Our membership stands currently at 36-- a good, manageable number. We've paused here for just a few weeks as we prepare for the year's events and take stock of where we're going as an organization. We have a great number of sympathizers. We'll likely this year grow to 50 without difficulty. Much beyond that would make us unwieldy-- until we further raise our profile and strengthen the ULA machine, so that we can adequately promote people.
We've expanded the pool of places from which we draw candidates for ULA membership. At first we allowed in only those who'd signed our original Protest against the Guggenheim-- our starting point as an organization; our Notice that we'd walked off the reservation: our Declaration of rebellion against the mainstream. Then, for a while, we considered only zeensters. Now we look for good underground talent everyplace.
There are two somewhat-opposed dynamics at work in the ULA.
1.) We seek to unite unconnected overlooked writers (and others like illustrators and performers with connections to a broad definition of "literature").
2.) At the same time we MUST maintain our uniqueness-- our difference from other lit-groups and writers. To want to be in any way like standard yuppie demi-puppet writers would be suicide.
In possible members we look for several things. Among them:
A. ) Talent-- though talent isn't enough. Some former ULAers were brought in solely for their talent, and proved a disappointment; were incapable of fitting into a team concept.
B.) Spirit of Rebellion. Moderate writers are everyplace-- found on every street corner. We seek those not satisfied with things as they are, who want to change literature and the culture.
C.) Commitment-- eagerness to be part of, and work for, the ULA team. (And patience with what we're doing!)
E.) Understanding of ULA Philosophy.
There are individuals we can aid and promote to some extent without their joining the ULA team. In members we think first of what's best for the ULA. As we grow, those we're able to bring "officially" into the ULA will increase. Many are under consideration. Each ULAer is free to recommend candidates for the team. (Though at the moment I'm behind on info mailings!-- one of the motivations behind this e-mail.) Right now we have large and growing interest by people in the message and organization of the ULA.
The Underground Literary Alliance has been hard to get into and out of. The six who left did so voluntarily. All those on our membership roll have aided the ULA cause in some way, some greatly, even if they're presently silent. Some have talents we've yet to adequately utilize-- which doesn't mean we never will. We need to make quick moves-- quicker than we've been doing-- but we're still early in the chess game.
Finally, this isn't an organization where we exist only to serve you or others. We're no one's slaves. We want not minions or dependents, but equals. We offer a framework for writers and others to work within; a set-up that allows undergrounders to help themselves through working to strengthen the ULA.