39.

A Tune – Illumination – Darkness – Atmospheric Pressure – Returning – The Vale, a story, Part Two of Three – with apologies (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 am once again asking for your forgiveness. Illumination was planned, placed, and mostly written long before the advent of this latest crisis, although I couldn’t seem to finish it, no matter how often I tried, until the lockdown began.

*If you’re curious about what’s going on in underground and independent comics, Short Box has been offering a free PDF every few days since the start of the quarantine, and Silver Sprocket has made its entire catalog available to read online. There are no better places to start.

*Inside the Castle has made all but its most recent texts free to read in e-book format as well. Its newest, the incredible-looking Smut-Maker, by Mike Corrao, is available to order here.

*Sublunary Editions has released Corpses, Vik Shirley’s book of miniatures, and will be sending out Jess Sequeira’s much anticipated Luminous History of the Palm before the end of the month. They have also, thanks to the efforts of his English-language translator and champion Jacob Siefring, announced the upcoming publication of a new collection by Pierre Senges, excerpted here in the meantime. (I have only just begun to explore Senge’s Major Refutation and Geometries in the Dust, but I feel like I can already sense the importance his work will have for me.) Finally, they too have made their past monthly mailings free to read online.

*Ligeia’s spring installment features a stellar lineup of writers.

*Grant Maierhofer has another selection from his upcoming Works, from 11:11 Press.

*John Trefry offers us a glimpse inside the process of making his next book.

*Thom Cuell interviews Julian Hanna, author of a study and example of the manifesto.

*I have a tendency to overthink everything, but especially politics, and especially when my mind is saturated with news. I find myself trying to game out every scenario, to somehow triangulate the most reasonable and mature set of expectations, which is more or less the aim of the news, since “one cannot spend years sunk inside false and lying propaganda without one’s faculties becoming impaired.” (Doris Lessing, Shikasta)

But, if nothing else, the events of the past weeks have been clarifying. There is no part of this system we can rely upon. The revelation isn’t necessarily new to me, but it’s one that I seem to continually stray from before returning to it again in an ever more distilled and radical form. It seems that I’m always following the trajectory I’ve set for one of my protagonists: learning, or often relearning (and often repeatedly) something obvious.

I’ve struggled all my adult life with how much faith to put into party electoralism, although I have found it an obstacle to hope at every turn. These days, for me, hope for the future usually resides in the promise of direct action (or non-action, in the Taoist sense—strikes being the most attractive form) and in mutual aid, including the support, dissemination, and creation of alternative media, through which to build a sense of solidarity that can transcend (that is: transform when possible or desirable, dissolve when desirable or necessary) all the institutions of capitalist dictatorship.

…by fighting to reform culture one comes to modify the ‘content’ of art and works to create a new art, not from the outside (by professing a didactic, moralistic, or prescriptive art) but from deep within, because man is totally altered when his feelings, his conceptions and the relationships of which man is the necessary expression are themselves altered.

—Antonio Gramsci

Next issue: May 2020