Here is a thing I made, but first we may need to understand the following:
1. Some books do not need a publisher, other books should not have a publisher. This book assumes the latter.
2. Only four copies of this book were supposed to exist. Two were supposed to be mailed to writer pals, two others were to go to artist pals. They were all to open the manila envelope, laugh at the cover, mutter to themselves, “I can’t believe he spent so much time making this thing.” Then they would laugh again, throw it in a corner, and find something else to read. And I would be happy.
3. Then that didn’t happen.
4. I made a silly cover. Then I wanted to make it better.
5. Then I stopped sleeping and became very jittery for a few more weeks.
6. Then the thing got out of hand and I didn’t know what was happening.
7. I roped in other people to jump on this train, and they did so enthusiastically, taking quirky little surveys and sending nice notes. Thank you for that, good people.
8. I sent emails all over the place and researched the best places to self-publish a printed book. Lulu wins, if only for aesthetics. A lot more interesting sizes, binding options, and cover styles. My book is square! A square book! Ha! Cool.
9. A book page was created and marketing ideas got bigger, sometimes insane.
10. “Maybe, I should get famous writer X to blurb this book that is a copy & pasted blog and is meant for four people.” “I wonder what the NYTimes will think of this?” “I should probably buy a nice tie for all the interviews I’ll be doing.” “Should I start drinking champagne in first class even though I prefer beer? What’s the writerly thing to do?”
11. Underneath the project there were both high and low ideals, and everything in between, but each pure in and unto themselves.
12. On the low end: Complain about this thing that I’ve committed my life to.
13. On the high end: Maybe other young writers feel the same way sometimes? Maybe they will laugh at the way this guy in this book complains about this thing he’s committed his life to? Maybe that will make other young writers feel like this thing is not so hard all of the time?
14. In between, there were other very abstract principles: This is an anti-blog blog because cyberspace publishing makes things invisible, yet permanent, and so suspicious. How does that work? It’s etched in the “cloud”? I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that. Why would we want our art lingering around forever? Maybe it’s better just printed so it can be enjoyed until it naturally rots away and is forgotten. That way it has a beginning, middle, and end. A life. Now this thing is on a series of servers somewhere and just goes on living, never dies, but may someday become corrupted or distorted or something worse. Cyborg art. Zombie art. Maybe that means a new kind of art? Impermanence is one of the most important parts of creation, right? We create knowing it will not last forever, right? I don’t know. Who knows these things? I think I should buy some beads.
15. Sometimes those abstract principles got out of hand: “I’M STARTING A REVOLUTION!” “This isn’t fiction, this isn’t criticism, this isn’t poetry, this isn’t a blog. It’s all them things wrapped in a ball and mashed together like Play-Doh! Who does this? Who does this! BAM!”
16. When I started to believe in this revolution garbage, I’d start to act it out by standing on my couch and looking super proud.
17. Then something would happen and I’d suddenly get really embarrassed: “What was that all about? I need an aspirin and a diet root beer.”
18. Luckily, my wife was there to witness those times and she’d gently remind me that she’s seen me do much more embarrassing things in places far more public.
19. In the end, this thing kept being created and I did not know why. I could not stop it. It just happened and now it exists.