NYRB: Hi, I’m the New York Review of Books, and I’m joined today by Bartleby Willard and Amble Whistletown, author and editor of Pure Love & User’s Manual. Gentlemen.
Amble: Is this really the New York Review of Books?
Bartleby: No! No one reads us. Why would the New York Review of Books get involved.
Amble: To be nice? Do they take charity cases. Do you (to the NYRB) take charity cases?
NYRB: No. This is just pretend. It’s you guys talking to you guys.
Bartleby: Like always.
Amble: Yeah, but I got my hopes up.
Bartleby: Well, leave them on the ground for the moment. (to the NYRB) Ask us some questions!
Amble: Yes, please! Ask us something hard-hitting — so that we squirm in our seats.
NYRB: Very well. How’s the book coming along?
Amble: Wow! I wanted a tough question; not a slaughter!
Bartleby: The book is, um.
Amble: Yeah, definitely! It’s, um.
Bartleby: Well, we’ve finished several versions.
Amble: Yeah, and we just finished a read-through with many edits of the first section.
Bartleby: That’s the main section. The rest is replays.
Amble: I don’t know why we didn’t past that most recent read-through.
Bartleby: We were going to go over it once more, but then we didn’t.
Bartleby: Yes, let’s!
NYRB: Great. And then when you publish that most recent version, would you advise people to read it?
Amble: I dunno.
Bartleby: There’s been disappointments with some of the previous version.
Amble: Yeah, we’ll think we’ve done a pretty good job, and then we read it, and it’s boring.
NYRB: It’s for that reason that most authors don’t publish a book until they are certain it is ready to be read by other people.
Amble: Well, I mean, you’re talking about authors with audiences.
Bartleby: Exactly! Authors with a public. We don’t have that.
NYRB: Pure Love & User’s Manual is unique because it claims to be both Pure Love and a user’s manual for using Pure Love. Tell me, how can a book be Pure Love?
Amble: That’s part of our dilemma.
Bartleby: Our system is we have a notion and then we just go for it.
Amble: We thunder after it.
Bartleby: Right. We chase it while tumbling and flailing about!
Bartleby: We’re still chasing this one. How can a book be Pure Love? How can a user’s manual for Pure Love also be Pure Love?
Amble: The riddle haunts us.
Bartleby: It beckons!
NYRB: Tell me what you have so far.
[Amble: let’s finish this later]
[Bartleby: Listen: We’ll re-finish the book tomorrow and then do the interview; when it’s fresh in our heads.]