Karlos Rene Ayala
Karlos Rene Ayala is a study in contradictions. He has written and self-published a new book called Womanhood, which is dark and repulsive, tackling gluttony, sex and bodily functions—yet Ayala calls his mom his best friend (and put her on the cover of his book). His book strives to shock, but in person, he’s funny and chatty. He recently returned from a brief Northwest book tour with local performer Mom. You can find Womanhood locally at The Book Collector and Buff Castle.
How old was your mom when that picture was taken? How does she feel about the book?My mom was 16 or 17, I think. I don’t know how old she is now. For all I know that may be a recent picture.
My mother doesn’t know I wrote a book, and I would never intentionally show it to her. It’s too pornographic, offensive and gross. She thinks I’m always in trouble. She worries enough about me. I put her on the cover because I love my mom very much, more than anyone. She is my best friend in the whole wide world. I would love to someday be famous and be able to buy her a nice house and have her just relax and take nice vacations, but I don’t think I’ll be hitting The New York Times best-seller list any time soon, so I figured I could pay tribute to her this way. It’s sweet, right?
Why does the front of your book have the dates “2000-2008"?I wrote the first piece for it in 2000. It’s about fecal molestation, or facial diarrhea; it’s up to the reader. I began writing it while I’d been dating a girl who worked as a topless dancer. She never wanted to go bottomless because she has a big birthmark on her butt. Last I heard of her she was a crackhead. I wrote the last piece for it this year.
You seem to be simultaneously repelled and overwhelmingly attracted to women. Is this a fair characterization?Yeah, I am overwhelmingly attracted to women. Women are living monuments of luxury. Women are like chocolates—fine and complex confections. I find very little of the book to be sexist. I mean, the book is full of racism, coprophilia, dick, cock, butthole this, pussy that, you know? But above all I feel there is a lot of tenderness. I understand it’s abrasive, but so is just about anything else.
If you take my book literally, then I’d be a homosexual homophobe who loves to eat shit with candy silverware. The apparently sexist portions of my book are a very, very, very tiny piece of the content of the book. I wrote much more about a general feeling of filth with one’s self. I write a lot about loneliness, in general, not really my own and not really about how it’s sad, kinda more about how humorous a lonely person can appear.
Tell me about the book tour.The book tour wasn’t much of a tour. It was kind of a vacation. I needed a break from Sacramento. I got my local best bud, Hailey Chase [artist/musician Mom], and we tried our hardest to verbally and physically drown the Northwest in our shit. I think we did OK. We didn’t sell much, but we had the best time we’ve ever had in our lives.
I saw a girl that was at one of the readings in a coffee shop in Oregon, Coffee Crutch. She was this beautiful girl with a froggy voice and I wanted to say “Hey, remember me? You saw me do my thing yesterday,” but I didn’t. When I ordered my coffee, there was something weird about the way she accepted my order. There was some anger. I saw her spit in my coffee. I used their restroom and left a used toilet napkin in her tip jar. She probably enjoyed that, though.
The most positive had to be the last night in Portland. I landed this grindcore/noise show. Mom got added as well. We played with this woman from Austin, Texas, called Spaced Corpsed. She was the most exciting thing I’ve seen in a long time. She broke glass with her fists. Mom and I did our song and dance. Everyone hugged us afterward.
Influences?The city of Modesto, Harmony Korine’s book A Crack Up at the Race Riots, some of the horrible relationships I’ve been in, black metal, deformed people, the various plights and atrocities that minorities must endure, women, candy. Anyway, literature has had very little influence.
What’s the deal with your rat tail?I was actually going to cut off my rat tail. I guess I won’t, since it’s getting some publicity. I’m not sure exactly how long it is—long enough to turn people off. Originally, I wanted it to wrap around my neck so I could use it as a noose for a performance idea I had. It’s not quite there yet. I don’t know about the ladies. My book (even though it’s a masterpiece) and my rat tail aren’t exactly a winning combination.