Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000, 4:08 PM
From: The Unknown List
To: The Unknown List
Subject: I hope youre not changing too much in The Unknown?
We think weve figured a program for you with benefits. Right now
you are part-owner of the Unknown with a total of fifty shares. Without
on the board, however, you are powerless to make any decisions. Now what
were proposing is a slow phase out with a gradual recompensation
in character placement options. Meaning that, for each share you sell,
name will replace either Scotts, Dirks,
or my own. This isnt the only option although I suggest you discuss
it with your broker. See, were streamlining
and downsizing. We want the whole Unknown to be a slim volume, were
gonna whittle it down to like, 20 pages. An easy read. And were
taking out the links because were tired of being typecast as hypertext.
See what Im saying? Now we appreciate the fact that youre on
the list and its great that every couple of months you check your
email and toss off a response or an aphorism or epigram or a whit of
wisdom—even though youre from Frisco so
all your babbling about energy and crystals doesnt
really cut the mustard the way a nice Wrigley Field
hot dog wouldyour hot tub just doesnt hold water, pal, but
go ahead and be a golden boy: we dont have as much sex as
you and the sun doesnt come out every day in the midwest. No sir,
this summer every day the temperature has been between 50 and 110 without
beat, so we dont know what its all about kissing on Golden
Gate Bridge when your mouth still tastes like garlic from the like 20,
restaurants you went to that day alone. Free love? Sorry, man, were
up to our elbows in our own mystique and were actually very conservative
here in the heartland. You know were jealous, but we cant
ride each others coattails forever. Sorry you couldnt make
it to Chicago for our reading and sorry you couldnt manage to
toss off a newspoem while you were writing 10-page fluff pieces for
the big paper out
there, I forget the name. Yeah, youre all laid and successful and
we keep struggling, keep touring, keep giving interviews. How many times
I woken up with a hangover next to Rettberg in a hotel
room that smelled like an ashtray all so we could break ourselves
promoting your famous novel? Ill tell you: 1,234 times on the nose,
man. Well, weve
all got our hangups I suppose. So next time youre all messed up on
X and Thai sticks groping some teenager in a midnight warehouse while
decibels crank out enough synthetic beat to bring down a 747, just thinking
to yourself the world is my orange, just be glad, man, be
glad, because paradise is full of palm trees and one of them just might
coconut on you someday. Mark my words. In the meantime, well, just keep
writing weird messages and scaring off the European scholars who have
to the mountaintop to take counsel with us:
the Unknown. We never wanted to be the subject of someones dissertation,
and we sure dont want to go to Europe.
Good luck to you.
w w w .
w o r d
w o r k
. o r g
On Sat, 26 Aug 2000, Frank Marquardt wrote:
Thank you Dirk. You have indeed found my keys and I
thank you. I think you. I thank you.
If I may offer: You are not sad, you are instable,
disoriented, and open. Fucked up!
P.S. Im stuffing all the post-structural dogma I can
find up my anus now. Fucked up!
Dirk Stratton wrote:
you know, its writing like this that makes me sad that you did not
contribute more to the unknown. or am i sad that writing like this ever
made it into the unknown in the first place. or am i sad at all? perhaps
i need a new prescription. but i dont have a doctor. just a health
center (why arent there health margins, thats what i want
to know). and every time i go to the center they give me a new doctor,
dont really have one. of my own. in fact, until i have a doctor who
has had to give me at least two prostate exams in a row i doubt i will
consider him or her my doctor. speaking of prostates, i almost always start
to say prostrate or actually do say it and then have to correct myself.
should i be worried about this?
i have your keys: F# and middle C.
As an early contributor to the Unknown I know a thing or two about prescriptions.
The first thing I know about them is that youve got to go to your
doctor to get them. Are you going to your doctor? Think about that a
The second thing I know about prescriptions is that they can really treat
you royally. I mean that. Ive had prescriptions that have fucked
me up. Yeah, I was open, disoriented, and not very stable. Fucked up!
I will tell you something. Not all of those elements are necessary for
a great prescription or for great hypertext. Great prescriptions can put
to sleep and if youre in pain thats all you want. Instable?
No. Disorienting? Maybe. Open? Is your subconscious open at night? I put
to you this: Fucked up!
Are you asking us a question about theory? Fess up if you are. Its
Thursday night and Scott Rettberg is a drunk man. What I think youre
asking is a question about degrees. I say about 25 degrees. But thats
if youre facing West. Are you facing West? If youre facing West,
the answer to your question is 25 degrees. The thing that I want you to
consider though: How many degrees is the answer if youre facing East?
Is being fucked up a natural state or an unnatural state? Or both? How
does the natural state change when you shape it using theoretical prescriptions?
And how do you know youre using those prescriptions when say perhaps
youve done some reading of dense and tedious texts but youre
creating something employing your creative processesnot just you but
a bunch of yous, each in his own place (ours is a mostly male work, after
all)naturally, but those theoretical prescriptions (as you put it
so tenderly) are a part of your creative apparatus (or appendages or muses)?
Finally, I would like to enlist your help. I have lost my keys. Will you
please come over and help me find them?
I have not the prescience to answer your other considered question.
I thank you and submit,
Nikolaj Fournaise wrote:
Hi guys. I am writing a dissertation (finishing essay for the MA) on
your story, so I hope youre not changing too much in it in the
next 8 months or so. If you are, could you please let me know?
I wrote to you before, but I kind of lost sight of the essay for a while,
but now Im back.
If youve got a few minutes I would love a few comments on how influenced
you were by ruling hypertext theorys focusing on the
post-structural dogma. It seems that HT theory from the outset has prescribed
disorientation, instability etc. as necessary for good hypertext writing.
So, I know its hard to say, but to which degree do you think you just wrote
and structured the text as it came into your mind, as the medium made it
feel natural to you, as opposed to using theoretical prescriptions?
If I can help you in any way, dont hesitate to ask,
Nikolaj Jensen William