We wrote this a while ago. Since then we’ve only added one post: A prayer that we’ve filed under “Diary of an Adamant Lover”; but should its subcategory be “Autobiographical” or “Essayish”? On the one hand, the prayer is allegedly screamed by Bartleby Willard and Andy Watson into a terrible tempest far out on the lonely sea. We’d learned from the postscript of the previous post (“Confessions of a Pure Love Salesman”) that Bartleby and his equally psyched-out editor Andy Watson had both once again run away to sea (Andy in a Greek war ship and Bartleby on the back of an ancient sea serpent). Therefore, this prayer does fit within the larger narrative. On the other hand, it is really only the title of the prayer–“Prayer from the WAP expatriots who float upon a windless dry-throated sea; a prayer that they howled to the mindless horizon”–that connects this prayer to the larger narrative. Without the title–which any author could’ve added at the end, as an afterthought–it is more like an essay, or perhaps a long rather essayish prayer.
For now we’ll put this piece in both “Autobiographical” and “Essayish”. Yes! we full-well know that Bartleby Willard is having us on: that he, completely free of all discipline, allowed himself yet another esoteric off-the-wall essayish sprawl, and then, sometime after–in at best a half-hearted reform-attempt and at worst a flippant mock-nod to his recently promises of an accessible narrative–tacked on a title that related the essay to recent developments in the story. We know! We most certainly do. But let me tell you a little wisdom: Sometimes its best to let people get away with things. Let them run themselves out like dogs off leash on the beach. Let them have their little fun. Let them travel through the arc that seizes them. Eventually they’ll flop down on the wavy sands, ready for reason. Some scholars–pundits really–have argued that we at Wandering Albatross Press don’t do enough to rein in the madcap of our authors. We maintain that these scholars–mere pundits really–don’t know what they’re talking about: an author needs first and foremost the freedom to run himorherself ragged zigzagging across the cool sands, exulting in the light odors of rotting fish and the occassional wondrous, matted, dessicated, but still lightly putrifying find. Is there a risk in such romps? Does the wise trainer not sometimes at some point have to step in? Yes and yes. However: if your art is not overflowing with the love of life, all is not-quite-well no matter what else; and if your art is overflowing with that irrepressible joy of the fully-inhabited moment, all is well no matter what else. So, we say: let them carry on a little! Anyway, why not an essayish prayer as an indispensable part of a storyline? Precedents abound–but we leave that to the scholars.
We also choose to overlook the author’s inconsistent characterization of the wind that the bellowed prayer billowed into. Science may not allow for the air to both both whip and howl ferociously and rest completely calm, as still as death. But science–though useful and even beautiful within the bounds of its ultimately unprovable, unimportant, and uninteresting assumptions–can’t tell poetry–the dance that point beyond itself and its assumptions, into the heart of it all–what to do.
Of course, there is something to be said for avoiding confusions. But, we’ve now discussed the matter at length and all is crystal clear: seen from one mood, gale-force winds slapped the sea all over the place; seen from another mood, the dry still air lay like an eternal exile upon the waters and their would-be riders.
What was written a little bit ago follows.
Bartleby Willard, sometimes writing as if he were talking and sometimes writing as if the WAP leadership were talking.
Hello, hello, hello,
And thank you, thank you for allowing us to recap: to rediscover our own recent writings, to draw highlights and name themes, to create a meta-account of these separate accounts; to share something of what we’ve shared.
You can always see the most recent releases here: https://www.from-bartleby.com/?page_id=1768
Below, we’ll give excerpts of all that we’ve released since the last time, but before I sign out and let a former me MC a show of other even more former mes, let this now-hatching now-dying me tell you that I now propose releasing not just the occasional tale of Pure Love trade, but also about once weekly an update about the the sorrowful lonely desolation of the slowly watching, all-pervading, once-denying, now obliging but never fully complying author Bartleby and editor Andy. Naturally, as their moods and modes of being change, the tone of their anecdotal biographies will also change.
You’ll be able to find these posts in the subcategory “Biographical” within the category “Diary of an Adamant Lover” (Categories stretch along the right hand side of this blog space–a space where all are welcome, where we stand calm and flame-bright, arms opened to the people and upturned to the heavens, with a patient awareness of the crimes and of the misconstrues–of perpetrators, victims, vigilantes, and lawmen alike).
Three so far:
https://www.from-bartleby.com/?p=1886 Salesmen Pouting in the Hall of the Mountain King
https://www.from-bartleby.com/?p=2111) Revolutionary Memo
https://www.from-bartleby.com/?p=2183 Confessions of a Pure Love Salesman
Oh, and there’s one more thing: I think we’re going to have an ad for the website.
Yup, I was right:
https://www.from-bartleby.com/?p=2222 Advertisement for From-Bartleby.com
Now let the excerpts begin!
Signing out with this cheeky somethingdeeperism bon mot:
All’s well that never begins and never ends,
Thank you, Bartleby, and now I Bartleby will introduce the writings that Bartleby wrote:
Perhaps the most exciting WAP event of the immediate past is the time when Bartleby Willard and Andy Watson to forged an edict by the nebulous, spider-limbed (in both length and combined number) leadership of Wandering Albatross Press.
Here is a sampling of this cleverly misattributed document:
We the exalted leadership of Wandering Albatross Press; two lank men born before the universe began and dead after it ended; two ferocious, incorruptible visionaries; have had another great revelation, the seed of another tremendous revolution:
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 his inborn, God-given all-consuming passion. 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 the giant floor-to-ceiling window 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:
We therefore announce two books: “Love at a Reasonable Price” and the concurrent “Diary of an Adamant Lover”. For now, we’ll release about one portion of each every other week (so something about every week), and we’ll sell the two stalagtiting (or is it stalagmiting?) books for a grand total of US$10.
Tom “the instigator” Watson
Andrew “the agitator” Cleary
Memo forged by Bartleby Willard with revolutionary support from his rambunctious editor, AM Watson.
Reprinted with permission from us to us from:
Essayish 1/Biographical 2: A Revolutionary Memo (https://www.from-bartleby.com/?p=2111)
Soon it became apparent that Diary of an Adamant Lover would run the risk of bulging out with freewritish essays. A sampling from these essays follows, but first let me show you our ingenious solution:
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;
(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). …
That bit extracted from the “About this Project” section that concludes all pieces in this eevolving ebook blog project.
See what we did? We made one section for the stories meant to seduce readers with a companionable tour of the adventuresome lives of the WAP staff, and–separated from the window into our magical reality both in the “Categories” toolbar and the eevolving ebook–one section for essays that, due to the dryness of the air and the heat of our passions, instantaneously combust now and again. That way people can decide whether they want what we’re up to or what’s on our minds, and choose their clicks accordingly. [Aside: Who remembers the world before clicking on little highlighted bits of text and images led us by the drunken nose all over an unreal reality? I do! It was nice: peaceful, soft, forgetful–a time of giant, wet, slowly-falling, windshield-burying lake-effect snow.]
Anyway, within this new platform, we published several essays and one biographical updating. And also a few words of criticism of what we’d previously published. During the same time period, we also published two new pieces in the evolving ebook that is partially available to the entire world and fully available only to subscribers.
!BREAKING!: Before continuing, let me anounce a
Bold overturn of previous policy: The Diary entries and the Pure Love concoctions–being specially designed to go down easy and seductive, darting a barbed hook into even the wariest of aesthetic gullets–will be made to float to the top of the blog posts. I’ve spoken with the internet and its gurus and I believe the technology to implement this design exists, so, except in cases where my mood warbles violently into essaydom and I leap up to the top of the long wooden table and demand that everyone listen to the essay that I have written, that is great, and that I will now at the top of my lungs over all the romping raucus read aloud so very loud, we’ll probably faithfully carry out this plan.
Links to and synopses (in a few cases mini-essays that should perhaps be pruned) of what we’ve thus far released here on our page of the thus-far-posted:
Buy the Books/Chapter
I’ll also go ahead and post all the most recent releases at the end of this discourse. But before we discontinue discoursing, I want to quote from the rest of the writings released in this last spree. The theme of our quotes: Something Deeperism–a topic never far from the minds/hearts of this publishing duo, and one that–What’s Before All Names be praised!–appeared over and over again in this last few weeks of writing:
“What’s the matter with Bartleby?” asks Tom while, tube-arms folded across plank-torso, he long-necked and chin-out-and-to-one-side gazes out one of the several floor-to-ceiling windows along the eastern wall of the WAP common office–windows that one and all overlook and give witness to the East River’s melt into the Upper Bay: the bottom of the channel they call a river draining into the top of bulge they call a bay, which so-called-bay will quickly hiccup through a narrow, then a widening, and then fall forever into the wreckless immensity of the North Atlantic; keep in mind that these particular waters have been long coddled: they spent many a slow, shallow, sunbaked day in that protracted protection called “Long Island Sound”: keep that in mind as you assess their fate and, for wisdom-is-compassion’s sake, mingle your lots with theirs.
“The boy’s worried he doesn’t know what Pure Love–says he can’t be a Pure Love manufacturer, importer, exporter, marketer, and/or salesman if he doesn’t even know what it is to love everyone with an infinitely kind and effective love.” replies Andrew while handing a very small “M” with two tiny MickeyMouse-like feet to a word-centipede comprised of “R E A S O”. Andrew is on his blue-jeaned knees, supporting himself with one long, bow-fingered hand as he leans down and forward to the eager word-creature, or, as the case may be, eager word-community comprised of eager words with identity-overlaps and -subsumings akin to eager ants in their eager ant colonies. Each letter of the word-centipede is about the size of a small pink eraser like you used to have in your cartoon-themed pencil case.
From Biographical 3: Confessions of a Pure Love Salesman
This one didn’t have that much about Something Deeperism per se, but “Pure Love” is a phrase that points towards the deeper something beyond and shining through all particulars.
Pure Love Label
For the enlightenment of the soul and the joy of life.
Administration & Dosage:
To be imbibed constantly from the outside-in and the inside-out.
Warnings & Contraindications:
Warning: Regular use will empty you of selfishness, self-pity and self-satisfaction. You will forget yourself and your urges and melt into everything and everyone. This change in perspective may dissolve your current goals: you may not end up retiring early to the Bahamas or getting that hot young lover or that sports car. Granted, the new wiser you will perhaps actually want to forgo such apparent grandeurs, but what does the current you think? It may yet be that the new, wise you is already there, deep in the current, idiotic you; but I dunno: you’ll have to check.
From Chapter 3: Pure Love Label
OK, but now we really are going to get to more explicit discussions of the philo-spiritual-position of Something Deeperism.
For example, in the next excerpt your author gets really worked up about the inability of the country to share a common reality and–not for the first time!–,in anguish and despair mingled with that old gambler’s hope, calls upon Something Deeperism to bridge the self-isolating islands of group-think:
Whatever you are trying for: “truth” or “goodness” or “holiness” or “best current guess” or “decency”–whatever phraseology you use, your deep underlying goal presupposes that life matters and that we can consciously find our way to better and worse ideas and actions (ie: your real motivation is a sense of meaningfulness deeper than ideas and feelings). So though our specific philo-spiritual persuasions vary widely, we all agree that life matters and that with open-hearts and open-minds, we can find our way to truer visions and better actions. Take that common ground seriously and you will see that it implies a shared absolute standard of values. The real Truth is prior to our ideas and feelings about Truth, but each of us has the same inner sense: this is the truth from which we can begin: this is the truth from which real commonwealth can begin: admit that the Truth is in each of us: we all know very well that life matters, that people matter, that we need to treat one another with respect and dignity. We don’t just think that or feel that, we know it, and it is this deep knowledge, deeper than the assumptions out of which we’d build our doubts about the authority of this knowledge, that binds us.
We need to start seeing that we have enough in common and that the only things that win in media battles are memes and dramatic swells of self-aggrandizing emotion-puffs. People aren’t soundbites or momentary thrills. They aren’t even complex, well-thought-out ideas and intricate mazes of overlapping and interacting feelings. They are ideas and feelings centered around that indefinable something that motivates and justifies our attempts to use ideas and feelings to find truer and better paths. People win when they treat themselves and others with dignity and actually think and work together; they lose when they reduce the real world to black and white sides and human beings to us or them.
From the energetic if not always perfectly-controlled pirouetting of:
Essayish 5: Proposed Solutions
Also, there was one entire post on Something Deeperism:
Something Deeperism does not claim that either skepticism or religion is an error, but merely points out that the basis of both is deeper than either one: the point of bothering with both skeptical and the religious analyses is to better understand and follow the True Good. Trying to figure out how to think and act only makes sense if it actually matters what you do: if you actually matter (not the same as feeling like you matter–we all know that feeling-like-life-matters is not the sense that burns our fires).
The various tools of human thought and human culture should therefore serve this inner sense of We All Matter!, and not get off into tangents, making gods of themselves and otherwise pushing us away from the very wisdom/joy/decency they should be pushing us towards. A Something Deeperist can be a Christian or a Buddhist or a secular humanist or etc; all that is barred from Something Deeperists is to deny the sacred Love at the core of reality, or to claim either that one’s intellectual and/or emotional thought perfectly understands that holiness, or that those aspects of one’s thought have no understanding of that holiness, or that one’s intellect cannot better its understanding of that holiness. A Something Deeperist must keep pedaling.
“The logos (account) is only one. It is willing and unwilling to be called by the name of Zeus.” [Heraclitus]
Or again: “Let’s not sing of Titans and Giants–those fictions of the men of old–nor of turbulent civil broils in which is no good thing at all; but to give heedful reverence to the gods is ever good.” [Xenophanes]”
From Statement of Faith (Essayish 4; also included in the beginning of LAARP)
I’m just going to quote the first two paragraphs of this long and long-winding piece:
Demographicars tell us that around seven billion people live in the world today. Written out: 7,000,000,000. That’s alot of failures. And if you think over the history of the world, the number of failures soiling this earth is becomes absurdly large. Or consider animal life: Has there ever been a cockroach that ever amounted to anything? The Smithsonian estimates that at any given moment there are 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) insects alive on the world. Add that together with arachnids, worms, mammals, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and the rest of them! Just contemplate how many useless failed wretches this earth holds! Just hold that in consideration for a moment or so; hold that terrible edification in your wretched skull for a moment or so.
I am uncertain whether or not to include the tiniest of critters within our list of losers. But first, although I know we all already know what constitutes a failure, some may have difficulty admitting it to themselves, as it clearly implicates them and all they stand for; so let’s review what a failure is by investigating the simple mosquito. A moment in the presence of a mosquito is enough to let anyone know that there is a drop of consciousness there. Is a mosquito therefore a failure? Take a deep breath, consider it, feel the mosquito and the question of whether or not we could consider the life of any mosquito ever to have been any kind of a success. Breath out. Clearly not! It is self-evident that mosquitoes have some little pathetic sliver of awareness, and it is just as self-evident that mosquitoes are always losers: it takes only a drop to condemn: one drop of consciousness within a creature that’s not amounted to much is the criterion of hopeless failure. Without a doubt, mosquitoes and humans are failures; but what about dust mites? Do they have a speck of consciousness? What about bacteria? We know that no member of either species has ever achieved even the tiniest shred of real consequence (the argument that greatly impacting human history constitutes an achievement of consequence is only tenable if human beings themselves ever managed anything of consequence–but of course they haven’t), so whether or not they are all losers rests squarely upon the question of whether or not they have a drop of consciousness; a question I’m not at the moment comfortable answering.
It goes on and bounces in some several different directions. I like it, but maybe that’s just me. It is the only one of these writings that claims a guest authorship; at the end we learn:
“Author: Ponce de Leon, many years, reforms, back-slides and rejuvenations after discovering the Fountain of Youth in what is now Southern Florida, USA.”
Preposterous, of course; and yet perhaps just maybe the fairly likely and quite possibly true.
And there’s one more thing we released this time:
And then there’s the ending of “Chapter 1: Love Engineer”! If you follow a proof for the infinitude of primes and then conclude that there are in fact an infinitude of primes, you are making a metaphysical leap even more wild than the one from the experience of Pure Love to the conclusion that Pure Love in fact exists. For if Pure Love exists, it seems quite likely that the experience of Pure Love would carry within it certain knowledge of what you are experiencing (ie: the experience of Pure Love would have the stamp of Truth within it); but even if the standard human mathematics where we believe to have found proof for an infinite number of primes exists, it seems unlikely that any experience of mathematical logic would have “Absolute Truth” imprinted upon it as clearly and indelibly as the experience of Pure Love. On the other hand, perhaps the ending of “Love Engineer” is not supposed to assume the leap from a mathematical proof of the infinitude of primes to the metaphysical belief that an infinite number of primes actually exists, but just an affirmation that there’s an infinitude of primes within the mathematical system where we just proved there’s an infinitude of primes. In that case, it seems that the author of “Love Engineer” is confusing the experience of a proof within a system with the experience of a proof beyond all systems. Very worrisome. And so what can we do? How can we proceed? What God will answer our jumbled, confused, blathering prayers?
That’s from: Essayish 2: Great Regrets
In this post, I gripe about imperfections in some of the writings I released last time. But right now I feel like “whatever, ‘cause those pieces had something worthwhile and I’m moving on right now so let them stand, let them be–there’s no perfection in human endeavors, but The God forgives all shortcomings and sanctifies all honest efforts. I don’t think it goes too far to presume I have God’s blessing to stop editing what I wrote last time and move on to something else. Why not? I edited it a lot.
Anyone make it this far?
PS: I didn’t mention one of the “Love at a Reasonable Price” entries. I just don’t want to talk about it right now!