Listen: For better or worse I read a ton of books, & I am treated to the growth of presses, the sophomore-slump of authors, the brush of writers with greatness & the heavy sink of a hole in a book that opens & will not shut up again. So when you read what is a book that is a book like xTx’s Normally Special, forthcoming from Tiny Hardcore Press, it is important to write of it where everyone can see, & where people can learn to read the words that are words that mean so much.
from ‘The Girl Who Doesn’t Know She Has Everything’:
A part of me inside a part of you but you didn’t know it yet. Not then. Instead, you kept on crying whenever you felt so lonely it made you want to swallow pills, cut yourself, say yes to boys. If you had known I was there, waiting to be born, maybe it would have made a difference. But you didn’t. It wasn’t time. You had to keep falling down. You had to endure everything that would eventually become scars.
I reviewed xTx’s chapbook from Safety Third Enterprises here at BigOther, & while I shortly stated my enjoyment of that chapbook & the words that xTx uses, reading Normally Special is seeing that chapbook amplified, exploded, opened up like a star blooming.
from ‘Marci is Going to Shoot Up Meth With Her Friend’:
I know that no matter how cute I would be or how pretty you thought I was, you wouldn’t reach across to touch my face.
If all I want is lying beside you and you not wanting that moment to stop, even with more than enough clothes on, is that not such a small wish that could be granted?
The stories in Normally Special are artfully connected, linked by thin chains like those we hang around our necks with wrecked-love at their center. The book moves fluidly, shapes as it goes, & doesn’t ever leave us feeling severed. If Roxane Gay’s editing is to blame for this book, then glory be to her reader-eye. Or if this is just where xTx is headed, hoorah, I love following these blooded tracks in the sand. & if this is what can be expected from Tiny Hardcore Press, I am game to read the next & the next & the next. Understand that this is bone goodness wrapped in massacres of lovely, & if I wasn’t before, I am now an official fan of xTx.