WHILE the Beats, underground pioneers, are among the ULA's influences, we've made several advances on their strategy. It would make no sense to mimic them exactly. We've adopted from them not so much their pattern as their spirit of change.
First, the ULA is an actual organization; a tighter community.
Second, the ULA seeks to maintain control of our art. In DIY fashion, we make the decisions ourselves about the means of production, distribution, and presentation of our writers. (In the Established lit-world, even a notable like Jon Franzen is really just a paid whore who must comply with the orders of his publishing company.)
We are quickly putting the pieces in place to be able to offer to writers everything the conglomerates offer them (except the token advance!); publication, distribution, and more important, promotion and publicity, without which no writer can find readers.
We'll do this in non-hierarchical fashion, without compartmentalization and skyscrapers.
This will work only if writers THEMSELVES avoid compartmentalization, and become actively involved in every step of the process. Working together as a team, success will come easily.
We represent a new way of thinking about literature. What's sad about the mandarins on stage April 17th at Columbia University is their outmoded style of thought-- THEIR way or no way. To us, their ideas look ridiculously obsolete because they ARE obsolete. Their behavior as unquestioning cogs of the machine is rote learning showing no creativity. They're so enclosed in their box of conformity they can't see this.