Dream Whip #13

Dream Whip #13

by Bill Brown

So much magic awaits in the pages of this fat, rubber-banded, handwritten object of hand-size art that I don't know where or how to start. In Chicago, where Bill lived for a while, he makes burritos and hands them out to poor people. He finds adventure in witnessing such spectacles as the demolition of housing projects, "and it's sort of obscene to see them like this, all these private spaces, these bedrooms and bathrooms, laid open to every snoop riding his bike down Lake Street. Who'd have guessed that they'd rip open these scary old projects and this is what they'd find inside? Who'd have guessed that these buildings would bloom just before they fell?" With an eye for architecture and for nature's malevolent motives (a body of water is "homicidal," the wind is "wanted for murder"), he most of all bears an understanding of the ineffable, the borderline-eerie, that zone psychologists call the liminal or in-between. By this I don't mean exactly the realm of ghosts he went hoping to see in the abandoned state penitentiary in West Virginia ("ghost hunting, like bowling, is a group activity," but he saw none). I mean his understanding of what can pass invisibly between people, or between a person and a place, like a breath. The intricate sketches by our author of places he's been and people he has seen ("Train to London. This guy noticed me drawing him and moved") bespeak his careful understanding and big-hearted, inevitably sad regard for life. Just one more. Having packed up and left Chicago, "I get back to Texas and I can't sleep. I lie awake with my light on, listening to the house creak and the air conditioner switch on and off. Downstairs, my parents are getting old, and upstairs, I am too. The girl from Seattle sent a letter with her zine. She said she'd read one of my zines and that she'd recognized something in it, the same restlessness that makes her restless, too. So she wrote, just like I've done a million times before. What else can you do? You play P.O. Box numbers the way other people play lottery numbers "hoping for a payoff, but knowing all along the odds are against you." This is gold.