The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

November 5, 2003

I'm writing to ask if anyone would be interested in publishing a book of
mine - any book. The last book of my work that appeared (besides .echo
which is only online publish-on-demand) was fifteen years ago, Disorders
of the Real, Station Hill Press. I've had numerous offers since then, and
every one has fallen through. I've had a couple of chapbooks out, one of
which never made it to the public. I would love to have a work that could
actually appear with an isbn number in a bookstore.

Almost all of my writing is online which doesn't preclude print in the
slightest; when my work has appeared in anthologies, it looks fine. And I
do my best (through anthologies I've edited, poetry/media series I've
helped run etc.) to support the writing community myself.

One book fifteen years ago, before my net writing or codework, seems
relatively meagre. If you're interested, you can have whatever profits
there might be (of course none), and my gratitude for your support. Please
write me back-channel; I'm embarrassed enough to inquire here.

- Alan

Don't listen to me.

I honestly believe the only truths that exist are discovered by people
between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four. After that it's downhill,
gone forever, all that teen energy lost in the fabrication of real-life
institutions harboring one forever. The adult world destroys insight,
theorizes endlessly, corrects and creates imagined wrongs, produces
hatreds and bureaucracies, rites and religions. Romeo and Juliet should
never have lived into adulthood; they are the first and last philosophers.
We learn later on in life to disseminate, dissimulate, hem and haw, build
up layers of scar tissue covering our mistakes, as I've said before, we're
carved into the semblance of a human being. But the carving is monstrous,
the thickness of the tissue - which isn't layered as many popularly
believe - is cancerous and filled with harbingers of future death. There's
no space for breathing, none for proper motion, we take medication only to
prolong our misery. The follies of youth are the birth of the world, rock
and rap head-bang the difficult meanderings of latter-day classical
composers honored for their ripe old age. Contradiction comes only later
in life; we're all born into clarity. Trust no one but yourself, preen,
move hard against and into the world, write forever. We take your
literature, call it stereotyped, sentimental, typical, mean, and turn it
into illegible stylings of problematic language, questions that only
answer themselves in the ugly dawn of old age. Hormonal fury drives all of
us; the rest is substance, paste, obsequiously crawling from one religion
or theory to another, desperately hanging on to the presumed final word,
or else talking about the journey of life, which should have ended long
ago. The elders lure the young into war and other disasters, while
decrying gangs which threaten their own territory. Revolution and eternal
questioning are the only truths, beaten out of the world, or forgotten, as
one hurtles towards the fourth decade of life. Kill the messenger in
yourselves; there's nothing more to deliver, not even at warp speed. The
internet brings the same old thing; it's already past its prime. Gather
elsewhere, go.

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