The Unknown: The Orange Line.
  Date: Friday, 16 Oct 1998, 13:49:37
From: William Gillespie
To: Dirk Stratton
Subject: Being a slacker

I think the whole project, as we’ve envisioned it, will come about, and we will have books in print before Y2K. When society collapses, we hope to have copies of our anthology on both American coasts, even if it’s just one copy for Frank and one for Danielle. The Unknown will serve as the handbook for the happy reconstruction years to follow.

It will take a lot of work. With Scott handling the hypertext (it’s no longer clear how we can ever finish the hypertext. If we stopped writing now we’d still need to proof typos and dead links for at least a month). But I see no reason to ever stop, I think we should continue adding to it all the way through next year’s actual book tour. Lots of photographs of us as well. I also think The Unknown should be consciously technically literate, and become the first popularly known hypertext novelists (cyberbeat postlit) Even though I, and I imagine you, am nostalgic for simpler times when writing was done exclusively with paper and ink, it is simply no longer those times. More people use computers than books, I bet, and, face it, when you sit down to write, you’re not writing. You’re typing. If you use a word-processor, you are into data storage and manipulation, and the more you know about computers, the better off your writing will be.) And me starting a publishing company so we can publish all your writing, there will be still be stuff left for you to do, when you are willing to make more time. I’ve already started thinking about what you could be doing.

Like arranging for us to get more readings across America.

So learn computers, start making money (you will be making money for your writing, not against it), and finish your degree.

And save that wine. We’re thirsty men.

Dirk Stratton wrote:

Prep Lumber includes poems that were in my MFA thesis (then titled “the Aleph Point”, a la the Borges story) but it is a completely different animal. Over the years, I’ve entered various First Book contests and have continued to revise the MS as new poems became available, as old poems seemed too sickly to continue living, as the rest went thru endless chains of revision. So, until the book gets accepted by a publisher, the MS will be in flux. As such, nothing is set in stone. Also, as a way of preserving the possibility of winning a contest someday, I would prefer that entire MS NOT be published in the Unknown anthology so that I could claim that not all the book’s contents had previously appeared in “book” form.

As for the ordering principles: frankly, after a slew (slough?) of lousy unsatisfactory titles I decided to use Prepositional Lumber which was a title I came up with years ago when I discovered (during the writing of a dedication) that three prepositions strung together made a nifty pun. To justify the title I next had to come up with a way of dividing the poems in the appropriate prepositional group. The first and the third sections are the strongest (as far as rationale is concerned). To=destination (Capit Suite, which is all about journeys and such) and To=Attention to, (the lament). The “For” poems are pretty much that: poems for certain people, even if I don’t mention that anywhere. The way I justified “By” was to imagine that every poem used some formal scheme, thus the poems were written, in part, “by” the formal decisions. Recently, I’ve become much less enamored to these rationalizations and so I don’t know what to call the damn book. (By the way, the Lynx designation on the file comes from the name of some contest for which this version of the MS was created—I didn’t win the contest.)

Anyway, hope this info helps. As far as I concerned, the best answer would be for an entirely new order of my poems to appear in the UnKanth; after all, order frequently dictates meaning/perception and we can use all the meanings we can get.

I must admit to feeling a bit like the total slacker of the group: here you and Scott are putting tons o’time and effort into The Unknown and I can barely get prepped to teach my class every MWF. I hope this will change, but I can’t see how in the near future. Those damn oral exams, and all. Which, if I can get that monkey off my back by January, as planned, then I might feel so liberated as to suddenly become an Unknown workaholic. Let’s hope.

See you on 10/22!! I presume you and Scott will bunking down at my teensy pad? I only have one futon and one double bed which means we could share, or someone’s got the floor. We’ll work it out. Oh, a warning: I have absolutely no (and I mean NO) substances anymore. (except a half bottle of red wine which Cyn and I will drink tonite, I am guessing). Unless my fed loan $$$ comes in (and that looks like at least 10 days or more away) I won’t even have $$$$ for food, much less recreational diversions. Prepare accordingly.


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