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Category: Biographical

No one’s reading anything we write

No one’s reading anything we write

Bartley Willard and Andy Watson, who’ve quit the land and all its promises, who ride on rigid racing ocean waves in vigorous northern seas, who lounge on sloppy gushy ocean waves on lazy southern seas, who have no friends and no enemies and no postal addresses,

are not working on either “Love at a Reasonable Price” or “Diary of an Adamant Seducer”. Instead, they just write whatever and toss it into a messenger bottle, which makes its way to the Wandering Albatross Press Building, which sits in marble and in honor on Wall Street in Manhattan, a shining symbol on a proverbial hill. But who is there to receive the messages? Not Kent, who waits patiently–a little too patiently?–in the mossy, scraggle-tree-lined Hall of the Mountain King. Not Andrew Cleary nor Tom Watson, who flibbertygibbet the time away hitting golf balls into the sun (yes, it takes an amazing drive!, but demonstrations of prowess don’t turn idle self-indulgences into worthy activities). But someone–some low level flunky, too half-ass and snot-nosed to bother describing; someone collects the bottles as they bounce against the battery with a clattering that startles gulls and tourists alike.

Andy Watson and Bartleby Willard have abandoned their post. Kent Watson is spending a worrisome amount of time pining after them in the scraggly pine clearing where the Mountain King lords it over mountain beasts both plausible and mythic. And Tom Watson and Andrew Cleary, the two eternal presences who’ve run Wandering Albatross Press since before timespace began, have always just goofed around the way gods–being too blessed and immortal to ever feel the calling of an ache or the crunch of a deadline–always do.

So where, dear reader, does that leave you?

And yet what readership does this blog have? Isn’t it true that no one is reading it? So perhaps, by not existing, the “From-Bartleby.com” readership has brought this betrayal upon themselves. Perhaps.

But perhaps not.

For one must never underestimate the depravity of all involved. To my mind, they’re just the sort of feckless crew to abandon their posts–in, of course, their various ways.

There’s no one to talk to.
Except me.
In this circle.
Where I greet myself.

Hello, how are you?
I am fine, thank you. And how are you?
I too am fine; I too thank you.
What’s next?
We could daydream about being rich within a world that stays essentially like the world is now.
OK, that sounds like a pleasant daydream that we could sink into like a bed of soft moss beneath an old oak tree on a warm summer day in the good old USA.
I’d travel.
Oh, me too.
And write in the mornings.
Good idea. I’d do that too.
But after a year of taking airplane trips and road trips and wandering around world cities, then maybe I’d take a class or two a semester. I think maybe I would.
Yeah, there’s a thought.
Oh thought upon thought.
Sure–pile ’em up! like lumberjack flapjacks or snow in Valdez in the month of May.

BW / AMW

Prayer from the WAP expatriots who float upon a windless dry-throated sea; a prayer that they howled to the mindless horizon

Prayer from the WAP expatriots who float upon a windless dry-throated sea; a prayer that they howled to the mindless horizon

[This is the original version. An updated one is available in our essay collection “First Loves” (see “Buy the Books” on this site).]

I can’t take the pressure, boredom, loneliness. This quest is impossible; it is too much for me. These people float like phantom ships around me, through me, over me. I cannot hear the voice calling in the wilderness, nor my friend in the shade of an old cedar tree.

Can a prayer save its author? I pray that love be real and that I know it so; and that this world be a place where we all do well, watching bright-white sunshine on the grey cobblestone street-stream.

If you call upon the name of the Lord; if you speak the name of the unnameable: if you ask the Way to remember you, to come back to you, to pick you up and help you breathe again clear and free like you did in the tight slanted roads beneath the the uneven, overleaning, woolly-tan walls. But the water sharkfins through the worn-wood sluice and the tall hull built of pyramiding wide-slats, in a thick rubbery white paint and swooping upward towards a jutting prow, floats carelessly up to the leaving-gate.

If I say “Pure Love”; write it down, scratch it in the dry dirt, yell it in the marketplace, catcall it in the barrio. Based on the principle that what must–as a necessary and sufficient prerequisite for any possible intellectual and/or emotional foothold in any possible human moment–be true is indeed true: my inner sense that this life actually matters (not just somebody’s opinion, but for real); and that with open heart and open mind I can learn to always-better feel and understand, always-better follow and live this all-pervading insight that screams out from the core of every conscious moment within this infinite-headed self-forgetting hydra.

To drink, to escape the hopeless failing, the boredom, frustration, shame, dissatisfaction. To drink and smoke and waste it all like you can do over and over again when you’re 22 and there’s a bit of dumb luck on your side.

I rose to tell them about the concrete freighter ship and how the hard sharp sandpapery edge of the topside tore a deep red ditch through my sensibilities. But they blink in the warm, rich, beading sunlight. They call for another round of artichoke salad with organic corn kernels and creamy Italian dressing made with first-cold-pressed organic olive oil certified “authentic olive oil” by the incorruptible Olive Oil Board. I rise to say a few things, but no one wants to know; not even me. I wander back to where it all began: this cool-morning-light outcropping that holds, with the proud cupped-elongation of a waiter’s white-gloved fingers beneath a silver hors d’ouevres tray, a stack of smooth rounded stones. The stack resembles a giant cowpie cast in eternal stone. I sit upon this heap of soft-cool rock and speak nothing to myself, nothing to the bright blue cloudless sky ahead, nothing to the feather-world of bending-arms-pines behind.

Who can say why Zeus chose to answer the heartfelt peace-prayers of the Achaeans and Trojans–prayers duly accompanied with pious slashes of relentless bronze into and along the soft sweet necks of their fattest, juiciest lambs–with another decade of grimy, limb-splattering, all-scattering war? Who can say why God found it appropriate to help the Israelites vanquish all comers in David’s day only to then let them divide into two conflicting kingdoms, one ultimately destroyed and irrevocably dissolved by the Assyrians, the other toppled and held captive in Babylonia for more than sixty bleak, shameful, disappointing years? Who really knows why God answers some prayers and not others. We people sometimes have some theories on the subject: but people have theories–only the god knows.

Still, we lift up our solemn prayer: Grant us exuberant and steady health, real wisdom and goodness, the clarity to perceive what’s best for us to do and the ability to fit ourselves into this fast-flowing world so as to do it: guide us to real success–the kind based in the boundless, undifferentiated soul and radiating outward through the many wondrous particulars.

Pure Love, pure love, love, pure love, real love; a love that gives infinitely forever; a light shattering the darkness; a void teeming with infinitely irrepressible kindness–the wellspring and the backdrop of all things.

Pure Love at the core. Pure Love at the extremities. Pure Love all through, shining bright as day. Help us move well now and always! Help us to do well for real in this world and the deeper one.

Prayer by Bartleby Willard, who lives in the sheltered river glen–far inland from the burly coast.
Desperately-born witness by Andy Watson, who dash-paces these old wooden floor beams like a twitch-nosed rat made reckless by hunger and confusion.
Copyright with Andrew Mackenzie Watson, who lives alone along the turning staircase in the old forgotten cold-stone tower by the sea.
Who cares what these three fools do?
And yet, it was nice of them to pray not just for their own fool selves, but for everybody.
This prayer’s now been edited some seven times. What does the author think? That if he spruces up the imagery and more precisely explains the ideas, the True Good will be more ready and able to work with him? Or does he think that if he improves his prayer, he’ll mold himself into a vessel more ready and able to accept the Grace that the Great God gives freely, infinitely, relentlessly even?

This little story is a little piece of “Diary of an Adamant Lover”.
Chapters listed and linked-to here:
Intro to Love at a Reasonable Price
Access to all of it available here:
Buy the Books

Our most physical products:

Buy Cat Totes!
&/or Objectively Cute Baby Onepieces! (advertised here: An ad for an “Objectively Cute” baby wrap

Essayish 1/Biographical 2: A Revolutionary Memo

Essayish 1/Biographical 2: A Revolutionary Memo

Dear Readership real and imagined,

We the exalted leadership of Wandering Albatross Press; two lank men born before the universe began and dead after it ends–if indeed it will end, which we very much very haughtily doubt; two ferocious, incorruptible visionaries; have had another great revelation, the seed of another tremendous revolution:

People–those frail wisps of downy fluff, blighted by mortality–need something steady. They need a nice, safe space to slide into, where they are known and where they know. Witness, for example, how Cheers’s theme song “I wanna go where everybody knows my name”, though neither melodically exceptional nor tied anymore to a popular television show, continues to sink icy fingers and forked flames into the hearts of all who hear it. Or voila! the hold that snugly pajamas–thick plush fabric with a white-scar zipper running from tiny ankle to narrow neckline–have on both children and caregivers alike: a hold all out of proportion to their actual physical comfort. Conclusion: People need a friend, and not really anything else.

People need a friend, and WAP is dedicated to giving people what they need at a reasonable price. But how to sell friendship? Impossible! Ah, but there we’re lucky: We have Bartleby Willard. Manufacturing the impossibly wondrous is not just Bartleby’s chosen career: it is his inborn, God-given all-consuming vocation. And so we turn our tall, proud, cliff-like shoulders toward BW and ask him what it is ours to ask; then we pivot our great mainmast shoulders back to again gaze out giant floor-to-ceiling windows in the wide, tall, old-wood WAP common office here in the WAP Building on Wall Street, Empire City, USA. After a drifting pause, Bartleby responds:

“Two books! Only way. One artsy collection of stories, as already promised. But then also one continuous, gently strolling narrative about all us here at Wandering Albatross Press. We are sentient beings real and imagined who live with life–this tureened mix-and-match, this criss-cross of watching lines within raucous yet solemn beauty. Why not let readers join us here in tales that echo and shape our reality? Why not? We’ll be their distant, one-sided, lonely friends: They’ll hold us in the glass dome; they’ll shake our world and watch the snow drift peacefully across the backward-bowed, sharp-tipped rooftops of our hazy-dreamtime hamlet.”

We therefore announce two books: “Love at a Reasonable Price” and the concurrent “Diary of an Adamant Lover”. We’ll release about one portion of each every so often, and we’ll sell the two stalagtiting (or is it stalagmiting?) books for a grand total of US$12.

How is a serial story like a friendship? It is familiar; it is fairly reliable; it is known by the readers, and, if the author opens up to the circumstances with a reasonable amount of brave kindness, it also, by an amazing play of refracted light, knows the readers: for readers are flickering souls and experiencing Beauty is not more nor less than the sparkling consciousness of what is common to all. Asleep awake, we oft daydream separate realities; but awake awake, bright-eyed, happy-in-the-sparklingdewdrop, we live and breathe the blessed, shapeless blaze that winds through the myriad, the surface back-and-forth, the particular-contortions.

To see a layout of the current chapters, go to Buy the Book / Chapters or just scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Sincerely,
Tom “the instigator” Watson
&
Andrew “the agitator” Cleary

Memo forged by Bartleby Willard with revolutionary support from his rambunctious editor, AM Watson.

Author: Bartleby from Willard
Editor: Andy from Watson
Copyright: Andrew M Watson

About this project:

We’re letting Bartleby write his book; we’re even publishing it for him; it is two loosely bound sketchbooks:

(1) Love at a Reasonable Price: Stories of his magically timeless time here at Wandering Albatross Press interspersed with writings from that time or from now but somehow connected to that time–stories about manufacturing, marketing, distributing, and selling Pure Love;
and
(2) Diary of an Adamant Lover: Stories of his current time here all alone with the quiet squeaking floorboards and the rats thumping in the ceiling: Stories of his cries for help in the ruins of Wandering Albatross Press, the black and dark time after the hope and before the answer. We’re splitting this one into two sections: Biographical (writings that mostly relate the current movements of BW, AMW, and the rest of the WAP gang are ex) and Essayish (writings that mostly stay within a certain thought entertained and cultivated by the author and/or his editor).

Both books sold as they evolve here:
Buy the Books
For a current list of each book’s chapters, please see
Into to Diary of an Adamant Seducer or Intro to Love at a Reasonable Price, depending.

Actually, the posts of Diary of an Adamant Lover probably won’t ever require a subscription. Still, with a subscription, you get a nicely ebound eevolving ebook compilation of the writings, and you get a quick buy eye-connecting “Thank you” from AW and BW as they bow their way out of the subway car with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the songs in their lungs.

This blog will consist of extracts from the book’s chapters as they are released into the lumiferous aether. You can buy BW’s book as he writes it here. You can also consider this blog a long advertisement for Wandering Albatross Press’s some-such-several wonderful products; like . You can also view this blog as it’s own thing–a good unto itself–and as such a sweet, chaste little kiss running through the infomaterous aether (the theory of a lumiferous ether through which electromagetic waves move is no longer widely accepted and its originators all long dead; it is very much in the public domain and so publishing houses, such as the beautiful WAP, can use it any way they please). But insofar as this is a commercial venture, we still need it fundamentally grounded not in profit-motive, but in kind delight. So cross your fingers for us; say a prayer for us; keep a gentle but stern, a wary but hopeful eye on us. Help us to try. Or at least let us try.

Author: Bartleby Willard, fictional character

Copyright holder/editor: Andrew Mackenzie Watson (of the Sand Springs Watsons)

Biographical 1: Salesmen pouting in the hall of the mountain king

Biographical 1: Salesmen pouting in the hall of the mountain king

[update October 2018: Yeah, we think we’re going to go forward with this evolving ebook. If you think you might like to subscribe to it, please join our mailing list at the bottom of this page.]

Bartleby Willard and Andy Watson, who do not approve of anything or anyone, are here to sell everyone various products, from cat-themed totes to stories about buying and selling Pure Love (an eternal good: Pure Love is infinitely kind; normal love partakes to some degree of Pure Love, but because tainted with impurities like greed and boredom, normal love’s vision of what to do and how to do it is to some degree off).

They live in the hall of the mountain king. The hall is open-air, lined with gnarled pines. Its flooring is angular stones and thick green grass. At one end of the hall, the mountain king with the wrinkled round head and big pocked nose sits potbellied on his throne, conversing–by appointment only–with the many mountain monsters. He drinks cold mountain water from a chalice carved out of pine and wears a bearskin robe over his hairy knobby shoulders. Bartleby Willard and Andy Watson stand back towards the end of the hall. They cross their arms across their gila-monster-bellies and lean a little back and more on one foot than another. They have rounded fratboy muscles and wear maui flip-flops, baggy athletic shorts, and maroon T-shirts emblazoned with several random Greek letters in puffy white. They wear ball caps with concave-down brims backwards. They keep to themselves and circle their jaws and squint their eyes as they nod and back-throat laugh and cool and know it all.

They used to live in the Wandering Albatross Press Building in Somewhere Sometime Wall Street, but have decided to remove themselves to the hall of the mountain king and forget about their olden days. Still, under contract and having nothing better to do, they draft blogposts and fit together storybook entries.

Would you buy anything from these cynical dropouts from humankind? Would they sell anything to you slop-hop bloat-boast lazy loafers? Would a dragon get into a violent argument with a giant ground unicorn, necessitating the intervention of the reluctant mountain king? Would the scrawny little tree troll journey up from the valley to request an audience with his royal mountainness? Would this skeletally-waify canined apparition (picture a three-fingered aye-aye stretched out into a three-foot-tall humanoid with fur everywhere except for his strangely bald and appallingly gray face) wax eloquent about the need for a normalization of mountain thaw runoff policies? You see–stranger things always and forevermore happen, and the crimson chord of capitalism binds us all, keeping us tightly packed together so long as it doesn’t snap and toss us asunder, down into our angry chasms and the blast.

This is the first Fictionish writing in Bartleby’s Diary of an Adamant Lover. For more on this book and what all else’s going on in this blog, see the words beneath these words.

About our ebooks project:

We’re letting Bartleby write his book; we’re even publishing it for him; it is two loosely bound sketchbooks:

(1) Love at a Reasonable Price: Stories of his magically timeless time here at Wandering Albatross Press interspersed with writings from that time or from now but somehow connected to that time–stories about manufacturing, marketing, distributing, and selling Pure Love;
and
(2) Diary of an Adamant Lover: Stories of his current time here all alone with the quiet squeaking floorboards and the rats thumping in the ceiling: Stories of his cries for help in the ruins of Wandering Albatross Press, the black and dark time after the hope and before the answer.

The books will be sold [when?? Maybe Love at a Reasonable Price will be out by Christmas 2018.] here:
Buy the Books/Chapter
That page also includes a current list of chapters for each book.

If you think you might like to buy Love at a Reasonable Price and/or subscribe to Diary of an Adamant Lover (which we think we’ll release as an eSerialnovel, beginning maybe early 2019) and/or just maybe want to hear from us from time to time:

Subscribe to our mailing list

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Author: Bartleby Willard, fictional character

Copyright holder/editor: Andrew Mackenzie Watson (of the Sand Springs Watsons)