10.

Leaving – Waiting – An Offer – Names – Steps – Circles – Threes and Eights, a story – with more thoughts on the purpose of art and literature (The following is a work of satire. The people and events depicted, including those based on real people and events, are all entirely fictional.)

*****

I don’t recall exactly how much of it was intentional, but Ruby certainly owes something to Jaime Hernandez’ Maggie Chascarrillo. Both, as a matter of fact, were originally supposed to be the protagonists of science fiction stories (speaking of which, I was also surprised to discover recently just how much Kelly Sue DeConnick’s first issue of Captain Marvel must have influenced me here). As for Coherence, this can be considered the beginning of the second act, more or less. It’s where the story finally starts to pick up. Or, to put it another way: if I was just beginning to understand what I really wanted to do when I wrote Houses, Windows, this, I believe, is where I really started to do it. Again, it can be difficult to remember these kinds of things accurately; though I can say pretty confidently that it was somewhere between these two selections that the project began to grow exponentially, as it continues to do even now.

*Grant Maierhofer’s own recent project, GAG (excerpted here), seems to have been motivated by at least a few similar questions, though his response is far more original.

*Rachael de Moravia’s latest poem treats other subjects of equal interest, but again more beautifully.

*Nicholas Dames examines the life, writing, and activism of the late Grace Paley (the illustration is by Eleanor Davis).

*Ben Jeffery, in tracing the greatly exaggerated rumors of its death, attempts to divine the purpose of the novel.

*In the previous two issues, I had linked to three different essays by Jedediah Purdy; in one of those, Mr. Purdy linked to Leszek Kolakowski’s description of what the latter had called conservative-liberal-socialism. I share something of the temperament of both these men, I think—or rather, I aspire to it—and I am reminded of 60’s radical and anarchist Paul Goodman’s referring to himself as a “Neolithic Conservative.” I have also been thinking a lot about Mr. Goodman’s hope for a New Reformation, however personally he defined it, alongside Dr. King’s Revolution of Values. That is, I feel the political solutions to the crisis we now face have to be rooted in some kind of spiritual awakening (I had linked earlier to this piece in which Alan Jacobs described the work of early- and mid-twentieth-century American theologians who tried to find some metaphysical justification for democracy during the rise of totalitarianism; I am currently if very slowly reading From Dawn to Decadence, by Jacques Barzun, and Manisha Sinha’s new history of Abolition, The Slave’s Cause, as well); and to foster spiritual awakening can and should considered one of the most important functions of every form of art. On the one hand, I am loathe to suggest that all art should be made toward such an end (or any one end, for that matter); but it does seem like those who might be so inclined have been roundly discouraged by the prevailing tastes trends of these past few decades.

Anyhow—

Next issue: May 2nd

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