JERSEY CITY — In the second part of 2666 (2004) by Bolaño, Amalfitano, a philosophy professor losing his mind, tries to understand the secrets of the universe through an esoteric geometry book. But instead of reading it, he hangs it on a clothesline, outside, and watches it get rained on—blasted by the elements. Bud Smith’s writing embodies this idea: he out here, in the world, working at his oil refinery job, making art around his life rather than the other way around.
I linked with him at his spot last weekend in Jersey City to talk about Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (1930), which I happened to be reading when I saw, via Twitter, that he too was reading it. Faulkner also worked manual labor for a time—as an operator as a chemical plant, while writing this book.
Bud Smith is the author of Teenager (Tyrant Books, 2019), Double Bird (Maudlin House, 2018), WORK (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017), Dust Bunny City (Disorder Press, 2017), Calm Face (House of Vlad, 2016), among others. He works heavy construction building and destroying chemical plants, refineries, and generating stations. He’s on Twitter @bud_smith https://twitter.com/Bud_Smith. Here is a list of his stories online: https://neutralspaces.co/bud_smith/. He is currently writing a serialized weekly series called Good Luck, from The Nervous Breakdown.
Intro song: "when i die" by yamz https://soundcloud.com/yeums/when-i-die
Sean Thor Conroe is a writer and carpenter living in Harlem. Bars in X-R-A-Y, Soft Cartel, Expat Lit; forthcoming in Philosophical Idiot, BULL Lit, Back Patio.