Scott regrets not making it to the Columbus reading (his first ever cancellation), due to being stuck in traffic for four hours thanks to this flaming FedEx truck. Oh, and we hope you weren’t really looking forward to that package from Aunt Martha.
— Matt Nelson, reviewing Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan, at the Center for Fiction’s website.
You should come. Facebook RSVP here.
Video of Scott McClanahan’s last reading ever in NYC.
— Review of Scott McClanahan’s CRAPALACHIA by Mesha Maren at HTML Giant.
from Crapalachia, by Scott McClanahan.
A chapter of the book, ‘Checkers,’ is now excerpted at Oxford American, with chapters to follow once a month leading up to the book’s publication on March 19.
Interested booksellers or media folk can request an advance copy of the book by writing to eric[at]twodollarradio.com.
Epigraph to Scott McClanahan’s Crapalachia: a Biography of a Place, which we’re just about to shove out the door to the printer. You can pre-order the book now, so you’ll be the first kid on the block with one.
(Interested booksellers or media persons can request a galley by emailing eric[at]twodollarradio.com.)
I told [Little Bill] to keep his head down and just read his Crapalachia history book and it would be okay.
So we read about the accidents of history. We read about the James River and Kanawha Turnpike, which was a one-lane road that passed by our house. It was the way west. George Washington and the Virginians built it, but the New Yorkers built the Erie Canal. The Virginians found out that water travelis faster. The Virginians lost. Therefore, New York became New York. But imagine if we would have won. Imagine Crapalachia as the center of the world. Imagine skyscrapers rising from the mountains.
I read about how Gov. Arch Moore kept 100,000 dollars in a refrigerator in his office because he loved cold, hard cash.
I read about how to stuff a ballot box. Have the party boss at the end of the road in a truck start with a blank sheet of paper that is the size of a paper ballot. Send the first guy in with the blank ballot stuffed in his pants. On the way out have him hide the real ballot in his pants and put the fake ballot inside the ballot box. Take the real ballot back to the party boss. The party boss fills it out and gives it to the next guy who goes in and slips the filled in ballot in the ballot box and brings out the blank ballot.
This goes on all day. This goes on all day and then the men are paid in liquor. This is how you get them drunk and steal an election fair and square. This is democracy.
Then Frog raised his hand and told the teacher, “Do you know that Charles Manson grew up in West Virginia? His mother was a prostitute in Clarksburg.” The teacher told him to be quiet. Everybody laughed. Frog told us again that it was true.
Then we read about how you build civilization. They built the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel by digging a big ass hole in the side of a mountain. They used a bunch of poor people to dig it. A poor person means either their skin was dark or their accents were thick. That’s the best way to do anything—get a bunch of poor people to do it. So they cut and cut into the mountain but there was a problem. They didn’t wet the dust from the cutlimestone—so the men developed silicosis. The men started dying by the tens and then the twenties and then the hundreds and then—the thousands? Since they were poor the company just buried them. There was an investigation a few years later but no one cared. They were poor people. The official statistic was 476 but the truth is over 1,000 of the 3,000 men lost their lives in a few short days.
And then we read about the number of coal miners killed.
In 1931: 1,456
In 1932: 1,192
In 1933: 1,051
In 1934: 1,214
In 1935: 1,216
In 1936: 1,319
In 1937: 1,399
In 1938: 1,077
We read about the Farmington disaster and how the smoke rose from the mine and the miners’ wives ran to the mine to see if their husbands were dead. The wives waited outside the mine for their husbands, but their husbands never came. The company didn’t pay the miners for the half day they missed due to their death in the explosion.
In 1939: 1,062
In 1940: 1,361
In 1941: 1,226
In 1922 my grandmother’s uncle was stuck inside the Layland mine for three weeks after an explosion. When they pulled out the bodies, some of the shoelaces were missing. Some of the miners weren’t killed. Some of the miners were so hungry they ate their shoelaces. They died of starvation.
I read about how this proves something. It proves one thing. It proves that poor people are not smart, and only poor people are desperate enough to work in a hole and then thank god that they have a job working in a hole.
Then I read about what happens to bravery. William Marland was governor of the state of WV. He tried to put an excise tax on coal and the industry broke his ass down. He started drinking. He disappeared in the ’60s. A reporter from the Chicago Tribune was riding in the back of a Chicago taxi cab. He looked up at the name of the Taxi cab driver. He said, “Hey you have the name of the former governor of West Virginia.”
The taxi cab driver said, “I know. That’s me. I was the governor of the state of West Virginia.”
He was an old man. He was a drunk. He tried to protect and help the people once. This is what happens to you. You wind up a drunk, driving a taxi cab in the city of Chicago.
We read and we learned and then we smiled the smile of killers. We had the smile of Charles Manson inside of us.
-from Crapalachia: A Biography of a Place, by Scott McClanahan [March 2013]
[email eric[at]twodollarradio.com if interested in receiving an ARC]
Scott McClanahan spoke with James Williamson of the Oxford American about being an experimental writer, pet suicide, and the writer in the 21st century:
Most of my peers are looking for jobs where they can wear a tweed jacket, grow a weird beard, and flirt with twenty-eight-year-old graduate students. And you can almost see them. Though there’s a much richer and greater tradition of Sir Thomas Malory, one of the psychopaths of literature, or François Villon, the French poet—murderers, thieves, liars. Those are our people, if we’re doing it right.
There are some real gems in there. Definitely worth a read.
McClanahan also dishes on Crapalachia, which we’re about to shove out the door to get galleys printed. If you’re a bookseller or affiliated with the media and interested in checking out a galley, drop a line to eric[at]twodollarradio.com.
Here is an excerpt from Scott McClanahan’s forthcoming CRAPALACHIA: A BIOGRAPHY OF A PLACE (March 2013). The excerpt is included in Volume 1 of FREQUENCIES, our new biannual journal of artful essays.
Other work included in FREQUENCIES: Volume 1, is Joshua Cohen on the origins of the phrase ‘Open Sesame,’ Blake Butler + Morgan Kendall on the disintegration of the mind and memories, Tracy Rose Keaton on groupie-dom and consumer culture, and our very own Emily Pullen interviews Anne Carson!
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