No Gang, No School

08 Sep


Making No Sense Of It All


Originally published on September 8, 1996. I elected to publish Tom's entire note to me since it was one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking emails I ever received from him, and will follow with my response in a separate file with link below.

Thanks for that insight note on joint projects. I have softened my stance after reading one of your first drafts of Autonomous Gazer and listening, rather than continuing to think of what I was going to say next, to your admiration for Thomas Pynchon and the concept of the modern Mega-novel. But I still haven't read his Gravity's Rainbow but seek refuge in genre writing. That's my gang, Lenny understands genre assignments and slips easily into the yoke, and most important to us, the audience understands the genre, has certain expectations from it, and we writers deliver the goods.

But there you are, no gang, no School, not even a salon. One thing about your work that I do relate to is the desire to put it all on the web, I had a very productive day putting all kinds of esoteric info that I thought was important up on the web, that is until Tracy (Styx) came by, restless and bored, to call me away from the computer and out into the cool night air, steps the Great Pretender.

Yes, that's true, newspaper journalism is definitely one of the genres and you have plyed the trade. But I never considered e-mail anything other than a fast sloppy, disposable medium, always short, full of typos and mispellings—meant to be quickly read (cyber-surfers gets hundreds of them) and instantly deleted—but wait, what's this? GT is sending long, thoughtful E-MAILS??? And then saving them, along with their responses? And the e-mail style that's arisen, why is almost everything a flame? The insular anonymity of e-mail makes everyone so insulting, quick, shallow responses, knee-jerk flames, is this any kinda medium to make your mark?

"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here..." Abraham Lincoln said that.

"They'll talk about me plenty when I'm gone." GT said that, with a deferenial nod to his Bobness. So far they're mostly talking about your outrageous behavior in public. Your strange and cryptic comments while under the influence of beer swill and private demons. But I know you better, I know something (very little actually) of your writing and desktop publishing and poetry and private library and such flotsam and jetsom of pornography & punk that have washed up on GSIS's shores and mingled with the sublime truths of long dead philosophers, I see you walking along the littered shore line of the twentieth century, looking for treasures in the trash. This is a tired and cynical age you live in, it will be tough to break through to anyone, anywhere—there's a lot of noise in the channel.

—Tom Howell

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"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""