#204: Sean Thor Conroe
Sean Thor Conroe on Bolsius Candles, Fan Made Leak Albums, Emile Zola's Germinal, and more.
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked Sean Thor Conroe to share a taste of his taste on Perfectly Imperfect.
Sean Thor Conroe is the New York City-based author behind the brilliant yet polarizing 2022 novel, Fuccboi, which I talked about during my editor recs back in May. As a non-reader (Alex is the real bookworm of the newsletter) I immediately fell in love with Sean’s writing style and cruised through all of Fuccboi in just two days, that’s huge for me! He also has a podcast about books called 1storypod where writers such as Tao Lin, Eileen Myles, and Bud Smith recommend him a book and they chat about it. It’s great. Sean is one of the most exciting authors to follow right now. Lucky for us, he’s here to share a taste of his taste.
Without further ado
🕯 Bolsius Candles
I don’t know how people read without candles. I’ll read without a candle—in the daytime, at the park, on the train. I do do that. But when I’m really going in. That’s the only way. At night, phone silented and out of reach. Reading for the duration of a candle’s burn. Thing is, in order to really use a candle, you’ve gotta have candles on candles. You’ve gotta be really strapped. Solid holder, with the wide, ashtray-like base, so you can balance it on random things. An armrest. Your lap. I throw down on these 45-count boxes of “perfect flame, clean burning, cotton wick” bistro candles from Bolsius. Polish brand. But you don’t even have to ball out like that, you can just go with the 4-count taper pack. Just make sure you got that solid holder, that’s crucial.
Parks are where it’s at. Where grass, benches, trees are. Sun. I tend to base wherever I choose to move on its proximity to parks. Went to the park by me the other day, hot day, a bunch of little kids were by the water fountain loading up water balloons. I mean damn. Love that.
🎵 Fan-made leak/snippet albums
I don’t know what it is about leaks and snippets that make em more compelling; maybe it’s that, even with artists on the biggest scale, there’s a long process of revision and re-recording that happens. And it’s creatively invigorating to remind myself of that. I’m talking about Ye, mostly (but could be talking about Carti, Uzi). The Jesus is King-era alternate tape Yahndi that leaked, from when it was still called Yahndi, I’ll still bump that. But more recently, this alternate Donda-era tracklist someone put together, “God’s Country.” It’s this weird, slightly illicit collaboration that happens between fan, artist, and listener. It keeps some of the tracks and sketches Ye made, then scrapped, alive. I like that.
Been trying to do stints, timed spurts, of total silence throughout my work days. It’s a constant back and forth, music or silence. But I tend to feel calmer, better about myself somehow, after I manage to be silent awhile.
📚 Germinal (1885) by Emile Zola
Recently bodied this. Old big French novel. Technically about the mining strikes in northern France in 1866, and definitely about that, but also just about life during that time. Scrapping in the mines. Living in close quarters, turning up in the village with the other workers. The implied stuff Zola looks at in terms of family structure, mating rules, social life. It moves like novels of that time, like the Russians, say, in how it roams omnisciently in that quintessentially 19th century way. But something about how he starts it, with the protagonist pulling up to a new town, homeless and hungry, and seeing him gradually integrate into the mining community… The intimacy of living in such close quarters… Idk, it’s counterintuitively spicy, I recommend it, it slaps.
Listen to 1StoryPod.
Check out his novel Fuccboi.
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