States of Independence
Dazed's ultimate guide to US creativity

Meet Darby Larson's Tunk & Flut

Read the enigmatic "story" from the daring writer turning novel form on its head – and who is ready to make yours ache

Frozen park at midnight
Tsaritsyno, Moscow 06.01.2011 Vladimir Kurashov

As part of our new summer US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to takeover Dazed for a day.

Dennis Cooper, the punk pioneer of the written word and Visionaries collaborator, brings his transgressive spirit to Dazed today. There's an interview with the man himself – "America's most dangerous writer" – as well as his curated selection of other writers who go against the grain: including Eugene LimFrank Hinton and Joyelle McSweeney with her Oscar Pistorius opera (no, really).

Darby Larson is one who seeks, destroys and, out of the damage inflicted, creates a new form for the novel itself. At least, that's what Dennis Cooper says of the writer for whom standardised form is never the means to any end; this, a technique that has drawn comparisons with Samuel Beckett and the music of Steve Reich. More often than not eschewing paragraph breaks, syntax and even common sense in favour of a single, monolithic block, to say that Larson's work – among them last years Irritant – can be intimidating would be an understatement. However, delve within the density and there's untold playfulness to be found. The best way to read Larson? Don't focus on the limits: use the very limitations he works within to make your own story, source your own substance, and feed your brain. As Cooper, employing the emphatic powers of repetition of Larson's own method, says: "really, really, really good." 

Dennis Cooper: “Darby Larson's really interesting to me because he does this thing that I've always really admired, even since I was really young. It's a kind of advancing and reinventing the novel by damaging it really severely: kind of exploding it or something. Really just creating chaos in the form. It's a boring comparison, but it's kind of like Burroughs or Celine: he's trying to destroy the novel and also make a novel at the same time. I think he's incredibly good at it. His language is just fantastic, and I'm just super impressed with what he's done so far. His last novel is really, really, really good.”

TUNK & FLUT

The situation with the ideas is please don’t ask. Imagine outside there. I’m precious if you’re precious. The thing you hold in me. The box is there certainly. When dust was here then. I felt dust on them. The situation with the ideas is please don’t ask. I can’t resist being frightened. Read me this precious story. Remain nice and I will too. Picture these clouds here soon. Fire on your face silly! Every last white eye blinks from me to you. Don’t hold that it’s cold. Wait for me to hold you. Everything is dark and cold and bleak it seems. Do you see the fire there. Nothing left but dust and dead bugs. Which is why I am okay. Don’t bother to consider either. It feels like we’ll continue to breathe and read and imagine. Whoever heard of white eyes. Consider living this memory. Much dust here on us. Quiet I’m reading the ideas. Try to picture the box. If it’s tea you want. A sort of white thing. Try out this precious kiss. There’s still fire here. Meanwhile we can become. Do you think it’s too nice and mysterious here. I’m precious if you’re precious. I remember how you imagine. I will sit here and become. There is too much dust. At least we will be okay Tunk. We must die in all this. The thing you hold in me. So much for the box and dreams. Sing to the other side. Stick another cloud after another. Wipe the dust off there. Sometimes I think I could Flut. Everything is nice and cold. Try out this frightening kiss. Imagine outside there. Okay so this is okay. Memory of me, memory of you. I’m too tired to become now I feel like a dream. Now let’s become one another. Behold my bleak face! One imagines oneself as bleak. Please don’t try to die. We will continue to have memories. I still can’t imagine not being scared about it. Sit on the box and tell me. At least it is nice. Forget the box and look at me. Seems like we’ll be okay. Please consider a direction soon. Swat that fire! There is too much quiet Flut go to sleep. The ideas we still have. Unless I imagine it. See up inside these ideas. When dust was here then. The box is too cold. There’s death and there isn’t. Do not even consider one. I read a thing about death. Imagine us here now. You know that you are bleak. It’s making me afraid. Say another clouds lesson please. We can still sing. Even though I am white. Try to hold the floor but don’t be surprised. I can’t resist being precious. Believe me these ideas believe. It’s time to become me. Let’s sing together now. Like the clouds and this worn window. I can hold this tea. Welcome to the okay way. I am white about this. Were we to become again. It’s making me precious. More tea means more tea is all. Another thing you must consider. You have my bleak words. It’s cold and okay outside. So far it’s all been bleak. Here is one white dream. Hopefully these okay things are just you and me. The box is there certainly. Fair point about the tea. Flut what is happening here. I once thought a memory. The clouds are too still. We’ll consider one together. You want me to pour tea. Another time Tunk another time. I still can’t imagine not being precious about it. But where is the death in any of this? If we have memories we’ll live well enough I believe. Sing me a fire song. Tunk I am so cold. Please be nice I beg. A good sing will help. I felt dust on them. Hold me I am ready. There will be more memories. Please just imagine me. That is some kind of tea. Please now sing to me. Hold me. This is nice. Please don’t hold that again. I’m frightened if you’re frightened. Read me this frightening story. Say again about the clouds. I don’t remember this being what we considered.

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