Monday, June 09, 2008

Imagining the Future

SOMEONE has said that I lack imagination. Nothing could be further from the truth. Who else but myself has imagined an entirely new and renewed literature?

What American literature lacks today in its totality is a sense of excitement. To create this excitement, we'll need exciting happenings, exciting works, and exciting stars. This is the path that was taken by the underground in the form of the ULA, and which needs to be taken again with increased vigor. Already, the various segments of the underground have produced novels with better writing (Larry Richette's), more entertainment (Wred Fright's) and more social relevance (James Nowlan's) than the tame offerings from the conglomerate mainstream. Our shows have been unspeakably wild.

On the other side of the room stand the cliquesters of the status quo "mainstream," tightly clutching their books, laptops, and Guggenheims lest anyone take them away. "We're entitled!" they claim. And, yes, they are very literary, these proper persons, no question about it. In their way, they love writing. In a quiet way they're even able to convey this. Francine Prose wrote an entire quiet book affirming how to quietly write and how to quietly read, without once raising her voice.

That's the problem! Literary writing and reading has regressed to a hard-core upper-middle class isolated in their plush condos or homes with Fluffy the cat sleeping on their laps and pristine books whose pages turn carefully to be placed in preserved condition back on the shelf or coffee table as if in a monastery. "Lions, Harts, Leaping Does." Well and fine, for them, but they've detached the art from human society.

Displace this crowd? Why not ? WHY NOT?!! Push them aside if they refuse to move. Shove them into the wings. They've had their turn, these proper beings. Allow please a more exciting variety of poet and writer to stand at the front of the stage.


Tom Hendricks said...

The status quo has almost killed literature. We're stuck with pompous novels - the cutting edge of 1851 and ten page essays padded out to tome size.
No mainstream publisher dare publish anything that doesn't safely fit into an already established genre.
This is not the golden age of literature. Those in control have brought literature to an all time low.

King said...

Well, Tom, "Harland" for one would disagree. I've been thinking about H's motivation if he's NOT actually our friend Mr. Moody. That would make him even more of a monomaniac than I am, were that possible!
Why the expense of so much energy against a nobody like me, Harland?
What's bothering you so much about what I have to say?
To me it's truly a mystery.
(Oh, you'll run off long before I "ban" you-- the idea of which is hilarious. No, that's what happens to me. You don't seem to get it yet.)

King said...

p.s. It's true that my strongest opponents over the years have been themselves nobodies with a slave mentality, and apparently low self-esteem to accept a crowd of untalented fakirs above them without a whimper of complaint.
No, I'M the threat, a guy with no influence whatsoever, other than my voice. Meanwhile the posers keep accummulating the awards, advances, and accolades, to the detriment of we who enjoy reading and hate to see the marginalized position of American literature today.
It's due to a lack of will, a lack of courage, from people like you, Harland. I'd say. Very appropriate that you refuse to give your name.
Will you go through your entire life this way-- crawling anonymously?
Say what you will about me, but I unflinchingly say what I want and accept all brickbats thrown my way.
That's what it means being a writer, chump!

Harland said...

"Who else but myself has imagined an entirely new and renewed literature?"

[the demi-puppet claque laughs mechanically at this great truth, the puppeteers at the cocktail party who manipulate the apparatus of their artificial mirth quaking in fear lest their books and laptops and Guggenheims are wrested from them]

"What American literature lacks today in its totality is a sense of excitement. To create this excitement..."

We'll do nonliterary things, exciting things, star-type things.

"Already, the various segments of the underground have produced novels with better...(bla bla bla)...than the tame offerings of the conglomerate...bla bla bla"

I keep saying what about so-and-so and you keep throwing Francine Prose in my face. I'll tell you a secret from deep behind the lines of Puppetville: nobody, but NOBODY, in their right mind gives a shit about Francine Prose.

Plush condos, hard-core upper-middle-class -- you're coming in on the FantasyLand Express, as usual, I see. And Fluffy the Cat, too.

You're right about me running off. I'm about ready. You're the biggest fucking bore on the internet, and that's saying a lot. I got what I needed from this little sortie. Maybe I'll just go back to lurking.

Anonymous said...

go to harland's profile and blow up his license image it's fake.

Anonymous said...

"harland" is an anagram for a writer Wenclas has repeatedly gone after.

Harland said...

That's right. I'm Andar Hl, the Hmong Physician who was awarded the Young Penis Award by the Greater New York Area Cocktail Party Suppliers Association.

Harland said...

No, I'm Darla Nh, Vietnamese-Jewish siren from Minnesota, recent Puggle Finalist.

Harland said...

No, I'm Han Lard, who with Skoal, his faithful Dookie bud, plies the space trails in search of lucrative adventure.

Harland said...

No, I'm Dan H. Ral, studious former Editor of the Law Review at Yale who, while falling off a log one afternoon, earned an undeserved MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop.

Harland said...

No, I'm Handlar, yes -- author of the Persnickety Lupus serious of childish mysteries.

Harland said...

No, I'm Land Rah, unsung brother of Son Rah, white guy musician with soul extraordinaire.

Harland said...


No, I'm DNA Ralh, former punk zinester and now a low-level apparatchik with The Establishment.

Harland said...

No, I'm Lad Harn, the book-writing dog. I like caviar sprinkled over my Mighty Dog.

Anonymous said...

You're an unfunny zit on the ass of the biggest bore on the internet. Way to go, dude.

Anonymous said...

Harland's pretty funny, actually.

Gramercy L. Whittier said...

Harland, dear boy, the "yummy" canapes are waiting.

Harland said...

You're an unfunny zit on the ass of the biggest bore on the internet. Way to go, dude."

Dude, you're a bumper-sticker exeleutherostomizer like the King. He probably has a job for you somewhere, either in the PR department or, you know, in one of those satanic mills he's spent his humble workingman's life slaving away in.

John said...

King, if you accepted all brickbats that come your way then you wouldn't delete posts, which you have done.

King said...

Please. I've deleted one out of a thousand, if that.
Meanwhile I'm banned and blackballed everywhere except my blogs.
Re Harland. I am curious about this character's motivation. He's putting more time into this blog than I am! (I'm on-line roughly one hour a day, four or five days a week, and have other blogs. I scarcely have time to read thirty comments, much less respond to all of them.)
Harland has been writing some of his posts elsewhere before posting them here (editing them, are we?), as shown with the post of his I temporarily deleted, which he quickly put back up word for word.
I suspect Harland has a personal grievance against me for something. Why else the time and energy invested?
What does he have to prove?
If he WERE Mr. Moody, that would be understandable. But if he's not, then. . . .??
Oh yeah, he's going to run off. He's already making excuses for it.
He told me his style doesn't match Rick's. I've been thinking about whose posts I've seen on-line before, elsewhere, under a different fake name, which remind me of those here.
I think one reason he's here is that he has issues with himself as a writer. His real grievance is with himself.
What we know about you, Harland, is that you're a fundamentally dishonest person. I'd guess this character trait isn't confined to this blog.
We also know you're not the most courageous person around. You're a mouse regarding the lit-world, who can never see more than one move ahead. The type in a chess game who will always, ALWAYS, take the offered pawn. It's how your mind works, and so you're thrown by someone like myself, who maybe goes too far in the other direction, taking risk after risk.
Are you afraid of me? More likely you're afraid of yourself. You wear the mask of Harland because there's really no "you" there. You don't have a real name because you don't know who you are. You believe in nothing-- least of all yourself.
I'm a "monomaniac" because I believe in what I'm doing. This concept is beyond your understanding.
You hate and fear me because I'm everything you're not. I have principles and live by those principles; I'm forthright and honest; and I'm not afraid of anything. The only way you can confront me is with a mask.
Very bold, you pretend to be, but I can hear your knees shaking.

King said...

Re Harland's dishonesty.
Well exemplified in his/her statement that this blog is "boring."
You've obviously been reading it for a long time. You've spent thousands of words and many many hours the past month reading it and posting on it. Now it's suddenly "boring"?
You're beginning to sound like a little girl playing with her dolls, suddenly miffed with her friends and deciding to run off. "You're all so boring!"
Best run off, little girl, before I figure out who you are and run you off myself!

Harland said...

It doesn't take that much time, King, to respond to you. I don't really break a sweat.

"Harland has been writing some of his posts elsewhere before posting them here (editing them, are we?), as shown with the post of his I temporarily deleted, which he quickly put back up word for word."

That one, yes, I did preserve, precisely because I anticipated that you might delete it. I suppose "editing" qualifies as a sign of counterrevolutionary tendencies. Too.

I don't have a personal grievance against the King. I have a personal interest in the health and well-being of literature, an interest that encompasses both its preservation and sustenance in a culture that barely values it and innovative approaches to it. I spend time here, King, for a couple of reasons, which I already have explained to you but will again: I find your limited ideas about literature far more offensive than I find the appalling tendencies of corporate publishing. Also, your sophistry -- your inability or unwillingness to respond to valid objections or questions raised by your argument -- presents an irresistible target. Remember, readers: I have asked the King what he values in a piece of literature (no response). I have asked the King what he abhors in a piece of literature (no response). I have asked the King whether he believes that anywhere in America there are good books being published, good journals publishing good work, good writers publishing good books, good programs educating student writers; whether he believes there to be a single thing present in the American literary landscape today that he finds worthy of praise, admiration, or even wonder.

But the King believes in conspiracy more than he does in art, in fact he believes in conspiracy more than he believes in the economic realities of publishing, which are, believe me, more than sufficient justification for any amount of anger about the state of literature. But when you finally peel back all of the layers of the King's onion, you find at the kernel two arguments, the continued exposure of which is, you could say, the purpose of my presence here. These arguments are:

(1) The only writing that has any relevance is "underground" writing, which is to be defined by the King (i.e., when I suggested to the King that work published by FC2 might constitute "underground" writing treating subject matter with which he might find himself in sympathy, he dismissed the outfit as a "token" small press).

(2) It's all Rick Moody's fault.

I think that's the root of my own unhealthy fascination, on full display here. The words "Rick Moody" have this magical incantatory effect on you, King. It's like jabbing the exposed nerves of a frog with live electricity: watch you twitch. What it all comes down to, what it's come down to since the very day of the very first ULA press release, is: Rick Moody shouldn't have taken that Guggenheim. He's too well educated, too well born, had too many opportunities, has too much money, too much success. As Philip Roth (another person whose success you abhor) once put it concerning the mind of the "loner" contemplating the object of its predations, "You are you and I am me and for that alone you must..." He finished the sentence "die," but in your case let's temper it to "pay." Moody must pay, because you're the King. You continually mischaracterize what I'm doing as a "defense" of Rick Moody, when what I'm really doing is defending my capabilities against your incapacity, defending talent against envy, defending the hard work it takes to write a book or three or four against the ease of setting up an incoherent blog read and appreciated by similarly disaffected no-talents and blasting away at the things you can't have not because of some "conspiracy" against you, but because you can't write.

I don't have issues with myself, either as a writer or as a man. I know who I am, and I know how I got here. I don't blame anybody for holding me back and I don't credit anybody for my successes. Some people helped me and some people didn't when they could have -- so what? I'm not fundamentally dishonest. I haven't revealed my identity (as I've told you before) exactly because of the sort of thing you threaten in your closing line -- "Best run off, little girl, before I figure out who you are and run you off myself!" You like to threaten with that big mouth of yours, King, and I don't think it's cowardly or unmanly to decline to expose myself to threats. The other reason I haven't identified myself is because to do so would deflect attention from the meretriciousness of your arguments and place it on the scrutiny of my own work, which is irrelevant. I'm not the one on the soapbox. We don't need to decide whether I'm a good writer or a bad writer, an establishment writer or a coterie writer, a smart guy or a dumb guy, a guy who gets Guggenheims or a guy who's on food stamps, in order to know that you're full of shit.

"What we know about you, Harland, is that you're a fundamentally dishonest person."

No, what you know about me is nothing. That's the point. I'm nothing beyond the logical and articulate demolishment of your arguments. If you could muster logic and articulacy you might actually have a point, gain allies, persuade people. Besides, I've told you a little about me and you keep telling me that what I'm telling you can't possibly be true.

"It's how your mind works, and so you're thrown by someone like myself, who maybe goes too far in the other direction, taking risk after risk."

Well, as I've said before (no response), there are artistic risks, and then there's the risk of the guy who dunks his head in the punchbowl and then wonders why he's escorted from the party. You fall decisively into the latter category.

"I'm a "monomaniac" because I believe in what I'm doing."

Which is what, exactly? Exactly what are you "doing"? You don't want to save literature. You don't even want to make literature. You want to be a LITERARY REVOLUTIONARY.

King said...

OF COURSE there are good books being published today. (Many which aren't; witness Richette.)
Funny that it's you, "Harland," who introduced Moody and keeps re-introducing him, probably because it's an easy way to sterotype me.
Yes, the publishing industry has problems, you admit. But what are you doing about them? Anything?
You're the type who sits back complacently in your armchair reading the New York Times going "Tsk, tsk." But you're not going to change anything.
My impetus is more immediate.
Yes, I actively work for change, and if this pisses off the cliquesters and turfsters, so be it.
My main points about lit's corruption and stagnation stand.
Dishonesty? OF COURSE you're dishonest. Your very presence here is dishonest. How can I treat you like a man when you don't behave like one?
Obviously I'm enough of an enemy in your mind-- far more than the establishment you tsk tsk about-- for you to post many thousands of words against what I'm doing. Yet not enough of an enemy for you to confront openly.
How else am I supposed to react to someone opposing me under a false identity?
Yes, you DON'T put yourself and your writing on the line, as I do.
Curious that you didn't hesitate to demand to see my fiction. "Let's see it!" you screamed.
But where is yours???
Your behavior is not proportional and it's nothing if not cowardly.
Yes, I'm "putting you on the glass" as you've been doing to me.
Fair play.
As it is, I'm like a man playing chess against someone whose pieces I can't see-- while you see all of mine. Easy then for you to "rip me to shreds" so smugly.
Anyway, I'll address your point about "good" books and writing in an essay soon to go up on Happy Lit. I trust you'll stick around long enough to read it.
(Curious, if I'm the one being shredded, why you sound so resentful, weepy, and defensive. Ideologically brave behind your mask, but then, not really!)

King said...

p.s. As you know, the Guggenheim is but one example of the widespread way the upper classes continually game the system, in field after field, including literature, to screw everyone else.
What am I saying that's not true?
Should RM have taken the Gugg? Of course not!
Should Mr. Roth have received $40,000 last year-- their largest single payout-- from a tax-free oprganization ostensibly set up to defend dissenting writers?
Of course not!
Are my objections to this continual behavior mere envy?
Nice to think so, I guess. Easy to dismiss anything I say if it all boils down to simple envy.
Let's rush to defend the most privileged writers in America against that little known blogger! He's such a threat!
"That Tom Paine-- he's so envious!"
To quote Mr. Paine about someone like RM who gained much undeserved sympathy, "He pities the plumage, but forgets the dying bird."
We live in the context of economic collapse for millions of this nation's people. That's the context within which I've lived much of my life-- within which I write.
So sorry if it makes me sound envious.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

p.p.s. You'll note that this outraged critic of myself, himself engages in personal attacks-- and so I can't write, I'm crazy, etc. My actual points are addressed only in the most slighting way.
Probably because if we discovered who this person is, we might find that he/she has a personal grievance against me, and so his real problem is not with the rebellion per se, but with my personality.
Which is not a convincing argument for the reactionary side, sorry.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

(I'm actually enjoying myself with this debate. Funny that the imperious pose of Mr. Mystery has dropped, and this bowtied literary writer is now descending to calling me "full of shit."
That's better! Let that phony mask of gentility drop, Goneril. It would make this discussion a little less boring.)
(Uh, what happened to all of Harland's fans? Are they now abandoning their champion?)

Anonymous said...

We're bored, actually.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

And defeated.
(Your champion seems to be unhorsed and lying in the dust. So sorry. And I've barely hit her/him with anything, yet.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, King. You're a funny, funny guy. And about as predictable as a calendar.

King said...

TODAY has been named an Official Demi-Puppet Day of Mourning, for the demise of one of their own.
A curious case, really. The individual had me on the ropes, ready to deliver the "coup de grace" in our joust with axe or sword-- then made a key, awful blunder which gave the person's identity away to me-- which only I would've picked up--whether through overconfidence, or, subconsciously wanting me to know who was delivering the blow.
An old streetfighter like myself doesn't require many openings.
Despite obvious intelligence-- very obvious, admirable intelligence-- the person doesn't understand what I'm doing; is caught in the mindset of a low-level apparatchik. Intelligence gone to waste.
What strikes me is that anyone-- "Wandering' included-- would be surprised that I'm a partisan for my view of things! Keep in mind what I'm attempting to do. Also that I'm not an "objective" critic (as if such being exists), but a promoter. When I grow tired of trying to wake-up mothballed literary folk, who exist in a vacuum of ennui and cluelessness, I'll be on a lot somewhere selling used cars.
Newsflash: The first thing New Lit has to do-- the first requirement from a marketing standpoint-- is to STAND OUT. To be different. Which is what the Soft Skulls of literature notably fail to do; do not even attempt to do.
If we are to have New Lit placed alongside Status Quo Lit, it has to be different in every conceivable way.
I'll be addressing this question on my Happy Lit blog, for those who DO have imagination about the state of literature today.
In the meantime, "Harland" should feel free to contact me privately, if there's any interest in peace.
Possible concessions on my part?
I'd be willing to shut down this blog for a couple weeks. . . .

Ben said...

So who is he?

Anonymous said...

He's bluffing. That's why he won't tell us.

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