I prepare my tools for the excavation. Placing the suspect object onto a sterilized operating surface and unpackaging fresh picks and scalpels. It is 4.3 x 7 x 1.2 inches. A small rectangular stack of papers bound together. With…
“Interiors” is very much the product of my fascination with the physicality of the book-object. The way in which this thing can have such strong roots in the ‘real world.’ In January when I was starting to plan the story, I was reading Grant Maierhofer’s Peripatet (Inside the Castle 2019), which is this very enigmatic tome. It has large two-page spreads, text running across the gutter, photo-scans, URLs, etc. All of this incredibly innovative and unique layout. I was really drawn to the style that permeated this object. It felt like a kind of architecture, like something that the reader navigates rather than reads (at least in the traditional sense). This story is kind of a fantasy of how enigmatic a text like that could really be, of what kind of secrets / mysteries could be hiding inside of it.
The process of writing “Interiors” was somewhat strange. I tend to work in a kind of distracted or overstimulated state. I like to play videos in the background, or noise music, jazz, usually something abrasive. I think it adds this potential for chaos and expansion. It allows a story to move in ways that I might not expect it to. It allows for this external input. If I’m watching videos, it might be overhearing a certain sentence that leads me in one direction. Or if its instrumental music, it might be the feeling that a certain sound provokes.
Going into “Interiors” I didn’t have a very rigid outline. I knew that I wanted to investigate an anomalous object. I knew I wanted the environment to be controlled and the researcher to be systematic in their approach. But beyond that, I left all possibilities open. I did not map the potential effects of the text, or its layout. Or what anomalies might lie inside. I wanted it all to come out, as if being drawn through me rather than from me. And because of this, the process was very intensive. I started putting the text together on January 31 and finished it on February 2. It was the only thing I was working on over the course of those three days. Most of each day was either spent writing or editing. At the end, “Interiors” came out as you see it now (excluding some edits thanks to the adept insight of the CRAFT editorial team).
John Trefry says, “Books are not places apart from this world. They are impossible places within it.” And I very much think that this is the philosophy that guides “Interiors.” The book is not a portal to fantasy, it is an object-of-power. It is the thing on the table / desk / shelf in front of you.
MIKE CORRAO is the author of two novels, Man, Oh Man (Orson’s Publishing) and Gut Text (11:11 Press); one book of poetry, Two Novels (Orson’s Publishing); two plays, Smut-Maker (Inside the Castle) and Andromedusa (forthcoming—Plays Inverse); and two chapbooks, Avian Funeral March (Self-Fuck) and Spelunker (Schism—Neuronics). Along with earning multiple Best of the Net nominations, Mike’s work has been featured in publications such as 3:AM, Collagist, Always Crashing, and The Portland Review. He lives in Minneapolis.