having some difficulty getting away from this book I’m reading, I really
should be working, but it’s just so… it’s thick and fun and effortless
and… nevermind what it is, spare me the embarrassment… but I do keep stopping
and turning it over in my hands, looking at it as a whole, and marveling
that it, or any book for that matter, could have ever made it onto the
shelves. It’s not a quality thing I’m talking about, the book’s really
freaking great, everyone thinks so (and not that I’m saying that consensus
means anything, rather that this book is really good and everyone recognizes
it, which is different than the usual brand of mucked-up consensus),
I’m thinking more evolutionarily, biologically about it. See, I have two
young daughters, Zoë and Trillian, and the difficulties with Zoë’s
development in utero—placenta previa making all movement on her mother’s
part for the last two months of her pregnancy dangerous to them both,
and ultimately necessitating a caesarian after six immobile weeks in the
hospital; and then Trillian decided to face her head the wrong way and
complicate everything, forcing most of the staff on hand at the Women’s
Center to be either in our room or waiting in surgery if we hadn’t delivered
in another 30 seconds, one kind doctor sweating away with the vacuum on
top of Trillian’s head, his back arched dangerously and one foot on the
table, pushing… then one hand with some really neat looking scissors,
a quick question to my wife Andrea: Can you feel this? and then snip!
and suddenly Trillian was out and everyone was breathing more easily and
I wanted to vomit and Andrea fell asleep. Everything was so dangerous
and so close, but still there they are, and Trillian is now at eleven
months standing unsupported and hewing to the Old Testament bit about
not one stone resting upon another,
our floors littered and relittered daily with the contents of every shelf
and other surface. And again about consensus: everyone says they rock,
my daughters. And again, not the mucked-up kind, but the objective reality
kind owing to the fact that they do, in fact, objectively and otherwise,
rock. They were difficult, miraculous things, like books, but… not books.
But they’re growing and becoming, and one day they will be released, hopefully
to an appreciative audience—no one really likes posthumous anything—and
go on their little signing tours or whatever it is they’re going to do.
And they’ll get older and older, need new covers now and then, possibly
a page or two tipped back in from time to time… every day a continuing
miracle, suffused and infusing…
Which, I’m ashamed to say, I kinda like. I
got the idea from Hofstadter’s Le Ton Beau de Marot, which dealt largely
with translation, and which is how I approached it. I thought about inserting
the original text, but then I’d have to follow Hofstadter’s example and
show you the steps. I’ve got limited space, and though it might not be
apparent, I’m trying to be brief. There’s close to fifty pages of notes
just on how I got from Point A to the crap above, and the original passage
was twelve pages in itself. I look at it as an example of a horribly proliferative
multilevel full-scale simultaneous assault on absolutely every system
of the body of the work. It killed it, superdead. And when something is
killed that completely, there’s no resurrection, even if the author was
Mr. J. Christ himself with Daddy for an agent and all the multitudes of
heaven and all the king’s horses there in the marketing department. Which
is to say, indirectly, that those twelve pages are now, irrevocably,
|i I want to talk about one
more thing here. I chose Duncan Linthicum for the artist in issue 1.2 and
threw lots of fits and even cried a few times to get my way when holding
my breath only resulted in my passing out and looking really stupid. I argued
that we should not present art that we comfortably and easily recognize
as such, not every time anyway. It is precisely because Duncan’s austere
and guileless work (which I admire greatly, by the way, I’m almost too enamored
of words to be able to use them effectively for communication) makes people
ask just what the hell is that supposed to be, makes them scoff at what
they suppose is naïveté in his overall vision—I’ve heard unkind
things about everything, can’t trust much of anything so I’m just trusting
myself here—it is precisely that people want to disregard it that I feel
I should press it on them. Duncan is not making art for us, he is making
it for our children. I respect and admire that, in that part of my reason
for my involvement with spork is that I hope spork will do much the same,
though indirectly, creating an environment for my daughters in which the
products of their parents are familiar and comfortable, a place where we
have set a precedent for people like us, and have not only left them the
history and literature of ourselves, but taught them how to read it.
Functional notes on Duncan’s work: I have originals, and no matter how faithfully we attempt to reproduce them, they do not seem to convey the sense of layering Duncan has accomplished with his pieces. I have chosen to go an almost absurdly obvious route in conveying the sense of layers by splitting the pieces into actual layers. I want the original intent to stand apart from the art of it, while still being able to present itself whole if the reader wishes to see it such. I told him what I wanted to do, and he said it was ok (And just so credit is given where credit is due, Richard did all the grunt work in the prepress department for the art pieces, both inside and out. I wish to publicly convey my deepest thanks. And Johnny Bavender has come through for us again, opening up his shop to us for printing of the covers, and not forcing us to burn our own screens. Let Johnny know he rocks. Tell him so).
But—and this is a big but—what we’ve presented here doesn’t do justice to Duncan’s work, and I cannot in good conscience present our version without giving you the opportunity to see the original intent. I wanted to be all punk rock about it, and Duncan was excited by the idea, since he’s a good sport and he doesn’t need us anyway, he does just fine on his own without worrying what impact his friend’s little zine is going to have on him, thank you, and furthermore he understands transition and impermanence, and so what we do doesn’t even apply, since essentially it does not exist… a thing that doesn’t exist based upon another thing that does not exist. The original versions were at .3729 and we’re at .3802 and forward is the only direction possible… so to even bother considering it at all is at best a stupidly futile gesture. Anyway… point notwithstanding nonexistence: I have chosen to include, separately, copies of the originals from which we created our oversimplifications. They’re going to kill me for it, but I like the idea and if I grease enough palms then everyone else will like it too.
So again I’m adding to the final text. I was finished, I was, but then suddenly
I needed to say more. It’s that I have some trouble writing about something
I haven’t started to do yet, hard to write the notes on construction when
I’ve not even begun constructing. I didn’t tell them this time. With
issue 1.1 I let them know that some subtle differences would exist between
the final proof and the actual printed version – but it’s late and I don’t
want to wake anyone up. They’re going to be mad at me, but I am the last
person to touch this before it goes to press, so what are they gonna do,
(Note from Timothy) Drew, before you take this tone, you should remember that you’re one of the people working on this, not the one. Go ahead, be personal, say your piece. But do not presume to speak for Richard or Aaron or the authors spork has chosen. Speak for yourself and make it clear that the opinions are yours, that the reader is by no means to infer that the views expressed herein… etc. And do not use my correspondence in your text. (Note to Timothy: Ha ha!).
 I’m never going to get anywhere with this if I start digressing this badly this early.
 Which is strange, since the books I read to her in utero were about Picasso and the Bauhaus, with special focus on Itten’s color theory, hoping she might get a handle on it where I have not.
 Implicit assumption: this thing we are discussing possesses skill, style, craft, care, originality, love, joy, honesty…
 And where does validity come from anyway? Who are the keepers? Society and culture have simultaneously homogenized and fragmented, we're presented with and awash in ubiquities that form the backdrop of our world to such a degree that they go unnoticed, unheeded, and really have no directly tangible impact upon our lives any more (take the Backstreet Boys away and who's going to notice? They're not like oxygen you know); while the concept of individuality has become meaningless in that more and more people are simply unthinkingly individual, acting instinctually—and to my way of thinking, to actively be an individual, one must be conscious that they are setting themselves apart from something (implicit understanding: I think the idea of individuality is silly and flawed, truly a thing that does not exist without observance, but a thing also negated through observation; individuals made common through categorization, identified and lumped together into an—admittedly amorphous—group [individuals]), which then throws it all out the window, and so these people are something else, to whom validity, conferred by whatever authorities deem themselves fit and proper, is a nonsense word so absurd it doesn't even make an auricular presentation of anything more than random phonemes. I do not imagine that this does not apply to anyone reading this, can't imagine that someone comprised of the ubiquities and actively identifying themselves as whatever they use to set themselves apart is going to have a copy of spork or look at a copy and think the ubiquities would confer validity upon it and thus pick it up, so I feel o.k. about making my sweeping generalizations (generalizations that are not meant to identify anything or categorize. Let's just have that said, shall we?).
And so, I still wonder why I have so many reservations and so much trouble
trusting myself in these decisions I make with spork. I don't believe
in validity coming from anything other than intent and honesty in execution,
yet I'm hyperconscious of the factors that may come into play once these
books are out of my hands into the world, uncharacteristically concerned
about the words people might use—kindly or no—when they refer to this.
Let me put this into perspective, say it another way: I sit here reading
comic books and watching Star Trek, worried about what will be thought
by the literary crowd, a crowd I cannot be counted among, people to whom
I have nothing to say, people who have nothing to say to me (paths that
do not cross, is what I'm saying, I am not a likeable sort and really
do relish my delusions). The majority of my friends don’t even read—I
mean they can, they just don’t. Fewer of them write, and when they do,
they’re so enamored of whatever it is they put on paper that there’s no
point of trying to elucidate to them the difference between writing and
putting letters and words on paper (I’m equally hopeless when it comes
to visual arts, but when I paint, I have the sense to call it by its correct
name: Putting Paint on a Surface), so it’s odd that I would be involved
in producing a quarterly, literary or otherwise. I write letters to authors
I like and ask them please can I republish their work, binding it properly
this time, and despite the fact that I understand copyright and ownership,
I am always just as confused and angry when I am told by some faceless
prick to whom I did not write that no, I may not republish their artist's
work. See, I'm some kind of -phobic, but I'm not sure what. In my
house with the wife and kid I know how things are and I like it, love
the books and know I've done a good job, but everything's different outside.
I fear, even on my own porch, that I'm the only one who understands that
validity really is nothing more than the meaningless series of phonemes,
and that the thing these phonemes want to represent is a thing that dies
every second and must be remade, regiven, reconfirmed. It has everything
to do with the person at whatever moment. The songs that make no sense
anymore, even though you loved them so; that's what I don't want to make.
(Clarification: I just realized the tone, how this might be coming across—I
tend to get overly objective with myself and fail to understand that my
objectivity does not come across and audiences subjectify their incorrect
perception of a piece as subjective rather than objective extrapolaiton,
thus subjecting my wide-eyed spew of random phonemes to many layers of
unnecesary confusion and damaging indentification—so just in case . .
 One bit of advice I’m consciously disregarding—out of spite, being a brat and telling people who will never read it that they’re not the boss of me—is the ban on adverbs. I don’t like them all that much, and they make me cringe (though not as much as some other atrocities I find far too often in most things) whenever I come across them more than a few times per page. But I don’t like being told what to do, and so I’m trying to use them too much, forcing myself to go f2f with it just because people are telling me not to. Cause, you know, sometimes…
 And I just found a small-diameter circular saw, the type which I had been told repeatedly did not exist, but which I knew had to be somewhere, as there is such an immense need for such a thing in this world. Lightweight, easily maneuverable… oh thank you, thank you, thou blessed gods of power tools.
 I like the word Hematapoesis.