unrelated but, I just started reading several books and collections from these authors, http://muumuuhouse.com/ –they are hilarious and depressing and fantastic all at once. Thought you might enjoy!

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Michael Filippone March 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Hey Cassandra,
The Muumuu House writers are a mixed bag for me. I find them to be at times entertaining and at other times irritating. I had always had great interest and admiration for Tao Lin’s promotional shenanigans, but those seemed to have become scarce, and now it just seems that a lot of the stuff we hear from him is pretty self-indulgent. Still, I consider myself a fan.

I remember reading his first poetry book and simultaneously loving it and hating it. Still, I was really excited about him. Then his next two, Bed & E came out on the same day, which I thought was a cool move for Melville House. I read Bed first and was terribly bored by it. I hated E. I was put off enough not to buy his next book, but read a handful of poems from it and was surprised to like them all. I really liked Shoplifting, and I read enough of Richard Yates to decide not to bother. All this withstanding, I’m still always excited and looking forward to his books to come.

Of course, speaking strictly of their writing, not of the people themselves: I like Noah Cicero, I dislike Brandon Scott Gorrell, I dislike Zachary German [I did not like Eat When You Fell Sad, but I appreciate that it exists. I don't know if that makes sense. It's similar to the art of Cy Twombly; I don't consider his art something I like, but I'm glad that someone is doing it.], I sometimes like Megan Boyle, I like Mallory Whitten, I sometimes like Ellen Kennedy, I really like Sam Pink [his novella Person was one of my favorites of 2010]. I know I’m leaving people out, but those are the people I think of when I think about Muumuu House. Rachel B. Glaser does some Muumuu-ish stuff and she is absolutely amazing [her collection Pee On Water was another of my favorites from 2010]. Also, though by no means one of them, Deb Olin Unferth is tight with Tao Lin. I remember first reading her in McSweeney’s 18 [her piece was called 'Deb Olin Unferth'] and having my mind blown. I sought out anything I could find by her, and then eventually her novel Vacation came out and it didn’t disappoint.

Well, that was pretty long. Obviously I have a lot of feelings/thoughts about this. I still don’t feel like I have even explained myself clearly enough. I could just go on and on.

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