16th minute of fame was working overtime on a Friday. 6:30 P.M. and the
coffeepot already scrubbed and overturned, nothing, nothing.
The Unknown chewed a pencil as it worked out its rebuttal
to Sven Birkerts incomprehensible claim that the word, when printed,
was a thing, but, when on a screen, merely a manifestation.
A rose is a thing is a manifestation, wrote the Unknown,
knowing that a Stein reference was likely to irritate Birkerts by reminding
of the excesses of feminist modernism, that even his precious canon had
elements of discomfort for him.
The Unknown would not be invited back to Plimptons
anytime soon, not after the dent they had made in his booze. And the blonde
had earned them no points with Sarah.
The Unknown had disgraced themselves in front of Talan Memmott by persuading
his date to give an impromptu reading of their work.
And they never made it to Australia.
Still the Unknown hung on. The hypertext had been thumped by theorists,
but the writers had barely dabbled in it before moving on to more esoteric
genres such as vispo, codework, kinetic poetry, and video game and comic
In contrast to those Web artists whose emphasis was on great design, on
interactive audio, or on the mutilation of syntax, the Unknown had pushed
no boundaries and done exactly what the Web was designed for. And the
elusive fact that the writing was good (nobody could ever quite focus
their attention enough to understand the significance of this) had drawn
some serious critical attention in Europe, a slow, but steady, sometimes
irritating building of a scholarship, like a
mote in the canons eye.
The Unknown finished the letter to Sven, and
went downstairs and out to a bar. Unknown, thought the Unknown, staring
up at a hockey match on TV.
What the fuck am I doing with my life?