PUBLIching in an Asemic Economy of Words [VI]: Procession of Mollusks | Amazon watershed | Mirtha Dermisache | ARK & Seraphinianus Codices | +|'me'S-Pace

there's nothing to see here move along | ||  || |   ||| ||     ||||| |||        | || ||| ||||| |||

flood spectra          

left foot

best in show

i'm still [HERE] | at PLYmouth & ANCHORage | the only thing luring me to the ISland city these days are d0gs & babies |

i did our taxes a few days ago & whenever i do taxidermy i'm usUally re:minded to write an «Economy of Words» post though i forgoT last year because we were probably off in the BUSH somewhere | i do [THIS] to remain transParent & for the beneFIT of anyone crazy enough to want to start a small prESS all on their own [without the help of any University or other funding organizations] | this is the REALity of the SITᑎation:

calamari financials

maybe IF [following the trend] i'd sunk more clams into the press the lines might've conVerged or flatLined by now but i can't be CERTain & i didn't have a steadY dayjob for most of last year so don't have any more clams to SINK anyway & if i did i'm not sure i would as i've been having mixed eMOTIONS lately about «PUBLIshing» [for reasons i'll get to thrU this post] | you have j to thank as the main beneFactor of Calamari Press these days | & brother Markus who offered his services to keep the press operating while we were off gallivanting in the bush | it's not as bLeak as it seems though—books are still moving & there's inVentory yet & 2010 has been good so far with Sleepingfish 8 & all | i won't belabor you with line items except to say [for the benefit of indie presseés] that of the EXpenses most of it [6276 clams] was for printing & 1212 clams for postage | of the INcome 3090 clams came directly [from Paypal] & 925 came from Amazon & 710 from SPD | the INcome was ACTually a bit more than that but i let brother Markus keep some of the clams that dropped while we were in the BUSH | who was it said «a drop in the bucket, motherfuck it»? obviously it's not financial gain that motivates me | i'm just happy to have these books in print | that's what it's ∀LL about in the end is THE BOOK |

& we eat & live well | i'm not complaining | every morning i pinch myself to make sure this is ℜ∃AL | one benefit of running a small press at a net loss [far bigger than shown above when you consider all the INdirect costs that aren't listed in the graph] is it's all a tax write-off | we got most of what i lost back in the form of a tax refund which i just used to get 2 plane tickets to Nicaragua next month [so the jet fuel burned can melt a few more icebergs] |

Navigating the Amazon

Adam Robinson who also runs an independent press [Publishing Genius] posted a similar graph yesterday on HTMLGiant wherein he laments the evil nature of Amazon etc. | i've come to a certain peace with the entity known as «Amazon» | Amazon is what it is: the largest watershed in the world | it will inevitably absORB you so there's no sense in piddling for another tributary as all roads eVentually lead back to THE AMAZON | for the sake of sanity you may as well just go straight for the mainline—what most [lazy] people think of as «the SOURCE» | of course the real SOURCE is Venturing all the way ᑎpstream to the writer or publisher to get your fix but most people aren't that adventurous [even if it's just a matter of clicking a few extra buttons] | but people can't be to blame | «you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink» |

Brent Cunningham [of SPD—my disTRIBUTor] was nice enough to chime in & say some things likening independent presses to organic/local farmers so we should correspondingly raise our prices like they do—treat our product like specialty/artisan books—something i've delved into before [in my last Economy of Words disclosure & also whilst ruminating at Tierra Madre last year] | i feel the same way about books [& art & anything for that matter] as i do about organic/local foods—i'll consume them if they are affordable & we can afford it & it makes sense to [also not included above under direct expenditures is the 951 clams we spent on books last year] | you make the best choice given your options WITHIN REASON & you also make the cheapest & easiest choice as your time debating these things & knowing the true nature or carbon footPRINT of a product is worth X aMount of clams | as a «publisher» my objective is to get as many books into as many hands as possible so i keep the pricepoint optimized toward that effect | what's important is not what happens in the change of hands but what goes on behind the êYês [upon reaDING] | who was it said «It struck him as curious that one should have to use his eyes in order to find out where his hands were» also said a cotton-pickin' mouthful | in scrutinizing how proDUCT sleights hands we not only lose sight of which nutshell is hiding the kernel but also what the KERNEL tastes like |

as an artist i feel slightly more conflicted | there's a certain logic whereby pricing your art too low you give the perception that it's cheap [not to mention that you won't make enough to pay the bills] | but if you price things too high then only the elite will be privileged enough to buy art | it's a fine line | on one hand i'd want my art [& book objects] to be affordable to people i know & i don't know a lot of folk that could drop more than a few hundred clams on a work of art | on the other hand you can't put a price on ART so it doesn't matter what you charge | & the idea of people buying & «owning» art is weird if you think about it | & PENnies are ridiculous too | they are not worth their weight in Cu | in fact fuck nickels & dimes | ART should be FREE or it should cost 10,000 clams but nothing in between |

i guess i'm just TIREd of THinking about all these businessy things | at some point you just have to do what you do naturally & if people buy it great & if they don't fuck 'em | as a consumer you can spend all the time in the world contemplating the footprint of every piece of fruit you buy at your local market but at the end of the day what sells it [for repeat customers anyway] & makes it all worth it is the TASTE of the fruit itself | i'd rather concentrate my efforts on making tasty book & art objects that are true to their nature [with no additives or artIFIcial flavors] & not worry about the ugly business of marketing & selling the fruit | maybe that makes me a bad «publisher» i don't know | this whole circle-jerk business of people promoting & selling themselves or their wares or their «friends» is what really gets me down about this book business | it'd behoove me to buy into all it but honestly i don't see how most people live with themselves | i'd rather fail gracefully than succeed using such tactics | even measuring «success» by the number of BOOKs sold doesn't make sense to me | Justin Taylor & his HTMLGiant entourage are imploring everyone to buy his new book so it will make the NY Times Bestseller list | that seems about a silly a reason to buy a book as i can think of | they say it will be good for him & the comMunity of independent presses & writers or some such thing but ¿will it really make us better writers? ¿will it really make for better LITerature? it's a filthy business this trying to wag the dog with it's tail | i don't even know if that's the appropriate saying to use in this CIRCumstance but something about the logic seems skEWed to me | being a bestseller is a conSEQuence not a reason or even a motivation | the book itSELF is the raiSin [d'êTr∃] | buying a book ≠ TEXTing some ### for an American IDOL VOTE | unless i'm getting old | it pains me to even string together those 2 words that have become a household brand | it pains me to use or see the word TV [in art] or the name of a show or video game or website | i'm only saying these things [HERE] because here is not art | this is a PUBLIc billboard | i can't get past the title «Shoplifting at American Apparel» even though i'm sure it's poking funny & all in the name of ART & if he did ACTually shoplift at American Apparel that in itself is the art & doesn't mean i need to read the book | Tao Lin is the ART object not his books—you can't confuse the two | i might read his words online or on his blog but i still hold the book to be a sacred object | it used to pain me to say AMAZON but i liked the word & context of it before the brand came along & it eventually won out | i scringuint & brainfart when i read books with conTEMPorary brand names & pop culture references | buying a book won't even buy you the words con[s]T[r]ained within it's pages—only READing it will release them unto you | & BUYing art won't make you an artist | or maybe me NOT buying into the hypocrisy IS hypocrisy | don't take my word for it YOU be the judge | this graph isn't about Justin's book so much as the GENEral trend in shameless proMOTION i'm seeing these days that is running unchecked | i haven't read Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever yet | when i do i'll actually talk about what's inside the book which i linked to above | look into it if it's your thing [contemp/pop cult/hip lit] & get it if it looks interesting & you want to read the next big thing before it becomes the next big thing & hey at least «no Zapf Dingbats were harmed in the making of the book» & the cover seems like it's in a good place |

The Procession of Mollusks

there's 3 things i won't EAT: 1. Brussels Sprouts 2. Beets & 3. Cauliflower | some have reasons or stories behind them others may be geneTIC aVersions | it doesn't mean i can't get over them | i like the word BRUSSELS SPROUTS & want to like them | i want to be at a cocktail party & say «ummmm ¡THIS! ¡IS! a tasty BRUSSELS SPROUT | ¿you know what they call a Quarter Pounder® with cheese in France?» | i've never PARleyed in a circle jerk but i imagine it must be AWKward after | i'm just saying these things because i like the look & sound of the words stRung together | the bLocco of TEXT they form | [THIS] is all just an EXC[E|O]RCISE | it's method ACTing with language though it's text-onlY—HTML at that so it's somewhat conSTRAINed | i've been getting 1000 uniQUE VISitors a day lately to 5cense | i don't know if that's a lot |  it seems to have dropped off since i've extrACTed myself from «social NETworking» circle jerks | i do find it interesting to see STATs on what STRINGs people are looking for though & i'm feeling a pressure to keep dishing out more heaps of strings though i don't know who 99.92% of you are or what you're expecting to find | there's no T&A or gosSIP of POP culture here | the top search string leading to this site is «DEAD DOG» | 768 people were searching this site for dead dogs last month | the only CONtext here is ME|ME & mine êYês & what they SEE & eVen that has nothing to do [conTEXTually] with what i do on the written page | there's nothing to see here move along | ||  || |   ||

flood spectra

flood spectra

these words aren't ℜ∃AL | they are just filling [this sPace] | giving the spiders something to crawl on | to a spider this post is all just words to weave it's web from | it doesn't make the neural connections | the spider is a librarian that doesn't read | maybe the words are ℜ∃AL & living but it's not a TRUE reflection [of an ARK CODêX or some other OBJET] | it's tasting without eating | it's eating without consuming | i bLog for the same raisins i run | i don't run in any circles | these days i run bridges & i don't bLogroll | if i start to feel a movement aFoot & i'm a part of it my kneejerk reaction is to detach & stick to a rock [just high enough above the tide line to be safe from starfish [which are not even a true fish]] & devour my own brain for sustenance | ¿did i mention i'm sad about J.D. Salinger? sad for what fame did to him | i don't think Salinger knew the etymology of «publish» is «to make public» | or he didn't fathom the implications | people ought to be more careful of what they wish for | ¿did i mention i'm not running the marathon? i like the idea of running 26 miles just not with 26,000 other people | & we'll be in Nicaragua which makes it logistically difficult |

the above diaTribe is all to say too many people are patting eachother's backs & saying nothing but nice things about eachother's books such that it's impossible to know what to read or not to read anymore | you're better off cracking a few spines at random | here's one i'm reading at the moment that i haven't hEARd much chatter about:

The Procession of Mollusks by Eric E. Olson

Procession of Mollusk by Eric Olson

Duncan Barlow sent it to me a while ago so i guess it's not completely random | it's one of the books from his fledgling Astrophil Press | the likes of Brian Evenson & Laird Hunt say some nice things about the book on the back cover which are good people to blurb it because Eric E. Olson comes off [on the page] as a prodigy of the 2 | or think the bastard offspring of Lewis Thomas & Raymond Chandler | & i can see why Barlow would want to PUBLIsh it as it's reminiscent of his Super Cell Anemia which i talk about at the end of this post & Hunt is spot on to compare The Procession of Mollusks to Twin Peaks—it has that campy made-for-TV feel to it but at the same time you know Olson [like Lynch] is capable of far more he just wants to hold your attention & entertain [which he does] | & cliché as it is Evenson is right to call it a «romp» because that's what it is | it's fun & sleazy & sleuthy but also cerebral | it getting me to thinking some about our spineless cousins the mollusks—perhaps the most overlooked phylum despite the fact that it is the best-selling marine phylum on this planet | & i'm not just saying all this because calamari are mollusks & Duncan Barlow has been in Sleepingfish & i dig his music | i don't know anything about the author Eric E. Olson but from reading his book so far it's like he's is a closeted marine biologist that had a lot to get off his chest in the name of art | it's no easy feat to incorporate scientific concepts into literature & still have it be engaging & not gimmicky | i TRY to do this but more often than not i tend to get carried away | Olson manages to stay focused & keep it relevant & readable whilst infusing his deep-felt love for MOLLUSK | at the appropriate times he sneaks conceptual content in—sometimes in the guise of actual scientific papers or ARTicles that characters in the book had written | here's the sorts of things you might expect:

tribal sex

& there's parading & murder & investigating & rehabilitating & comas & bone-popping sex | it takes place in a small town on the Oregon Coast that is obsessed with all things mollusca especially during their annual procession from which the book gets it's name | there's a «pet food store» that doesn't sell food for pets but sells pets as food for people to eat [after they're through being pets] | there's a mollusk museum & plenty of poking fun at west coast psycho-babble | there's symbiotic relationships [both in mollusks & their human counterparts] & there's dream sequences & severed tongues [as forms of therapy] | there's even a non-linguistic TEXT artifact of sorts:

«The central difficulty in translating the text stems from the fact that the Spiralis Text is not written in a language based on phonetic or cuneiform structures, but a chemical based language. Thus in order to transcribe the content, linguists and chemists have been collaborating on a system that can make sense of the meticulously constructed prose contained within the Spiralis Text.

[ ...]

Therefore, the author of the text was confined in his ability to record his story by a few simple mechanisms of communication; namely, a rudimentary sense of touch, and the ability to receive and interpret chemical signals. And here, by "interpret," it's safe to say that the author of the text could not process information the way in which we do today, mainly because he had no brain and only a simple central nervous system.  Thus we come to one of the central themes of the Spiralis Text, that of the subjective individual disassociated from his surroundings.»

there's lots of such mollusk-related literature & kitsch that gets folded in like saltwater taffy | none of it is gratuitous though—he has a way of tying it into the human condition & the plot of the book which so far appears to be a mystery about some guy [Snodgrass] that gets murdered [sort of] | often nothing is what it seems | i'm halfway into the book & he's been murdered twice already | good stuff |

[g]hosting the ARK CôDEX

This Procession of Mollusks is a nice break from my own «writing» & other less tangible things i'm attempting to «read» | appropriately enough mollusks [specifically clams] make a few cameos in my own ARK CôDEX | if not en vivo at least there's a clamBED where the protagonist sleeps at times | you could think of this 5cense site as a breeding ground for my ARK CôDEX | a sandbox | i even bought the arkcodex.com URL & have it redirecting to HERE—∀LL for the price of a SQUID TACO | some people complain that they can't read my writing when i go on [LIKE THIS] | if i try to write something readable [like The Procession of Mollusk] or heart-warming it comes out all garBled in my êYês | i become a [g]host writer | 99.99% percent of writers are [g]host writers | not that there's anything wrong with that | the world needs them like it needs religion | i suspect Eric E. Olson is a [g]host writer | he probably wanted to write something else but in the back of his mind he also wanted to make something accessible & he's probably also channeling his teachers or influences | 99.99% of everything written for TV or the screen is [g]hostwritten | i'm a [g]host writer | i can't control what makes ME write or what/who then goes back & deconstructs what «i» originally wrote | here's an example of something i «wrote» yesterday:

ark codex fragment

i don't know what possessed me to write it & i didn't have control over my hand half the time & now have carpal tunnel as a conSEQuence | maybe my [g]hosts hark back to my years learning math & physics | sometimes i'd look in awe at the MASSive scrawling chalkboards of some mad professor not caring [nor having the faCULty to underSTAND] what it all meant just liking how it appEARed | someone told me once i was always «saying things for effect» & i said thank you & they said no i didn't mean that as a compliment & i didn't know what to say so i said thank you again & they got annoyed & walked away & i never heard from them again | here's another piece of the puzzle i'm struggling to fit in—the SURface upon which i'm navigating this ARK:

sea of holey water

there's only so many words you can make with Hs & Os | last night i watched a documentary on melting ice | there was some time-lapsed footage of glaciers that were mind-blowing | the photographer they follow [James Balog] was weird about it though like he was trying too hard to turn it into tragic art | something was off about him | as he traveled to all these remote places around the world i kept wondering ¿who's paying for all this? or if he was down in some dangerous ice cave on Greenland dramatically risking his life for a photo i'm thinking ¿who's filming him? i'm always wondering who's behind the camera & wondering about the production costs & who's fronting it & what my seeing it is contributing to | they go through all this trouble & money for a few artsy photos & the occasional opinionated interjection by this Balog douchebag | it's always the obNoxious assholes standing on soapboxes | it's like he doesn't know whether to be an artist or a scientist so ends up being a hack at both to appease his sponsors | & then you feel like a schmuck for watching it wondering ¿if i stream it on Netflix did any revenue from it go into this douchebag's pocket? melting ice is melting ice which sucks for the few hundred million people in low-laying areas but it's not like they don't have time enough to reACT | if it's not one thing it's another | an earthquake | a meteor | change can be good [or at least different] if you adapt to it | but yes melting ICE is cool to look at & it's a pity that one day we might not see ice melting anymore & i suppose someone should be the one that makes a record of it |


another book i'm [con]currently «reading» [along with The Procession of Mollusks & The Old Testament [the Dead Sea Scrolls version] & Finnegan's Wake] is this red book put out by Les Figues Press entitled +|'me'S-pace | it's not clear who wrote it—this one might truly be written by a ghost | it gives credit to «society for cUm|n' linguistics» [scUm] & that it's «compiled» by a chr|st|ne wethe|em | ¡what a SURprise to not only find a whole secret society dedicated to DEcoding & REconstructing TEXT but that it's a GENrE in & of itself! | LITTERAL POETICS | ¿why the extra T? this is answered in the introduction [by Dodie Bellamy]: «Litter as in a bed as in debris as in an accumulation over time, littoral as in seashore, as in the Latin littera, "letter"» some other insightful things are said in the «Introduction to to the scUm Methodology» that help me to understand why my own ARK GRAVitatEs toWard the tower of Babel:

«For example, in Latin, the tongue in which Lucretius toiled, the word for fire, Ignis, is a partial anagram of Lignum, the word for wood. This extraordinary fact told Lucretius that, just as Democritus believed the variety of matter could be explained as different arrangements of a group of material atoms, so the variety of words could be explained as the different arrangements of a set of atomic characters.»

this is from the plain English introduction | here's some snippets of how these ideas are actually being implemented [it should be noted that while i use «|» as a [spectral] period «.» they use «|» to mean «I» [as in first-person] which for me is hard to get used to]:

it's val|dAtin' to see o+her peOple DE'cons+ruct|ong] |n the cOnf|nes of s|m|lar 'S-paces |

the [g]host traces of Mirtha Dermisache

not that i know what this 'S-pace is called & i don't conSIDEr myself LITTeral | nor conCRETE | nor aSEMic | though there's much to adMire about [& BᑎRROw from] these moVements or GENrEs | there's other disciples talking more SPECifically about these disciplINes if you're interested in finding out more like Michael Jacobson's Gallery of Asemic writing or Geof Huth's dbqp blog on VISual POetry & of course there's UBU & a HOST of other places | aNether writer i'm not CURRENTly reading but that is between my ears lately is Mirtha Dermisache | she is perhaps in that 0.01% of ℜ∃AL writers [not [g]host] doing work so ℜadical you need to channel [g]hosts to read it | which is to say viewing her work as it's meant to be viewed is a challenge since she has radical ideas about what it means to PUBLIsh or DISplay work | i wanted to PUBLIsh her work once in Sleepingfish [the first issue] but she [or her PUBLIsher—Florent Fajole] wouldn't go for it because they were concerned about context & presentation & the works that hers was placed next to & what kind of paper i was going to use & how this all diluted the effect of her work | i can respect that | & SIMIlar thINKing is maybe why i'm becoming more & more reluctant to SUBmit my own work to magaZines | for concerns of how it will be presented & who you'll be associated with or what awful cover it might have | Dermisache's work is created with the intention of it being shown in site-specific conTEXTs—in galleries | beneath glass | on walls | or on a library shelf | the book or text object IS the art not the text contained withIN | it's not important or necessary to underSTAND the text at least not in the usual sense | another book i have that works in a similar fashion is Faruk Ulay's Beneath the Shadow of Perpetual Defeat [which i alReady b'Logged about here] wherein the TEXT is hidden withIN the pages such that you'd have to cut open the folded in & sealed pages to view the text sandwiched between the [striking] photoGraphs | it's hard to explain | you'd have to buy it or borrow it or come over to my place to see it for yourself |

Bedouin ShepherdThe Bedouin Shepherds Muhammed edh-Dhib (the Wolf) Ahmad el-Hamid and Jum’a Muhammed Khalil who, together with Khalil Musa, accidentally discovered the first scrolls close to the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in a cave near Khirbet Qumran. [images above & caption & image belo taken from the Fascimile Editions site which the reader is encouraged to explore]

these are not the kinds of things you can «show» nor would you necessarily want to as REdisplaying it diminishes the original intent | these are not books that are going to make the NY Times Bestseller list | not only do the authors not promote themselves but it's almost like they are so guarded about their work that they want to keep it for themselves | it's a fine line | it's that quantUM physics Schroëdinger's cat thought experiment i'm always coming back to wherein it doesn't ∃xist unless you observe it for yourself & ¡oh what a predicament! | also harks back to my spelunking days were friends would blindfold me & take me to secret caves in Arizona which i was sworn to secrecy to never tell anyone about & they were beautiful because they hadn't been disCOVEred & TRAMPled on but at the same time the GENEral population didn't know about them so ¿did they ∃xist? i don't know you tell me | our minds would be blown by the things that have been disCOVEred in this wor[l]d & then sealed back up or hidDEN so no one else would find it | the Dead Sea Scrolls have been there all this time before 1947 but ¿did they ∃xist if no 1 kNew of their existence? imagine being the Bedouin Shepherds that disCOVEred the scRolls even if they were in a language they couldn't even speak | incomprehensible |

Isaiah scroll

i'm telling you about these things & Mirtha Dermisache & i want to show you what she does but in doing so i diffuse the meaning & the impact of your own discovery of the work which is intended to be viewed under controlled site-specific circumstances | not that i've ever been privileged enough to view her work as it's intended to be experienced [typically her shows are in France or in Argentina—in fact her work is being displayed at PROA gallery as we speak which is maybe why i've got Dermisache on the brain as they sent me an email about it] | so at the risk of diminishing the impact of her work here's a scan of a page of a book objet of hers i got [from Mangrove Editions in France—who appear to not have any web presence but i've got their address in Marseilles for anyone interested & it also appears that «xul: buenos aires» collaborated on the project—not to be confused w/ xul museum that used to be home to Borges' painter friend Xul Solar who invented his own language & lived in his own time zone] | the cover is completely blank [WHITE] & there's no commentary or any other adornments or distractions except the work itself | PURE as s'Now | it came wrapped in cellophane with a sticker that identified it only as «libro n°8 : 1970» but otherwise i'm not sure it even has a title | [to preserve the integrity of her work & at the request of her publisher, i've witheld including a sample in this post, but you can click here to view a sample scan (from libro n°8 : 1970) in a blank window—though it's still not the intended context, you can at least get the idea, which will hopefully encourage to seek out her work in its proper format.]


& then there's Luigi Serafini's CODEX SERAPHINIANUS—the mother of all ESOteric texts that i learned of through Justin Taylor's [yes, the same Justin Taylor i scapeGOATed above in my digressing rant on shameless proMOTION] piece about it in The Believer a while ago so i have him to thank [as well as for the bottle of Ketel One he kindly brought us for our loft-warming party] | i was finally able to get my own grubby hands on an Italian version of the Codex from a bookseller in Rome | not that it matters that it's in Italian except for the sticker on the back & okay so there's this secret DECODEX pamphlet included with it [strategically separate & distinct from the book in an insert on the back like a library card jacket] | problem is i don't speak Italian | but we have the Rosetta Stone so i can learn Italian so i can then decode the DECODEX to subSEQuently decode the CODEX | that's a good enough reason as any to learn Italian | i'm on it | flipping through the DECODEX there's photos of relevant places in Italy like the door & window of Serafini's apartment in Rome where he presumably wrote the CODEX |

codex place

i assume this train station has something to do with the book maybe Luigi waited at this train station every morning | i'm sure i'll have a lot more to say about the CODEX at a future date & maybe i'll even have a picture of myself standing on this very platFORM some day to prove it ∃xists [for myself] but for now i'll show you a few more images from the CODEX as there's not much else to say about it except to MARvel | there's lots of images of the artwork out there already for exploring but not a lot of people show the writing which is quite extraOrdinary & a language all into it's own that no one understands except Serafini himself | we're not talking a few pages of scribble—this is sustained some 398 pages [i counted since of course he also invented his own numbering system] & it's all very calculated with diagrams & convincing enough in it's repetition of characters & patterns that you just know it means something that is forever on the tip of your TONGUE & the paper is remarkable you have to feel it to believe it |




seraphinianus codex text machine


(c) 2010 Derek White