10 Readers

Gabriel Orgrease | Timmy Reed | Inge Qunhua | Matthew J. Robinson | Ann Bogle | Bruce Spear | Francesco Cirillo | Olie | Penny Goring | Momus

#1. GABRIEL ORGREASE, Mastic Beach, NY

Packet Boat Ride - Erie Canal Village 8-21-10 (7)This story is by my dear virtual writer colleague and friend Gabriel Orgrease, Manhattan man-at-arms, and restorer of tired buildings. I strongly recommend his creative laziness while absorbing my book, the visceral, physical way of reading without rushing into conclusions, without caving in to cavities, and, in Gabriel’s words, “with as much of life felt in between passages as between the worlds of words to be savored.” Thank you!

«I am thinking along the distance between the time/energy/effort that a writer expends to create a text, in this case your work, and the relative brevity that a reader ex- pends in reading and absorbing it. Though I am not a stranger there is something for me exotic and different in the experience in picking it up in the media of a book. I feel in it something akin to when I lose touch with my own work and come on it in a different setting, or wake up with a phrase written in black ink on my palm and I don’t know why, or what it means and I wonder to myself where it came from though it seems quite familiar. I feel the best way to read “Thank You For Your Sperm” is to read a little bit then fall asleep, wake up, read a little bit more, maybe best on a train where one needs to be patient to sit and doze off until the last platform and with the elm trees and sun that rush past, or on a slow canal boat pulled by mules, or in a dream a revival tent with nearby bird song that beckons one away from important work. Regardless, with as much of life felt in between passages as between the worlds of words to be savored.»

Writer Gabriel Orgrease after his recent purchase of TYFYS (via Facebook). GO blogs at Orgrease Crankbait. Photo: Packet boat ride, Erie Canal Village.

#2. TIMMY REED, Baltimore, MD

Timmy Reed BaltimoreFrom all over the US people are sending me photos and letters, letters and photos, and letters, and photos.

May 3rd: Baltimore, Maryland writer Timmy Reed absorbs “Thank You For Your Sperm” so thoroughly that the cover temporarily replaces his face. Also, he finds himself transported to Germany. Miracles that only books can achieve. Thank you for picking TYFYS out of the pile! If your face, demeanor or location are affected by TYFYS, please do not worry, everybody who’s been afflicted has eventually turned back to normal or perhaps you’re better off. Some readers of #TYFYS have reportedly turned into Playboy bunnies, others have morphed into enormous sperm. This made them very happy.

You can get Timmy Reed’s own collection “Tell God I Don’t Exist” here.

#3. INGE QUNHUA, Danish Visions, Second Life

Inge Qunhua in Second Life

Digital chickens are coming home to roost: Second Life, where my avatar Finnegan Flawnt once read and roamed, has embraced “Thank You For Your Sperm”!

Resident designer & teacher Inge Qunhua holding The Book on her island “Danish Visions” in the virtual 3D world of Second Life®. Inge has long been an associate of mine in another world, in my life as a professional teacher and head of e-learning at a Berlin business school. Her learning designs in Second Life are legend. As a non-virtual person, Inge (Knudsen) is a sinologist and also teaches languages at a Danish business school.

We don’t know if pirated copies of the book are circulating in the netherworld of SL but let’s hope not…When Flawnt “lived” there, he put his stories out as little books and he even had a monthly column in a newspaper created only for virtual residents, “Flawnt’s Virtual Views“. His texts, a running commentary to the first steps of a budding writer, included writing advice and were usually opened by a quote from his lookalike, Benjamin Franklin. Good times. About a quarter of the texts in TYFYS are from that time. — Thanks, Inge let us know how you’re getting on with the one and only digital copy of TYFYS and cheers to Denmark!

Matthew Robinson gets TYFYS#4. MATTHEW J. ROBINSON, Seattle WA

Says writer Matt Robinson: “Thank You For Your Sperm is the only book I know of that will thank you in advance for how good it’ll make you feel.” — I haven’t met Matt but imagine our meeting like this:

«Two writers sat down for a meal, carefully avoiding any talk of their art. They shared stories of their wives and children, of cars to let loose on the fast lane, of tech gadgets to play with as only boys play, exploring all keys and functions. They mentioned their fathers in passing and how similar they had become to them. They had a laugh, and when the pretty waitress with the blonde bun and the wide swinging hips appeared at their table, they flirted a little in tandem, kicking gallantries back and forth until the maiden culled one and appointed a winner of their innocent game, which made their three hearts beat faster for a bit, and the food that showed up on their table, better. All the while, as they were enjoying a full glass of friendship, they were secretly spinning yarns like giddy spiders. When they parted, with a manly handshake and a hug for the road, each had a good tale to tell.»

—From “The Serious Writer and His Social Life” in: Thank You For Your Sperm

Photo: Matthew J Robinson celebrating the arrival of his summer reading. Check out some of Matt’s own excellent work at online community Fictionaut or follow him on Twitter.

ann bogle -- pix#5 ANN BOGLE, St Louis Park, MI
In “Shoe Lace“, writer Ann Bogle ties John Barth, Tao Lin and Thank You For Your Sperm in one bundle, working like a master maker, like an American Rhiannon. Excerpt:

«… though I work in shoes, and if you compile others’ unseen and seen efforts, and especially, unseen appreciations of effort, it mounds to a collectivity not comparable to one team of swimmers who hit shore and penetrate one egg, as in John Barth’s “Night Sea Journey,” where one sperm or no sperm wins it per round, though the whole rod of spermatazoa swim in Speedos or linen eyehole tunics to their conclusion as a group. Thank YOU for Your Sperm, Marcus Speh. …»

Ann Bogle is the author of, most recently, “Country Without a Name” (Argotist, 2011) & said about me in an interview comment:

«A man, could also happen to a woman, but happened to you, someone with other profession, career, legacy of work already established, sets out, jettisons, approachably talkative, never annoyingly, upon a writer’s trail. I hope it is and will continue to be a trail that feathers gently as the course of a jet.»

argentine_tango_lessons_nyc_19#6 BRUCE SPEAR, Berlin, Germany

Photographer, professor and Tango dancer Bruce Spear and I have long been in a mutual artistic admiration society—in his comment on TYFYS he draws on parallels between my writing and the type of Tango called “Milonga”:

«I have long been your fan, but now the clarity of the CD has replaced the noise of the arena version, and in a bound copy I get to appreciate right away your care in sequencing, I’d have to say like the first few dances in the milonga, where one surveys the territory, all of it written, as I see it, in allegory:

1. Whitman
2. Catch-22
3. Corporate Life

I like the carefully measured turns, which I liken to the taming of energy in the service of precision.»

francesco cirillo with TYFYS

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

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.

kamukuraproxy.tumblr.com#8 OLIE from somewhere

I reblogged this picture from kamukuraproxy a Tumblr site, with the caption:


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

BESTspehSPERMPhoto: 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.

#10 MOMUS, from Osaka, Japan
momus show berlinI only found out about Scottish-japanese performer-writer-musician-trickster Momus via his darling, tongue-in-cheek “Precocious Young Miss Calloway” this summer. Myself a long-time Marie-Calloway-aficionado, I wrote to him. We exchanged polite emails and PDF versions of our books. Last night, I listened to two hours of Internet kitchen radio with Momus and his Berlin hosts. Sperm and sex (which came to Britain in the Annus Mirabilis 1963, when I was born, as Momus told us) were topics early on and the discussion, held up intermittently by Momus memorabilia, global warming & global leaking, kept coming back to sperm in particular, including my favorite evolutionary theory, panspermia, until at some point, accompanied by virtuoso Dutch mouth trumpeting, Momus urged the listeners to

«please buy “Thank You For Your Sperm” by Berlin author Marcus Speh.»

Alright! Despite Momus’ assertion that I «wouldn’t get too excited about this [the endorsement], because he came relatively late to this” (To Sperm? To Writing? To Radio? To Momus?), I am of course thrilled to bits, awed, blown away, momused.

Thank you for your sperm, Momus!

Photo: Momus (centre) between hosts of [Berlin’s radio on] hosts Adrian Shephard and Rinus van Alebeek in an undisclosed Berlin kitchen on October 2, 2013. Only Momus has earned his patch. Check out: Momus’ [blog & tour dates] & [Mrs Tsk*]. In his latest album,  [Bambi], Moondog meets Tom Waits meets Disney in Japan ([playlist][spotify]). His novel, [Book of Jokes]. Charming: [Precocious Young Miss Calloway by Momus]. Obscure: [Meeting Marie Calloway Without Adrien Brody by me] [Annus Mirabilis by Philip Larkin] [Panspermia at Wikipedia].

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