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Smoking With Daphne Buter

(Read the Story) March 15, 2005

Daphne Buter

Art by Marty D. Ison

We at SmokeLong adore you. How’s that make you feel?

Hey, this morning I read my email and found these questions. You got me thinking about this one. How does that make you feel? I have to be honest to you. It makes me feel you guys don’t know me well enough. Gee, we have a lot of snow out here. I did some nasty things with all that white cosmic material. I’d build a snowman with a phallus in front of a home for elderly people. Then an old man came outside the residence and said my snowman stood upside down. He was very old, you know? His eyeballs where already covered with death.

The title, that phrase, “he wrote 16 pencils empty.” I could write the rest of my life and never come close to its wonderfulness. How did it come to you?

It was easy. When I knew I wanted to be a writer, I just had to marry the oddest guy of Holland to make sure I had something freaky to write about. It cost a lot of pencils though. By the way, do you have MSN?

I love “the book of my husband”-so much more than “my husband’s book.” Your phrasings inject such meaning and richness into stories. Do they come out fully formed-or do you have to play around with them a bit?

People keep telling me I have a weird sense of humor, especially when I am deadly serious. But you didn’t say that, did you? When you are Dutch like me, the problem with writing English to me is that words play with me a lot. Words are weapons, and absolutely the problem that is responsible for the book of my husband. I begin a Blog about this today. The whole world should know about the book of my husband. It will change the internet because it is such a big hoax.

His writing of the book has changed the world. It’s created a world, too-a world of notes, suitcases, empty pencils. How long can she stand it? Or is she in it for the long run?

Isn’t it me who should try to stand it? 🙂 Yesterday I sneaked into his room when he was taking a nap in the snow, naked, to study the effect of frost on his dreams. Anyway, his room looks like a jungle of papers. It is a big room. He needs a big room for his big manuscript. I stood there, surrounded by notes. The floor covered with sheets of paper. A table in the centre of the room, and on it a Mount Everest of papers. In the sink, bundles of papers. On the walls, huge papers with messages meant for Einstein and Jung and me. And between all this lay maybe 593 empty pencils on the floor. A big silence fell over my heart then. It scares the hell out of me. I thought: this room is a symbol for every neverending manuscript on planet Earth. This room is the reflection of the urge to write of too many.

Word on the web is you’ve got one rockin’ blog. Any tips for those of us seeking blog stardom?

Yes, I always have tips for everyone. For you I have this tip: visit my blog often and say that again, and leave messages there to save my soul (I love messages there because they give me the feeling I exist), and pray for me, but pray harder for the people I write about. Here’s the link: http://buter.blogspot.com/.

About the Author

Daphne Buter lives in the Netherlands and was born and raised in Amsterdam. Publishing house De Bezige Bij & Thomas Rap published two of her books. A novel: De Blauwe Prins. In 1990 and a collection of short stories: Alle Vogels Van de Wereld. In 2000.

A translation of a Dutch short story appeared in Snow Money [print US]. A translation of Dutch short story appeared in Cadenza [print UK] in April 2004. A few months ago Daphne started writing short stories in English. Five of these short stories appeared in the Ezine FRiGG in April 2004. One short appeared in Edifice Wrecked. Forthcoming: Mindfire accepted two poems translated from Dutch. Dicey Brown (US) and the print magazine Night Train (US) have both accepted a short story for publication.

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

This interview appeared in Issue Eight of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Eight

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