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Author: Bartleby

From the Publisher (Updates Jan 2020)

From the Publisher (Updates Jan 2020)

Dear Readership,

Where are you?!?!

Well, anyway, here’s the publishing updates:

1. First Loves (Vol 1 of “Love at a Reasonable Price”)
Is completed and for sale on this website (see the “Buy the Books” tab)
According to our research, approximately 4/7,530,000,000 people are currently in possession of the book.
And of those people, only the author has read all that much of it.
According to any conceivable metric, this collection of stories and essays about the manufacture, distribution, marketing, sale, and consumption of the eternal spiritual good Pure Love is not currently a commercial success, nor a crowd-pleaser.
Maybe it is boring — maybe that’s why.
Maybe there’s too many philosophical asides — even after editor and author worked so hard for so many years to create convenient run-off sluices for all but the most essential philosophical asides.
In any case, there it is: not succeeding too much so far.

2. First Essays (A collection of essays written while writing “First Loves”
Yeah, well —
So basically —
Honestly —
Totally done.
Except
ugh!
How about this: We’ll release it by the beginning of February with or without a coherent theory of mind and consciousness.
That’s not like a promise promise promise.
But it is more than just a wish.
Let’s call it: “a goal”.

3. Superhero Novella
Author Bartleby Willard tells us that this “quick but satisfying read” and “eternal exemplar of metaphysical pulp” is completely finished and doesn’t even need to be reread by editor Ambrose Whistletown.
Editor Ambrose Whistletown tells us he’s going to read it once more anyway — just in case.
Both author & editor assure us the book will be released within a week.

4. Up next for Bartleby Willard??
We’ll discuss that in our next
PUBLISHER’S UPDATE

As always, we thank you for reading and wish you and yours

TRUE WISDOM & JOY, & some pleasant wholesome earthly successes too.

Sincerely,

Skullvalley After Whistletown, Bookmakers Extraordinaire

Preface Turned Afterwood

Preface Turned Afterwood

[Editor’s Note: This is some kind of an essay that sort of discusses the book (“Superhero Novella” — coming soon), but mostly chews over old obsessions. We took it out of the Preface spot. Should it have been thrown out entirely? We don’t know. But feel free to skip it. The book’s already finished.]

This novella grew out of a freewrite, which you can find towards the end of the book under the title “A Sustainable Schedule / A reasonable compromise with the need to be happy and the need to live in and through shared joy”. That freewrite grew out of wandering lonely, vaguely wondering what perfection would adequately answer the vague longing that gnaws always throughout a thinking/feeling animal.

Of course, nothing can really answer the vague longing: it is there to flare up and attach itself to various specific longings and goad the animal on and on, never satisfied with the amount of safety and thriving its attained. The only adequate response to a never-ending vague longing is adequate insight into the Pure Love shining through all things: that infinite explosion of matchless joy swamps all emotional/bodily hiccups, including this underlying gnawing. With adequate wisdom, the vague longing becomes just another tool to help us navigate this world of mental- and physical-objects. We long for perfect safety, thriving, and decency; only spiritual insight can bring that to us blown-about-leaves, who must mind/body change and fail and perish, but who perhaps as Soullight are already infinitely safe, thriving and decent.

Those of us who aren’t all that wise will sometimes pine for and even daydream collections of mental- and physical-objects that can be sketched up into a fantasy that at least starts to feel like some kind of an adequate response to the vague longing. Mostly, we aim kind of low and spend a great portion of our lives imaging if we had this mate, that house, that career; we’d answer the vague longing and all would be well. That, of course, is just what the vague longing wants: to keep us chasing after specific longings until we’ve made and raised babies and otherwise succeed. However, if we throw in some measure of spiritual insight and OKness, the daydream can wander into the territory of Reality. Although not too far, since we’re still — at least in examples like this sketchbook just completed — focussed primarily on specific mental and physical objects; rather than on a push into the realm prior to specifics, where reigns the Light that passes but that does not necessarily refuse to meaningfully connect with human understanding.

The narrator of this novella is not particularly wise. His daydream starts with physical beauty, timeless worldly youth, and the infinite eternal satisfaction of all animal drives. Perhaps the narrator’s repeated lamentations over Susan’s lost youth can be read as an expansion of and ironic working-over of that daydream; perhaps there’s enough ironic standing-back-on-one-foot throughout the text to justify the claim that the author’s meditation on the trauma of aging moves beyond a simplistic knee-jerk “NO! WE WON’T AGE! WE’LL LIVE FOREVER 25!” However, even granting that, he never goes so far as to set aside the original longing for a decency that was also not just pleasant, but also particularly flattering to his own gimmes and ego-trips. Indeed, while it is difficult to know exactly where irony begins and ends in a work of fiction, and where the narrator is being “himself” or “herself”, or if “he” or “she” even exists in a coherent sense; the persistent regret at octogenarian Susan losing the buxom elasticity of her youth is at best a confused and uneasy fiddling with and poking (like a child at brussel sprouts) at “NO! WE WON’T AGE! WE’LL LIVE FOREVER 25!”

A close reading of this text will see many such fiddlings with and pokings at a man’s longings after infinite youth — both to be himself and to have, hold and delight. This is not an entirely unreasonable theme for a superhero story: invincible, never-ending youth is a given in the comic book genre. Batman is forever 30, built, square-jawed, and unstoppably virile. Villains may age and go homely, but heroes can’t. Furthermore, it could be reasonably maintained that remaining youthful is one way or another a common element in most people’s daydreams about “good enough”; which of course is a major theme in this book, and one that also makes sense for a contemplation of a genre about superheroes and their triumphs.

As this is a work of fiction, we cannot speculate where the narrator is speaking for the author, nor even in what sense an “author” exists. We can, however speculate where the narrator is speaking for “himself” and this allows us some insight into the wisdom of the narrator.
The narrator of this preface is not sure what wisdom has to say about our longing to get to have both pleasure/comfort and decency: it seems obvious that wisdom cannot abandon decency for pleasure/comfort, and so if a choice must be made, pleasure/comfort must be sacrificed; however, so much trouble is caused by people mistakenly supposing themselves wise or at least led by a wise council, and often this self-deception is partly wrapped up in their willingness to make sacrifices, or at least to convince themselves that they are more focused on Goodness than on pleasure/comfort. In short, the narrator of this preface does not exactly know how the narrator of this book should’ve evolved this book’s original daydream, but s/he (preface writer) strongly suspects that his (book writer’s) continuing obsession with softsupple ageless womanly curves in the rough hands of ageless manly vigor shows that he (book writer) is, at least in some sense, still a thirteen year old kid gawking at naughty pictures found in a crumpled-up magazine strewn along a steep and crumbly creek bank; and therefore, taken as a whole, cannot possibly rate above middling-wise.

However, a good work of art is more than the sum of its parts and can offer more wisdom to the audience than its creator. It is “good” precisely because its originator wandered at least a little beyond himorherself while making it. The notion that an author is always wiser than his or her creation is a ridiculous folly. A good author meditates on the entire human moment through writing and so surpasses him- or her-self in their writings. Therefore, even a work of fiction that only moved a pretty-good author’s total wisdom marginally forward could still be worth reading and thus worth writing a preface for.

In conclusion, after much consideration and soul-searching, this preface-writer does not consider it a dereliction of duty to write this preface.

The novella’s pretty good; it is worth the quick read its few pages and relatively plot- and character-driven prose require. The philosophical asides are fewer and less distracting than those in “First Loves” or “First Essays” (the former being a collection of short-stories a little oversaturated with philosophical asides; and the latter primarily a collection of philosophical asides). The asides he does permit himself in this work tend to be more mood- and recollection-based and shine some light on the chunk of rock this sculpture was doodled out of.

Anyway, kind of a fun read, some interesting ideas woven relatively well into story/characters/settings/moods; and not at all long!

With Nappy Roots

With Nappy Roots

I’m getting older
and I’ve lost
most all
my grand ideas

I wonder what
will happen now

The Hurt hurts
loud from the outside out.

What can I do?
How can I know
the way forward?
Why do I stare
into the cool cave
where stuffed fools slave
for slop-monster
who plop-saunters
across green-bent fields?

Turn me up,
let me out
I try to say
the Evil must stop

All such worlds known
too much crimes sown
The answer grows cold
smooth creature gets bold.
How can we now that we understand
moving through the places where
we long and strong patient stand
and though we’d fight what scares
still what we’d be has learned
to toss and catch and turn

All our lives we’ve sat
waiting for a song
that we could feel;
for a strength not wrong;
to listen, to heal
to help peace grow
to in patience know
the way
for us all

Come on to the
world we were born to
Come along thrown at
fires we were sworn through
Come on carry us
out of the Hurt that blinds
Come on carry us
into the Light that binds

How can we ever make
amends for the lines
that haughty swagger break
broad bonds between minds?
How can we today smile
at each other real
with so much crud bile
half-cooked oatmeal

Somebody call the cops
Somebody knock the doors
And now we’ve over flopped
soft slumped on the floor

With heavy sidebyside
footstomps I lumber
into the pulled-up tide.
that’s the hook fumbling
that’s the cake crumbling

with heavy shoulder shake
from front to back
we pomp-lizard snake
ahead, rescue ropes slack,
forward without insight
still dreaming what is right
up charges the boar
fat thighs churning
round snout bent and sore
from the ashes burning
clear

Hmm,

AMW

Business Logic vs Criminal Logic: A Case Study

Business Logic vs Criminal Logic: A Case Study

Let us consider a case.

We humans all live, of course, in and through and for only one goal:
To make things truly better for everyone that is, was, and ever will be
No other goal particularly interests the whole human moment
(from Soullight through vague feelings and notions into more specific feelings and ideas, out into specific words and deeds)
And so no other goal engages the whole human moment
And so to the degree we are distracted from this fundamental goal,
we disappear from ourselves,
allowing random animal hoots and hollers to steer the ship while our essential conscious moment picks lint from bellybuttons its own and not its own, and grows sick and wan and gone

Let us consider a case.

Supposing a landlord was observed performing the following:
1) immediately upon acquiring several rent-stabilized buildings, they send out lease renewals (for those tenants whose leases are up) with the rent moved up to market rate (double or more than what the tenants had been paying); and are only prevented from evicting these tenants when pro-bono lawyers get involved and point out to the city that what they are doing is in violation of rent-stabilization laws.
2) manage, in the building our case studier has intimate knowledge of, within a few years of taking over ownership, to remove half of the original tenants, filling each one-bedroom (at least one now converted into a two bedroom) with pairs of bright, pleasant, trim, well-dressed 30ish professionals.
3) in about the fifth year of their stewardship, post cheery letters about how the city’s “TPU” is now helping them to make sure everyone gets the service they need, and so if they need maintenance assistance, here’s the protocol (What does “TPU” stand for? Well, the letter doesn’t say; but I can tell you: “Tenant Protection Unit”; which intervenes in instances where the city decides tenants are not receiving adequate assistance with maintenance problems in their apartments.)
4) On at least one occasion, try to railroad someone into immediately signing a revised lease shoved (not by a postal worker) into said tenant’s mailbox ten days before the old lease expired, about 70 days after that tenant had sent in the original signed lease and 20 days after the tenant would’ve been handing in the signed lease “late” (with “late” here defined by city regulations, stating that the landlord must give the tenant the lease renewal 90 days before the lease is up, and then then the tenant is to send the signed copy back to the landlord within 60 days).
5) On at least one occasion has been seen employing the following sleight of hand: with the first lease renewal you send a tenant, you leave the bit about Security Deposit blank; after that, you put in “0” for the tenant’s existing Security Deposit, meaning that the lease now states the tenant has paid no Security Deposit whatsoever, and so when they leave, unless they are organized and can prove that the landlord is lying, will be out the equivalent of one month’s rent.

Life is complicated
Sometimes businesses get themselves in binds, and to save the whole thing from falling apart — which would indeed mean the loss of many jobs, a lot of capital, and no little amount of hard-won organization of people, thought, material goods, and etc — they twist the rules and cheat a little, sometimes even harming clients, investors, the wider community, etc.
And to some degree these sins are terrible; and to some degree they are the imperfections that most everyone allows themselves at least a little bit to keep things moving forward without having to lose momentum splitting one’s head to pieces over every little moral dilemma that might register within a human conscious space.

But in the case study we have here, it seems clear that the landlords purchased buildings with the sole intent of evicting a hundred low-to-middle-income tenants, who would then be unable to afford a comparable living arrangement. Some would perhaps move in with relatives; others would find a bunch of roommates; some maybe quit this expensive city; a handful perhaps end up at least for a time in shelters and/or the street.

With such a start, the conclusion becomes inevitable: this company pursues a business strategy founded not on providing the goods and services particular to their industry, but on hurting other human beings for private gain. The other enumerated actions help, to varying degrees, to compound that conclusion. For example this with the TPU: part of what a landlord is there for is to maintain safe and decent living conditions for the tenants; but this task they neglected until legal action was taken. Obviously, one would have to examine the details of the city’s case against this landlord before one could evaluate how justly the city’s decision to put them in the TPU program was. However; well; a picture is forming; and again, action #1 speaks for itself.

Many of us never think to think about the difference between organized crime and organized business. Depending on our environments and moods, we often slip into patriotic defense of business’s great efficient usefulness or of the need to constantly regulate the crooks and/or (depending on how broken one perceives one’s government to be) the hopelessness of the whole affair.

But this case here shows us where to draw the line: is a business focused primarily on providing the goods and services particular to its industry and which (since, after all, protection schemes are a sort of “industry”) we can all agree meet a real need? A protection scheme meets a real need, but only because the businessmen themselves have created the need; and so rather than adding value to the world, they are detracting value from it.

The landlord in this example does perform landlord functions, but the emphasis is on ripping people off for private gain. For this, they need to be carefully watched and kept in check by regulations.

Should they be shut down? After all, the whole problem with bad intent is that it, like rodents in apartment buildings, finds its way through every little crack in decency’s defense. You can’t legislate wisdom and goodness; but you also can’t shut down folly and evil by dissolving every iffy human enterprise. With the correct regulation, business cultures can change. Every individual human mind and every collection of human minds is a constant debate-space between conflicting ideas and feelings. With enough oversight — spiritual/ethical/emotional/mental discipline and community & protocols that prioritize transparency and moral standards over money and ease — the better voices are more likely to win out. For this reason, we should regulate the business community: to reduce the internal victories of those impulses that are more interested in extracting a little more money out of the world than on providing a useful service and meaningful work.

The balance between over- and under-regulation can then be reduced to a simple formula: does creating and enforcing this protocol prevent a given business within a given industry from focusing more on providing useful services than on making money irregardless the cost to other human beings and the community as a whole?

Of course, simple formulas lose their simplicity when we seek to implement them practically. But we can still keep coming back to them and refinding our way.

Author: Walter Welwhatev
Editor: AW, BW
Copyright: AMW

Light Therapy

Light Therapy

Open up all along the spinal column:
The round space inside butt and hips and sex
Inside and a touch below (like slanting in from) the navel
Inside the rib cage
Solar plexus
(And also while there let the Light in at the shoulders)
(Maybe pause to let it in everywhere from your feet up to your shoulders)
Pulling it in from all sides
Then up to the throat, pull light in from all sides there
And then the head between and above the eyes particularly and out the top

You breathe the Light in and out, growing ever more full of Light and flowing ever more directly as Light into the Light (ie: you become more and more aware that the shell of “self” is an illusion that you needn’t stay cramped within)

Some places are more about letting It in; others more about letting It out
Just find the line down through the center of your conscious space
and alternate pushing out from within as if your are unfolding yourself from inside out
and pulling in without undoing the unfolding the push-out achieved
In this way you open up wider and wider
creating less and less space between the Light outside and the Light inside
Burst the shell asunder and flow as one with the interconnected flow of matter/mind/action created, sustained, shot through and in some sense one with the Light within the Light

Allow me a moment to speculate to myself:
Consciousness is a white Light
All the frequencies of electromagnetic energy at once
form a type of white Light
upon which somehow our thoughts hang
allowing us to consciously experience the meeting of thinking and feeling from various corners of our subconscious space; corners that would otherwise be perhaps too far apart to interact, and that in any case would not meet awaredly without the existence of consciousness.

But where does Soullight come in?
Where does the Light within the Light come into play?
For surely God is more than energy
God is everything and — since all particulars flow together as one and are ultimately overwhelmed by the Soullight but Soullight is nothing particular — nothing at all.

Hmmmm

Author: Sir Slips Alott, Electric Knight of the Gently Arcing Table
Editors: A. Whistletown with B. Willard
Copyright: AMW

On saying no to a bully

On saying no to a bully

I am not angry with you,
but you are a bully,
and it is not good
for you or others
that you
, a bully,
should win.

And so I tell you now
that I will now work
to make you lose
this one.

You might feel anger
at me
You might want to hurt
me
You might want to crush
me
and so distance yourself
from
the
inconvenience.

But this you cannot do;
for you and I
and all the rest
are bound
forever
together.

So you’ll not loose yourself
from me.
Not now,
not tomorrow, not
in a million years.

Not inside
or outside
of timespace
will you or I or anyone
ever rid ourselves
of you or I or anyone.

You may as well get used to me.
I am your old friend
and will remain so.

Sincerely,

A Calm Dissent

AW/BW
copyright: AMW

Here’s a Problem, JB

Here’s a Problem, JB

Here’s a problem, JB
Here’s a dilemma, old friend
Here’s the sunlight on our bare arms
Here’s fanning farts in gym class

Here’s a wannabe dictator
without insight
Here’s another thousand years
of chaos and loss

Am I wrong to stand beside the fallen tree
and wish we were wiser than second grade?

Oh, gotta go, DG’s calling

copyright: AMW

Evil Containment System Advert (Rondeau)

Evil Containment System Advert (Rondeau)

Our brand new, fully-charged, patented
completely-guaranteed Containment-Lid-
-For-Evil-,-Folly-,-And-The-Wretched-Like
can now be yours for the low intro price
of you forgiving all that shit we did!

Come on down and spin a dial or two!
Watch pride and certainty themselves undo!
Sit back and enjoy silent holy nights
of fond delight at every human soul!

The Evil pumps itself up on felt lies.
We wrap our blast-charred arms ’round while this dies.
The Evil loves not Love, though it pretend.
We wrestle undersea until this end.
No matter lofty rank or exalted height,
we’ll cool vainglory down and make one whole!!

AW/BW
copyright:AMW

Anger & Evil – Loose Cannon Ball

Anger & Evil – Loose Cannon Ball

So angry I am made; your perfidy so galls!
You’re bad. Is thus my loathing righteousness?
Yet ofttimes I was a seagull’s caw
up on the jagged wind.

Not every company deserves tomorrows.
But anger pays its way with soul.
A lien for which but fools borrow.
And who among’s never sinned?

A lady’s hair is loosed, outlining now
broad gulping gusts atop a scudding sea.
Pale pekid crimes foglike the streets prowl
while warlords relax at home.

So tired I am made; your perfidy so bores!
You waste your strength. Is my disdain then wise?
But oft you were a lizard’s shaking dash
across bright desert stone.

Some jobs more harm than help.
Contempt, though, also nothing adds.
Arranging glass animals on shelf,
I lose the thread.

Still it remains the case that you make business decisions with the intent of hurting other people for the sake of private gain.
What you are up to is not OK.
You should rethink your approach.
Beyond this, I wander lonely back to this standard desperate prayer: that God heal us all so that we may all all-together better know how we are all all-together One.

Author: Fergie Mees Elff
Editor Team: AW/BW
copyright: AMW

Who Can Stop the Evil Rondeau?

Who Can Stop the Evil Rondeau?

America, cross the sea
Jerusalem, watching me
In Africa, with long round coast
In China, mit einem sanften ‘Prost!’
It’s everywhere we may be

Who can this Evil business stop?
A field of clovers sidely flops
Who’ll carry us to better worlds?
A dash of legwork a jig construes

We all together can all
the Evil altogether halt.
linked histories, shaped by whips
and shackles loosed and slipped;
as one, answering the call,
our many voices, shapes, and hues.

Author: BW/AW
copyright: AMW

Editor’s Note: “mit einem sanften ‘Prost'” is “with a soft ‘cheers!'” in German.
Language most likely chosen because (1) it is a non-English-language the author easily speaks; & (2) “Prost!” rhymes with “coast”.