Writing.Writing is the most interesting thing one can do.Writing is the most difficult thing one can do.Writing is the most interesting and difficult thing one can do."Writing is the most interesting and difficult thing one can do." – Donald Barthelme.Donald Barthelme.Donald Barthelme.Donald Barthelme.Donald Barthelme.

An initial difficulty.An initial difficulty: how to say the man's name.the man's name. The pronounciation eludes elucidation.The pronounciation eludes elucidation,way to say it cannot be assayed,assayed (or do I mean ascertained?),(or do I mean ascertained? Ah, the sacrifices one must make for rhyme!),the sacrifices one makes for chimingcharmingjarring half-rhyme!), GoogleGoogle (first port of call on any intellectual journey)voyage) proving fruitless.providing an abundance of answers.an abundance of answers:an abundance of answers, as the following bit of doggerelfollowing bit of doggerel (from user 'ecollen', of the Intelligent Answers forum)internet forum)internet forum (as opposed to the Roman)) illustrates:

That Donald B / is a real mystery.That Donald B / is a real mystery.

Even pronouncing his name / is a kind of a game.Even pronouncing his name / is a kind of a game.

You really can’t tell: / Is it Donald Barthelme?You really can’t tell: / Is it Donald Barthelme?

Does it overwhelm - / like Donald Barthelme?Does it overwhelm - / like Donald Barthelme?

Perhaps they’ll tell ‘em / it’s Donald Barthelme.Perhaps they’ll tell ‘em / it’s Donald Barthelme.

Perhaps it’ll startle - / like Donald Barthelme.Perhaps it’ll startle - / like Donald Barthelme.

Or – don’t tell me / it’s Donald Barthelme.


So perhapsperhaps (in the absence of necessity for(faced with the difficulty of reading this aloud) we'll settle on
bart-elm.bath-ell-me.bath-elm.bart-hell-me.bart-hell-me.bart-hell-me, what the hell. Note, too, the name'sman's incredible anagrammability.incredible anagrammability,incredible anagrammability (by sharper minds than mine),(by sharper minds than mine, or the finer algorithms one finds at Internet Anagram Server),I, Rearrangement Servant),http://wordsmith.org/anagram/index.html), consonant and vowel so proportioned as to yield A Mothballed Nerd.A Mothballed Nerd, or Bearded All Month.Bearded All Month, or Blathered Old Man.Blathered Old Man. NotBlathered Old Man. Unflattering, perhaps, but not all of us are so lexically endowed.so lexically endowed, making do with what the damnable Lord has apportioned us.what the damnable Lord has apportioned us: a tunny shell, any nutshell.a tunny shell, any nutshell (yes, these are anagrams of me,me, Tully Hansen, in case you're too far gonetoo far gone (in reading)(in reading – not meaning to suggest you're under the influence)under the influence, not that there's anything wrong with this) to make out my byline at the bottom of the page, though 'a mothballed nerd' suits just as well).'a mothballed nerd' suits just as well (you can tell I'm a would-be programmerwould-be programmer (confined(resigned to prose) by my use of parentheses)).by my use ofpenchant for parentheses)).parentheses (brackets))).(my boner for brackets))).(my boner for brackets (my taste for braces)))).braces)))). ;-);-):-);-);-) (I think shehe likes you!)

SupposedlyI hope our friend above has not been bisected by a line break.bisected by a line break, one of the untold perils of reflowable text.reflowable text. Only you can save him!save him by adjusting the size of your screen font.

Supposedly
you can guess at a texter's age by the composition of their emoticons.emoticons.emoticons, those tiny text-faced sidelong-glancing guys. Those who use noses tendingtend to be older.be older.be older (does this speak to a trendthe rejection of livedembodiedfull-bodiedbodied somatic experience, a growing trend away from scent?).scent, the only sensethe only sense (apart from taste)good taste)taste, if you count the tactile tapping of keyboards)the tactile tapping of keyboards, the warmth of the laptop'slap-topatop-lap laptop's embrace) that doesn'tdoesn't (yet) carry across the net?). It said so in The Atlantic, so it must be true.It said so in The Atlantic,on The Atlantic's website (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/09/evolution-emoticon/57029/),The Atlantic's website, so it must be true, the author citing a study from Stanford U: "Emoticons with noses are historically older.""… nose users don’t mention Bieber…""Noseless emoticons tend to be used by younger Twitter users and are associated with more informal discourse."more informal discourse." More informal discourse.lol.lolololol.#yoloYou only live onceNasus longa, vita brevis: so y u use nose? And where does this leave the Japanese, who have raised the emoticon artkaomoji to the highest degree?the highest degree?

(^_^)(^_^)a(*^_^*)(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆


The closest I gotI've got so farI've got so far (for the dream, it seems, will not be put to rest) to fulfilling said programming ambition was a gamewas with 'Urban Vigilante,' a game in which you roamed around HobartHobart (Australia's southern-most capital city)(and later the Tasman Peninsula, about an hour from town) exacting low-grade explosive revenge on local residents.residents, namely a local farmer, Gillies. The game was the brainchild of a school friend of minea school friend of mine (who also coined the name of our studio, Great Hens Software)Great Hens Software – "because great hens think alike") who was largely responsible for the plot;the plot (go around town);(go around town, buy supplies);(go around town, buy supplies, make bombs); I came on board as development muscle,the guy who had programmed(for fun) programmed two of Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' in HyperCardHyperCard (Apple's late, lamented, and above all beginner-friendly development environment) the year before, charged with turning his wild imaginings into something resembling a real videogame.resembling a real videogame. My language of choice was AppleScript,AppleScript (again, the beginner's friend, its syntax almost English), so the game played out as a series of multiple-choice message boxes.multiple-choice message boxes, akin to what you might see when saving a file or quitting an application.saving a file or quitting an application, and about as engaging. Suffice to say the work never saw the light of day.

But enough about me.


Donald Barthelme was born in Philadelphia in 1931."Donald Barthelme was born in Philadelphia in 1931.""Donald Barthelme was an American author.""Donald Barthelme was an American author known for his playful, postmodernist style of short fiction."Donald Barthelme was(April 7, 1931 – July 23, 1989) was an American author known for his playful, postmodernist style of short fiction. (Wikipedia.)Wikipedia lists his influences, but they are hidden by default.his influences, but to see them you need to click [show]his influences asBarthelme as bathed all modern, citing James Joyce and Samuel Beckett in the sidebar.sidebar, right beneath the bearded and wryly grinning author photo.author photo, in which he somehow conspires to even look a little postmodern.look a little postmodern, his smile giving the lie to any hirsute white-whiskered authority.authority. A better authority on Barthelme might be Jessamyn West.Jessamyn West, who maintains a Barthelme archivea Barchivea Barchive (?)a Barchive (okay, that was bad)a veritable Barthelpedia at http://www.jessamyn.com/barth/.http://www.jessamyn.com/barth/.http://www.jessamyn.com/barth/, where she describes him thusly:

"Donald Barthelme is the father of postmodern fiction and funny as all hell."hell." (A vote for bart-hell-me, on the grounds of the repeated sound?)sonic grounds?)phonic grounds?)

Her site is a treasure trove of stories and snippets by and about the man.simple static HTML.simple static HTML, jazzed up by a JavaScript quote rotator in the masthead.
For a long while the http://barthel.me domain appeared to be available, and I consideredIt seems thatIt seems that (at time of writing)time of writing,time of writing,time of writing,time of writing, 3:17PM,3:17PM AEDT, 11 October 2012) the http://donaldbarthel.me URLURL (Uniform Resource Locator)address is yet unclaimed, and from time to time I considerI consider (in one of those random acts of online kindness)Charity 2.0) registering it.registering it, gifting it togifting it, or perhaps just setting up a redirect301 redirect301 redirect (that server-side sleight-of-hand)301 redirect (that server-side sleight-of-hand: look here, go there!)redirect to the site of this amateur DBDB (Donald Barthelme)(Donald Barthelme, obvs)(Donald Barthelme) historian/public librarianhistorian slashslashslashslash superfan slash freelance writer slash technology instructor slash public librarian from Vermont.Vermont, the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States.Vermont, the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States (the state, that is, not Ms. West).Ms. West, who is instead the leading producer of Donald Barthelme archives in the United States).the leading producer of Donald Barthelme archives in the United States).

Because it's the stuff Jess West rejects that makes Jess West the best.Sorry, couldn't help it.That's one ofThat'sThe John West taglineJohn West tagline/Jess West punchline is one of aany number of slogans lodged in my long-term memory.slogans lodged in my long-term memory,my long-term memory for ready reference, viz.:

I'm lovin' it.I'm lovin' it. (What's with the lazy diction of all these fast food catchcries?)(What's with the lazy diction of all these fast food catchcries? Are we all too tiredhurriedlazy to speak?)to speak, let alone to cook?)

It's gotta be red.

The burgers are better at Hungry Jacks.

Finger lickin' good.Finger lickin' good. (The final consonant elided.)(The final consonant elided, an act of what is referred to as "G-dropping.")an act of what Wikipedia refers to as "G-dropping.")the "G" dropped like orthographic dubstep.)orthographicorthographic (phonologic?) dubstep – wɐbwɐbwɐbwɐbwɐb…)wɐbwɐbwɐbwɐbwɐb… (ɐ, the near-open central vowel, sounding like the 'u' in 'nut'))

It's more than a little worrisome.
It also brings to light one of
the problems faced by a post-televisual generation.the problems faced by a post-televisual generation: a dearth of cultural capital,commercial cultural capital,common commercial cultural capital, of shared advertisingadvertisedadvertised (as opposed to lived) experience.experience. I picked these up in the course of a youth parked passively in front of the TV,the TV (only because the computers didn't make it into our house until I hit my teens), but as our attention is increasingly split betweensplit and splintered by screenssmaller and smaller screenssmaller and smallersharper screens (a minor lie)(a minor lie, the iPhone 5 having done away with three-point-five)three-point-five in favour of the full four inches) and our media increasingly disintermediated,un-middle-manned and available direct from the manufacturer,content creator, what can we say we've all seen?we say we've all seen, by the dawn's early light?by the dawn's earlyscreen's eerie lightbacklightbacklight (ereaders(e-readers(eReaders notwithstanding)notwithstanding, though these too now light the way for you) or otherwise?or otherwise?

Well, memes.memes.we'll all have memes.we'll always have memes.Keyboard Cat.Nyan Cat.trollface.rickrolling.Epic Sax Guy.Three Wolf Moon.Three Wolf Moon (damn, I wanted that shirt).memes. I remember I first came across the ideathe idea of the virulent ideathe idea of the virulent idea (in Richard Dawkins' original formulation)(Dawkins' earliest version)(Dawkins' first evolution) in internet club.Internet Club.grade eight Internet Club.Internet Club,Internet Club (the first rule of Internet Club is: you do not talk about Internet Club),actually, that movie hasn't been released at this point),actually, that movie hasn't been released at this point, and wouldn't really be age-appropriate for a sheltered thirteen-year-old even if it had),BYO laptop), two kids and me in the library after school.being schooled in this new networked playground.being schooled in this new networked playground by an IT teacher not older then than I am now.schooled in this new networked playground by an IT teacher not older then than I am now.twenty-six.twenty-six whose name was Robert Paulson.Duncan Gillespie. It was hardly an exciting technological upbringing,a heroic cyberculture inculcation,a heroic cyberculture inculcation (no phreaking BBS for me),(no phreakin' BBS for me),(no phreakin' BBS for me, wɐbwɐbwɐb), but it did introduce me to some interesting pockets of the internet.it did introduce me tolead me to discover some interesting pockets of the internet.the (pre-Google)(pre-YouTube)(pre-Wikipedia)still-nascentstill-nascent (though isn't it still, even now?) internet.internet: interactive fiction and Discordianism and the Anarchist's Cookbook.Anarchist's Cookbook. This last wewe (that is to say, a friend or two, or three; I was always a bystander, never a bomber) put to use in all manner of youthful hijinks.youthful hijinks,doubtless illegal activities,good honesthonest Hobart fun, blowing up bottles and stumps out back of a mate's place. This was alsoalso (coincidentally)(coincidentally, I'm sure)(coincidentally, I'm sure – correlation is not causation, after all) around the time I stopped reading.I started to stop reading.my reading habitsreading habits (ever voracious)reading habits (ever voracious, a reader of cereal boxes)reading habits (ever voracious, a reader of cereal boxes and everything else) started shifting.started shifting, trending away from print to screen.from serial to discrete.discrete, disjointed.discrete, disjointed; from the read-only of the printed codex to the random-access palimpsestpalimpsest (and, if you think about it for a moment, all magnetic storage media are of this nature)this nature, constantly written)rewritten)overwritten) of the world wide web.world wide web (whose abbreviation contains three times as many syllables as just saying the thing in the first place).


I have a confession.haven't actually read any Donald Barthelme.any Donald Barthelme. Which is to say, there's only one Donald Barthelme, whose work I haven't read.any of Donald Barthelme's work.Donald Barthelme's work. ButBut I do havehave downloaded several of his books, andillegal copies of several of his books.illegal copies of several of his books.illegal copies of several of his books. Well, I say illegal,'illegal,' but actually I'm not too sure.I'm not too sure.it's a grey area.a grey area, very complicated. Is copyright infringment a legal or commercial charge?SomehowBy way of attempting to justify my actions I have it in my headin my head (among other things)(among many other things)(among many, many other things)(among many, many, many other things)(among manifold other things)(along with a multitude of other things)(along with a multitude of other things, my cranium being sufficiently capacious)(I am large, I contain multitudes)(thoughts pinging Whitmanic offmeandering Brownian round the inside of my skull) that it's the 'sharing' part of file sharing'sharing' part of file sharing, the redistribution of infringing materials that gets you into trouble.gets you into trouble, and that simply beingbeing the recipient of stolen goodspirate bookspirate books (not books about pirates)pirate books (not books about pirates; at least, very rarely)some arrangement of zeroes and oneszeroes and ones is okay.(while not exactly encouraged) okay.okay, or at least not sanctionable. Mea culpa.Mea culpa (that's in Latin).Mea maxima culpa (that's also Latin).Mea maxima culpa (that's also Latin: my big bad).Mea maxima culpa. In addition, I digress.did once readonce read (several years ago, now) an article that was kind of about him.a piece in The Believeron The Believer's websiteThe Believer's website (the bookish branch of the McSweeney's periodical family tree) about Barthelme's recommended reading list.recommended reading list, some 81 titles81 titles (mainly modern, partly post–)from the likes of BernhardBabelBeckettBeckett (his directive: "Samuel Beckett entire")O'Brien and BarthesBarthBorgesBreton to be attacked "in no particular order.""in no particular order." The authorauthor – by his own admission a non-reader –(Kevin Moffett)(Kevin Moffett, who I have just now discovered has a fantastic websiteyou can email at kevinmoff@gmail.com,email at kevinmoff@gmail.com to let know how much you enjoy his work,his work (not that I've read his work either),I've read his work either, except for just now discovering him to be one of the contributorsone of the contributors (alongside Eli Horowitz, another former McSweeney's stalwart) to The Silent History),The Silent History, the story of a closely knit group of six classics students at a small, elite Vermont college… wait),the interactive iOS app chronicling a near-future generation of children born languageless), and whose homepage is not dissimilar to this)at http://kevinmoffett.org) recounts the thrill of the hunt,thrill of the huntsatisfactions of the second-hand bookshopsecond-hand bookshopping (many of the works being out of print) and the rediscoverydiscoveryrediscoverydiscoveryrediscovery of reading's pleasures and challenges.reading.reading. Enamoured, I duly downloaded the three facsimile sheetsthree facsimile sheets (scans of the original list, dotted and checked) accompanying the article.accompanying the article, intending the wholesale import of DB's to-read list into mine.into mine, creating a meta-reading list of all the reading lists I meant one day to get to.meta-reading list of all the reading lists I meant one day to get to, a kind of Borgesian Inception.Inception.Garden of Forking To-do Lists. (BRRRRAAAWWWWW!)(http://www.inceptionnoise.com)Suffice to say the list-listlist-list (like the lists upon it) remains unread, despite the best of my intentions.the best of my intentions (well, second-best, perhaps).the best of my intentions (well, second-best, perhaps, after the one of going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting up in the morning like a functioning human being).


There.Call it an epigram.epigram, a brief, interesting, memorable, and sometimes surprising or satirical statement.epigram, "a brief, interesting, memorable, and sometimes surprising or satirical statement." (Wikipedia.)idea.idea, or a theme.idea, or a theme, or a thesis.opening gambit.opening gambit.opening gambit. On further consideration, don't call it an epigram.an epigram; the word I was looking forfor which I was looking was epigraph.epigraph. In the process of looking up the definition of each, I came across an epigram with which I was rather taken.an epigram with which I was rather taken:

Admiror, O paries, te non cecidisse ruinis / qui tot scriptorum taedia sustineas.Admiror, O paries, te non cecidisse ruinis / qui tot scriptorum taedia sustineas.I'm astonished, wall, that you haven't collapsed into ruins / since you're holding up the weary verse of so many poets.

(It's in Latin.)(It's in Latin, a Pompeii graffito.)Pompeii graffito, which serves only to heighten the poignancy.)irony.)irony. Fortunately the brightly-lit wallswalls (maybe the wrong metaphor here, webpage for wall)webpage for wall, for then what are they all supporting, or containing?)containing? What minotaur waits in the middle of this maze?) of the internet are more resilient.)more resilient. Or perhaps it is just that in this space the words are less weighty.)less weighty, heavy words are so lightly thrown.)heavy words are so lightly thrown. But I'm still fond of it…)But I'm still fond of it, oh-ho-oh…)


But back to that quote.
It's at the start, at least,the top of the page,webpage,webpage, unless you're reading thisdoing thisexperiencing thisexperiencing this (though there's a definite textual component, so reading is perhaps not so far off the mark)reading this on a small screensmall screen – a smartphone, for instancean iPhone, saya Samsung GALAXY S III, maybean LG Liquid Incredible Plus G2 3Dan LG Liquid Incredible Plus G2 3D (this last by way of the Android Phone Name Generator)and who are we kidding? It's probably an iPhoneIt's an iPhone and have scrolled down a ways, which counts for something.counts for something. It must, we imagine,we imagine (that's rhetorical),(that's rhetorical: the writer has no need for imagination at all),knows full well the reason for the quotation's choosing),knows full well where this is all going),has no ideacan only imagine what the reader isyou,you (yes, you!), the reader, are thinking), have some bearing on the work which follows.following work.unfurling work.unfurling work. Let usus (and here we both are again, you and me)writer and writee)Narrator and Narratee, like some word-Wonderland brothers)having lost our respective rattles) therefore take our Barthelme as the organising principle for what follows.what follows, ergo:

"Writing is the most interesting and difficult thing one can do.""Writing is the most interesting and difficult thing one can do.""Writing is the most interesting and the most difficult thing one can do.""Writing is the most interesting and the most difficult thing you can do.""The most interesting and the most difficult thing you do: writing.""The most interesting and the most difficult: you, writing.""The most interesting you, the most difficult you: writing.""The most interesting you: writing. The most difficult you: writing."Abracadabra!WRITING THE MOST INTERESTING YOUWRITING THE MOST INTERESTING YOU

A title straight from the self-help section.A title straight from the literary self-help section (yes, such a thing exists).(yes, such a thing exists).(yes, such a thing exists, inasmuch as bookshops still exist).(the low shelf in back of the store whence all those second-hand copies of Stephen King's 'On Writing' originally issued forth). The phraseslightly stilted phraseslightly stilted phrase (seemingly filtered through an ESL speaker, perhaps)perhaps, else coined for convenience to impose some order) promises an answer.promises an answer to the problem of too much memoir:proves anathema to the dictum of writing what you know:provides inoculation against onanistic blogorrhoea:onanistic blogorrhoea (a febrile mixed metaphor, this, activity and egress):(a febrile mixed metaphor, this, though even here the bots may do it better):the bots may do it better: check out @metaphorminute on Twitter for biminutely algorithmicdigital analogy): write just the best bits.write just the best bits. But which are they?which are they, the exciting or the mundane?which are they?

The exciting?The exciting:The mundane: ::-(: (oops): (Out, damned spots! out, I say!)me joyriding through the hills of West Hobart at night in a hot sunbright yellow Valiant with L and R and A and J looking for Kombis to de-vee-dub-ify them, pry free the dinner-plate-sized decals from their fronts and hang them round our necks like Das-Auto-Flava-Flav and us picking the wrong van to fuck with and being chased through the streets at speed a full twenty minutes before the cops pulled us all over and we'd stashed the weed and hid the signs under the carpet and got away with it while the other guy drunk off his nut was hauled away.

The mundane?The mundane:The exciting: waking up and checking email and Google Reader and Twitter and App.net and Google Reader again and Twitter to see what's happened since I've been gone and then maybe getting out of bed and pretty much spending the day on and off the 'net (but mostly on), and thinking mostly about how much I ought to fold the laundry.


WRITING THE MOST DIFFICULT YOUWRITING THE MOST DIFFICULT YOU

Perhaps this need mean no more than indulging one's urge for the confessional,secular confessional, pressing all one's secret darknessdarknesses into printpixels for absolution or atonement.absolute atonement.absolute atonement. But such secrets often seem to come out easily.But such secrets often seem to come out easily, automatic writing as cheap therapy.automatic writing as cheap therapy, the outpouring of inner feeling interspersed with half-nonsense verse designed to maintain the flow as you go to grow the acceptance you know will be your reward if you can just…just keep…keep writing…writing… writing without awareness of audience in mind, telling yourself this will never be read, to put down the first thing that comes to your head.the first thing that comes to your head… all a ruse, of course.all a ruse, of course. Self and consciousness resist disintermediation, won't allow the removal of middlemenmiddlemen – shame and self-regard, delusions of grandeur and doubtdelusions of grandeur and doubt (the doubt, too, is delusional?)doubt and delusions of grandeur between what you think and what you write. I wet the bed.I wet the bed (there's a verb with an elusive tense).I wet the bed as a child.I wet the bed as a child. I can scarcely bear to let that statement stand.I wet the bed as a child. I can scarcely bear to let that statement stand, but instead let's let the statement stand alone.I can scarcely bear to let the statement stand, but let's let it stand alone:

I wet the bed as a child.as an adolescent.as a teen.as a teen, thoughthough (thankfully) with decreasing frequency.decreasing frequency. (Not decreasing enough.)

So.Is that really what you want to know, what I want to tell?want to tell? Not really.Not really: to date I've told only close friendsgirlfriends and close family, both these by necessity.by necessity. I know, right?Is this really some part of the human condition you're interested in? Ew.Lying soakedsoddensodden and stainedsodden and stained and still before dawn, not moving in hopes you can fall back asleep, not have to deal with it, no, not just yet…deal with it?deal with it? (Hint: the piss is a metaphor for guilt.) Do you want to know what it's like to never have used an electric blanket?


(Each click like a riff of the deck in the magician's trick.)(Each click like a riffle of cards in the trick, by turns orchestrating the return of your card.)your card… ♣3?)your card… ♡J?)your card… ♢A?)your card… ♠A?)your card.)your card, the patter drawing attentiondistracts from the matter in hand.)in hand: it's a bird!)it's a bird! Or a plain old meandering brain.)it's Super–)Superconvoluted–)Superconvolutedclickylinkspialidocious!)A TRAP!)the ready currency of the internet meme.)something has become other than what it was.)

♠Anyway.I found myself struggling at the point I tried to impose order on my thoughts.impose order on my thoughts. Or rather, to fit my thoughts into an order, tailor them to a structure:straight structure:straight structure. Whitman again:Whitman again, or for the first time:

"Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines!"

But outlines failedfail me,
the Barthelme quote scheme was a dead end,red herring,MacGuffin, left me little zest for the task in hand.the task in hand, which is no more and no less than to satisfy James'sHenry James's demand:

"In the end there are no rules, beyond the rule that your writing must be interesting."

So
Isn't that interesting?'Isn't that interesting?' seems a more fruitful guiding principle.guiding principle, allowing as it does for the zigs and zags of attention,slings and arrows of attention,slings and arrows of outrageousvagaries of (in)attention,attention, than 'A followed by B followed by C''A followed by B followed by C' flyingfalling with style on into infinity and beyond.ad infinitum.ad infinitum (Latin). I know which I prefer, as writerGooglerGoogle Scholarcollatorcollateur and readerreceiverclickerclickeur both.both. It's generational, maybe; temperamental.temperamental; a fancy for the glossthe gloss imparted dross by a shiny coat of new media.modes.things to do and click.clickclick and click and click.and click. Always click, click, click! Eh, Mr. Gibbon?click.

"Always click, click, click! Eh, Mr. Gibbon?"

The days of damn thick booksWrists rejoice! The days of damn thick booksceaseless clicking may be coming to an end.coming to an end, though the risk of RSI remains.though the risk of RSI remains, hands employed in other ways.
So what is this?this?this, apart from what it is? An essay?An essay?An experiment?An evolution?A digression?A half-way hypertext?A half-way hypertext (all reflexive, linking nowhere but itself)? A try?Trying, perhaps…Trying to say something.Trying to say something about something.somethingone thingeverythingnothinganythingsomething about something,one thing,everything,nothing,anything,Barthelme,Latin,something, to get the head that writes the paper out onto display.to open inside-outopen inside-out in full flower onto the pagethe page (that ancient papyritic metaphor again) for your amusement and edification.your amusement and edification. I've a soft spot for the inner monologue, the novel of first-person thought.first-person thought, a peek inside the untidy mind… but straight narrative's too neat.narrative served neat isn't easy to swallow. I prefer a self on the rocks.self on the rocks. Give me prevarications, effacements, displacements!Give me prevarications, effacements, displacements! Mug me in back alleys of consciousness!Mug me in back alleys of consciousness!

Leave it to Walt to have the last word…Leave it to Walt to have the last word:

"Sitting around, smoking marijuana, eating Cheetos and masturbating do not constitute 'plans.'" – Walter White, Breaking Bad.Do I contradict myself?Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself.Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself.

I stop somewhere waiting for you.you.

....................

(The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.)Inside every lengthy essay is a brief essay and a lot of extraneous ideas.a lot of extraneous ideas. If you option-clickoption-click (alt-click for the Windows chicks)dudes)users) you can close up the bits you least like, prune it back to better suit your tastes.mood, 'cause you're so smooth.so smooth.

Many thanks to Joe DavisJoe Davis (http://www.joedavis.co.uk) for the framework.the framework,Telescopic Text,Telescopic Text (http://www.telescopictext.org), the loom on which this quilt was woven.the loom on which this quilt was woven. (Does that even make sense?)(What do I look like?)(Some kind of seamstress?)(Some kind of seamstress.)So it goes.So it goes…Vonnegoes…goes…goes… and goes…and goes… and goes…

◕‿◕
by Tully Hansen