12.18.2010

Shaun Gannon has written a really fine echapbook here. He worked very hard on it, and I think you'd be happy if you read it and I know he would be too


I recently came across an echapbook by a writer named Shaun Gannon. The echapbook is called Casual Glory; or Macaulay Culkin Does Nothing (Pangur Ban Party, 2010) and it is an echapbook not entirely concerned with titular Macaulay Culkin's vomit, but the vomit--its unspecified origin, its color, its repetition--does shimmer wisely as you happen upon it.

Narrator, Macaulay Culkin, glows with brilliance when posed against Gannon's towering backdrop of solipsist characters and sinister sentence-glossolalia. The 10 individual works of Casual Glory--each succeeding as an image-intense ephemeral--offer readers an attractively gnarled reverse of their expectations regarding the familiar:

[Phil kicks open the back doors and hops out. His upper half is covered in scalpels and needles and he is carrying his head in his arms. The bus driver shouts, "How about you miss?" The woman in the sedan yells, "I'm stuck, but I'm not hurt." The sedan explodes. "Still fine," she yells from the flaming wreckage.]

Darkly humorous, Gannon's written illusion of happiness situates readers comfortably in a disquieting world; a luscious spread offering many criticisms against society and its ill-shaped faculty. Gannon does not demonize reality; he only posits the upsetting bits that are most frequently overlooked . . . the egocentric methodologies of today's modern human beings. With the exception of Macaulay Culkin, every character in Casual Glory is a solipsist. The self-important stranger at the donut shop who cuts the front of the line to demand fresh creamer. The ex-wife lying about the real father of her children for personal convenience. The lack of concern from medical professionals regarding the narrator's glowing spots:

["So . . . there's no cure? This is permanent?" The third one shrugged. "Is God permanent?" The flat doctors chuckled and swiveled out of sight.]

Involuntarily existing among these methodologies, the narrator's functionality as an embodiment of selflessness, feels thwarted. For a human being to progress forward in society, Shaun Gannon's artfully controlled Casual Glory suggests that one must first develop the ability to move backwards. For Macaulay Culkin, "doing nothing" offers an opportunity to recognize one's ideological state. Here, he directs readers toward such recognition:

[Think to yourself, I am blinking consciously. I am seeing consciously. I am sitting consciously. I am breathing consciously. I am thinking consciously. I am thinking consciously. I am being consciously. Now stop.]

Visit Pangur Ban Party today and read Shaun Gannon's Casual Glory; or Macaulay Culkin Does Nothing.