Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Addressing Beck Part I

On the Enchanted Island.

("Me? Moi? A snob?" the actor exclaims in surprise, feigning ignorance of everything said to him. Yet the role of beau-monde parlor-player was written for him.)

1.) "The business of delivering a magazine . . . is awfully busy."
A professional, I guess, because you're in an office; in the machine, part of the apparatus. You include a shot at zeens, a reminder that "I'm up here, and you're down there, somewhere."

But writing, making, and distributing a zeen takes more work than being part of a paid staff, financed by rich people, with the various roles divided among specialists. (Or do you design the cover yourself? p.s. Does anyone?) A zeen is more of a challenge to one's creative talents.

I'm currently making a poetry zeen. I designed the cover, have begun hand-coloring the copies of it, each with different colors so that each will be unique. The writing is my own, as is the layout on the pages. Yes, I'll do the actual "production," including stapling. Then I'll get them into stores, which will take legwork. I'll publicize them-- maybe give readings. I'll be their chief salesman. I hope the zeens will be eye-catching. At their best, zeens are works of art. The artist has a personal connection to the work-- the zeen a true and full expression of his ideas and talents.

The independent writer and artist; writer as producer and salesman: What could be more Jeffersonian-- more American? NEW CRITERION, by contrast, pretends to believe in the American ethos and the free market while being indirectly subsidized, through its 501c3 status, by taxpayers like myself; while operating through federal government regulation and largesse as a prestigious welfare case.

2.) "Dive and "Upper East Side."
The two words used together are an oxymoron. There are few enough dive bars left in gentrifying Manhattan. The Mars Bar, if that's still open.

3.) "Controversial"?
I've read the ULA's press clippings. (Even the NYTBR profile presents us as controversial.)

4.) Dave Eggers.
Funny, Stefan, that you emphasize Eggers as "one guy." You divorce The Dave from his context. He's more a literary entrepreneur than a writer. He's a publisher. He leads a literary movement. He's noteworthy not for his writing but because he represents a mentality prevalent among a particular class of writers. One can't understand his writing and the nature of its appeal without understanding his mentality and the way it's packaged.

5.) Zeens and blogs.
You have a marginal understanding of print zeens ('zines) and what distinguishes them from blogs. (I've addressed the differences on this blog.) Yours is an easy dismissal of an aesthetic you don't understand. The ULA is hardly redundant. (Can you name another lit group like us?) We represent the best writers in the print underground, many of them very unique. There isn't another writer in the country like Wild Bill Blackolive in lifestyle, philosophy, and voice. Mark Sonnenfeld's work is so unique, a cross between mail art and poetry, we're unable to put any of it on our site!

What's redundant are 400,000 trained middle-class MFA wannabe writers who are polished, tame, and all sound the same.

(To be continued.)

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