Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Gordon Matthews, the inventor of voice mail, has shuffled off this mortal coil and, though I had not heard of him prior to his death, his passing will be duly noted and observed by yours truly.

His invention, you see, changed my life some twelve years ago.

As I mentioned a few days
back , I was involved with a voicemail "scene" (Ugh!) beginning in the late 1980's and lasting through the early 90's. This occurred in the portion of California which has come to be known as "Silicon Valley" (and it's immediate environs) and consisted of a varied group of misfits, outcasts, losers and loners who used commercial voicemail systems as a means of creative expression and social interaction. I don't know that any kind of census was ever taken but I figure there must have been as many as forty people, more or less, participating; a certain core group with others hanging on and falling off the periphery.

The way it worked was something like this: one or more people rented a voice mail box (referred to as "boxes" - about $10.00 a month if legitimate, free if pirated) and attempted to utilize the outgoing message space in a creative fashion - this entailed it's own limits and discipline as the time one had for creativity was typically no longer than a minute or so. Other people in the "scene" (Ugh again!) called, listened, and left messages - to which the recipient responded, perpetuating the cycle. Most people adopted "handles", rarely using their real names. "Psycho Jack" was the moniker I went by (derived from a character I had created in my misspent youth). My outgoing message space was usually occupied by my own work (poetry/prose vignettes), pontification, whimsical audio productions or music (prerecorded).

At times the social activity extended into the real world when a "box" party would be arranged. For some time, the "boxes" were my key social and creative outlet.

I could not have known when I entered this world of disembodied voices that it would lead me to the woman I had been waiting for all my life. But it did. One day I received a message like none I had ever recieved before, delivered by fortune and fate. It was a voice like cool water on a hot day, making my name - Psycho Jack - shine. And saying that my voice gave her chills. This, of course, led to trouble with the girlfriend I was sharing a "box" with at the time. But that relationship had been christened by doom before it set sail and fate would not be denied. Me and the owner of that luminous voice have been together now for over twelve years. This is why my hat is off to Mr. Matthews.

The voicemail - here it comes again - "scene" (ouch!) that I have briefly described here was a unique flowering of creativity through technology. I can't help but see similarities between the voicemail then and the weblog now.

I am pleased to report that a gentleman by the name of
Phineas Narco , with others, has preserved a portion of that voicemail blossom under the name Midnight Voicejail , and has seen fit to broadcast it in the Bay Area through the auspices of radio station KFJC and, also, over the net .

Monday, February 25, 2002

Once there was a disciple of a Greek philosopher who was commanded by his Master for three years to give money to everyone who insulted him. When this period of trial was over the Master said to him, "Now you can go to Athens and learn Wisdom."

When the disciple was entering Athens, he met a certain wise man who sat at the gate insulting everybody who came and went. He also insulted the disciple, who burst out laughing. "Why do you laugh when I insult you?" said the wise man.

"Because," said the disciple, "for three years I have been paying for this kind of thing and now you give it to me for nothing."

"Enter the city," said the wise man, "it's all yours. . ."

I came across the above gem in a book I am currently reading and simply had to share. This piece resonates so strongly with me because it is a simple but pointed illustration of how, through awareness and perspective, we make our respective worlds.

Now, on to Athens!

Friday, February 22, 2002

Well, we have secured an apartment in Oakland, California (look here if you want more information about our impending move) and the process of packing all of our earthly possessions into cardboard boxes has begun. I am, in fact, surrounded by boxes as I type, mostly empty, some filled with books. I figure I have packed about nine boxes of books thus far. By the time I am done packing our library that number will no doubt be tripled, at least. Books are an important part of our life ("our", for those of you who do not know, is me and my soul mate Sarah). That is made evident to our friends when they help us move - box after box after box of literature.

I will, if left to my own devices, spend money on books and music before clothes or other "practical" essentials. Each time I purchase a new book I realize that I probably shouldn't. I have enough unread material already to keep me reading for many years. But I am typically unable to resist any volume that sparks my imagination. There are just so many places my mind wants to go, so many things to know. I should be reading right now, in fact. I'm not getting any younger and the "to be read" pile just keeps growing.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

. . . The fact was I was in high literary spirits, just then. I had been harassed and worried for a whole year in the office of Literature, a weekly paper published by the times, and getting free again, I felt like a prisoner released from chains; ready to dance in letters to any extent. Forthwith I thought of �A Great Romance�, a highly elaborate and elaborated piece of work, full of the strangest and rarest things. I have forgotten how it was that this design broke down; but I found by experiment that the great romance was to go on that brave shelf of the unwritten books, the shelf where all the splendid books are to be found in their golden bindings. . .
- Arthur Machen , circa 1922-

I have many books upon that shelf myself, dear Arthur, and am honored to have my (un)work in such fine company.

Indeed, I have no idea how many "great romances" of my own are languishing in the space behind my eyes. They remain there not for lack of ability, I think, but for lack of drive or discipline. Even now, the tale of poor Jarny lies incomplete and perilously close to that brave shelf of unwritten books, marked in my mind by that gray and mocking stone upon which are engraved the words, Work in Progress.

Some things, however, do find their ways out of my head. No, I am not referring to these blog entries or to the reviews I write at such commercial sites as Amazon or, more recently, Epinions , but what I refer to as my work - consisting primarily of small fictions and poetry in various styles (free verse, lyric, haiku and tanka for a few instances).Some times these courageous offspring of my imagination even go on to lead successful lives as published pieces (see the links to the left under My Words on the Web for a few examples).

In an effort to share those ideas that do make it out of my thick head and into the world with a wider audience, I am hereby launching (as I said I might) a new feature here at Notes from a Life in Progress - The Poetry Clique. Just click on the clique (to your left, beneath EXPLORE) and you will be taken to a page, to be updated on a more-or-less regular basis, containing one or more of my poems. I would like to think that this is not a purely ego driven endeavor, but that I am , perhaps, entertaining and/or enlightening potential readers.


Wednesday, February 20, 2002

For those of you who are not convinced of the sitting (slouching, slumping, LYING) President's evil ways, I urge you to read Michael Moore's Open Letter to George Bush (link stolen from kalililly ). Please consider the implications if even a fraction of a percent of the irrepressible Mr. Moore's allegations are true. Those of you who are already convinced should read this piece as well. Saying "I told you so" never felt so bad.

Monday, February 18, 2002

Today marks the two-week anniversary of this, my first and (so far) only, blog. Premature as it may be, I feel moved to reflect a bit upon the experience.

First of all, the sense of community here in the web log world reminds me very much of a voice mail scene that I was a part of back in the late 1980�s in �Silicon Valley� (more about this at a later date). The blogging thing is larger in every way but similar in that it brings together a wide variety of people � each doing their own thing and, in that individual pursuit, participating in a grander scheme.

I am not really clear on the politics of blogging - if there is such a thing. I have been linked by a few people that I know of as a result of my contacting them and letting them know that I appreciated their blogs. This is encouraging as it informs me to some extent that what I am doing here is at least marginally worthwhile to others. And, while I stand by my assertion (as noted in that first post) that writing itself is a solitary activity, I have come to realize that this blog is a potentially dynamic forum. With this in mind I encourage any and all who pop in here to leave a comment if so inclined (just click on the little orange "comments").

This has been a quite literal learning experience for me. Before February 4th I knew nothing at all about HTML code. I was forced to learn at least a small amount if I wanted to create a blog. And I did want to create a blog. As somebody who has written one thing or another most of my life, I was drawn to this medium immediately. One of my motivations was the notion that I might post some of my work here for the perusal of all and sundry. I don't mean the links to the left which will lead you to places on the web where I have been published, but other stuff - unpublished and/or published in the "real" world only. I have already made a start with this in my previous post (see "Notes on a Theory of Subtle Revolution" below). Soon, perhaps, I will initiate a poem/story a week link. Is this a good idea? Is anybody interested in reading my "work"? Time will tell, I suppose.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Dr. Menlo over at abuddhas poses the following (at the tail end of a longer, thought provoking piece):

�We in the north have a decent chance of staving off those who would use us so; and continue to maintain communities that, regardless of ideology, help each other out. For the vast bulk of my readers I must ask - where do you stand, and what are you willing to do to preserve what you stand for?�

While my first reaction is to bristle at the thought of taking sides - �where do you stand� seems to suggest that we pick a team or, at least, a spot on one side or another of some ideological fence � I think this is an important question. It is a question that seems to be framed within a context of �Us� vs. �Them�. Ultimately, I know that there is no us or them because we are them and vice versa. While this is true with a capital T at the most fundamental, basic level of reality, the day to day world we exist in is one of dualities. This, if nothing else, is very clear after 9/11. There is good in the world and there is bad. This, I think, is the crux of Dr. Menlo's question. Good or Evil � which one do you want to support? The problem for many people, I fear, is that they are unable to distinguish between the two. How else to explain the wealth of American support for Bush�s Afghan strikes and his Jihad against Bin Laden and, now, the �Axis of Evil�? All other implications of this nonsense aside (just why do you want to scare the American people so badly Mr. Bush?), let us consider the simple fact that through acts of war and aggression, even in self defense, Mr. Bush is compounding the tragedy and horror of 9/11 and not resolving anything but perpetuating a cycle of fear and death.

For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.
- The Dhammapada , Verse 5, Chapter 1 (The Twin Verses), Translated by F. Max M�ller -

In answer to the good Dr.'s first question I must say that I stand on the side of good (as I perceive it). What am I willing to do to preserve that good? This is a question that is not so easily answered. Back in 1992 I wrote an �essay� titled �Notes on a Theory of Subtle Revolution� (published in a �zine called �Comedy Tragedy Apathy�) which advocated non-action, at least on a political/social level. The action I suggested was one of a more intimate nature � a harmonizing of the self � that would, ultimately, become a larger scale action. To quote myself (writing as P. Jack, but that�s another story!) from a decade past:

�What I am preaching here is a gospel of non-involvement, a theory of subtle revolution wherein the individual pays the political and media machinery all of the attention it deserves � none. By ignoring the grinding gears of those aforementioned political and media machines it is possible to turn one�s focus inward to the often neglected and ever vital workings of personal harmony. Through the improvement of one�s very own heart, mind and soul, one may subsequently improve the nature of civilization itself. I am speaking of a sort of cultural osmosis in which a person reshapes him or herself into a centered and harmonious individual, thereby influencing the environment in which they exist.�
- P. Jack, Notes on a Theory of Subtle Revolution in �Comedy Tragedy Apathy� (Volume 3, No. 4. January 1992) �

I maintain that this is a valid theory. It is one that I came to through my own observations and via the influence of various aspects of Eastern thought. For instance:

Do you want to improve the world?
I don't think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.

There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.

- Tao te Ching , Chapter 29, translated by Stephen Mitchell �

My concern at the moment is that the way things are going is straight to hell. If I remain at the center of my circle while a world which I consider to be a bad dream gets worse � one in which the dominant paradigm is driven by personal and corporate greed, nationalism and violence of one sort or another � will there be anything left outside of that circle if and when I choose to emerge? I think the best option is simply to expand that circle to include others of like mind. In the words of John Lennon:

�You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one�

- Imagine , 1971 -

Thursday, February 14, 2002

Well, it's Valentine's Day and I almost feel obligated to discourse upon love - it's nature, it's variations (if any � is not all love the love of God?), it�s joys and terrors. Almost. The truth is that it is late, I am tired, and my Love is hundreds of miles away. I see no reason, in any case, to limit discussion or display of love to a single day. Why not send flowers to your wife on July 16th? Give your boyfriend a pair of boxer shorts with little red hearts on them in May!

Since at this moment I am favoring a warm bed and a good book over a glowing computer monitor I will leave musings about love to better minds than mine:

" Since we love other people through love, and �God is love�, it is through God that we love them. We can only love by first loving love itself through which we give love. Therefore love of God and love of other people include each other."
- St. Augustine

Love is not all; it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink,
And rise and sink, and rise and sink again;
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want, past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay -

�. . .love is the law and the drug and the pull and the push of all we do. . .�
- Shriekback -

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

The Vision of Christ that thou dost see
Is my vision�s greatest enemy.
Thine has a great hook nose like thine;
Mine has a snub nose like to mine.
Thine is the Friend of all Mankind;
Mine speaks in parables to the blind.
Thine loves the same world that mine hates;
Thy heaven doors are my hell gates.
Socrates taught what Meletus
Loath�d as a nation�s bitterest curse,
And Caiaphas was in his own mind
A benefactor to mankind.
Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read�st black where I read white.

- William Blake , from The Everlasting Gospel , 1810 (or so) -

Advocates of the bill recently passed by the Florida House allowing prayer in public schools make it sound harmless enough:

"A prayer would have to be given by a student volunteer chosen randomly � not by majority vote � and would have to be "nonsectarian and nonproselytizing." It also specifies that school staff can't participate in the prayer or pick a student to do it."

Seems to me, however, that this is taking us precariously close to the slippery slope which will send us sprawling into a heap of church and state integration at its bottom.

I don't want anybody doing my praying for me. At least I'm well out of high school and (thank God) soon to be out of Florida.

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Browsing through the just announced Grammy nominess I am surprised to see that I actually own one of them. Generally not in step with popular (i.e. mainstream, i.e. crappy) musical tastes ( for instance, as I type this I am listening to Robyn Hitchcock's 1986 release, Element of Light ) this is perhaps a first (I can't say for sure as I am not in the habit of analyzing the annual nominees). I have not heard any of the other nominess so I am not in a position to comment on them. It does seem refreshing, however, to see such unpretentious, genuine and rootsy music as the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack being recognized by the Grammy arbiters of musical taste. Of course, I realize that this soundtrack is nominated, as is the case with all other nominees, only because it sold well enough to make a blip on the Grammy radar. It is, after all, typically bottom line and not top talent that receives nods from the Grammy and Academy award folks. Not that the two are mutally exclusive, of course - The Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync are certainly some of the most unique and innovative talents to come out of the music Industry in many a year! ; )

Monday, February 11, 2002

Anthony Swenson over at Coyote at the Dog Show posted some interesting thoughts regarding the constitutional right to travel. I am not prepared to comment about that but I would like, if I may, to take some of his words and observations and, after quoting them out of context, use them as a springboard for my own thoughts on the current state of affairs here in the land of the free. From Coyote at the Dog Show :

". . .Freedom to travel� is an issue we should all be considering right now. In the Reflections in the most recent Liberty (0203; no link) Paul Rako says �.. The men with guns at the airport were there for the sole purpose of getting the American people used to identity checks and interstate border crossings. That these efforts are succeeding is even more depressing than the success of the terrorists.� Says he: �Welcome to East Germany�. . .

". . .It's not about guns, it's about control."

Just so Mr. Coyote! Political (or some people prefer to call them conspiracy) theorists such as the late Mae Brussell and producer of For the Record and One Step Beyond (aired for the last 20 years on one of the greatest radio stations in the world - my world anyway - KFJC ), Dave Emory have seen the creeping fascism we have been witnessing in the wake of 9/11 coming a long way off. An excerpt from one of Mr. Emory's For The Record tape summaries:

"The 9/11/2001 attack can also be viewed as promoting the domestic political and police powers of the governing political interests. The fact that the 9/11 attacks have been followed by the passage of sweeping law enforcement and intelligence provisions which may be used to abridge the constitutional freedoms of American citizens and to stifle legitimate political dissent is not to be overlooked."

Stifling of real political discussion, let alone dissent, in the name of National Solidarity was without doubt one of the very real consequences of 9/11. At a time when we need to be asking serious questions about the causes of the 9/11 attacks and the state of the world and the country, we are being told to Speak No Evil against the Bush Administration. In my opinion it is impossible to do anything but. Does it seem suspicious to anybody else how Bush's popularity and approval rating soared after 9/11? Some of us who are really paranoid might suggest that The Bush Administration actually engineered the World Trade Center tragedy. No one can deny that George W. isn't milking the unfortunate event for all its worth.

In any case, I wish people would put down their flags and make an effort to think about things. Whatever the causes of the 9/11 attacks, it was a human tragedy. To glorify patriotism is to compound the disaster. Patriotism is no different than the other "isms" - racism, sexism, etc. - and there is a reason it rhymes with schism . The human community cannot be united so long as such red, white and blue modes of thought are employed.

Sunday, February 10, 2002

I notice I have been linked by abuddhas ! I am. . . well, honored, is the first word that springs to mind. Does this mean that I have arrived in the blog community? I don't know but I appreciate the link.
As I type these words my beautiful Sarah is in transit to Pittsburgh. She has been traveling intermittently for the last two years or so on business jaunts that have taken her from Mexico to Canada and many places in between. This is a double edged sword for us as the exalted place she holds in her professional life allows us to maintain a certain level of comfort in terms of lifestyle but also requires her to travel. We are being cut by the amount of together time being stolen from us by these trips.

Our search for a new home (apartment) on the West Coast began in earnest a few days ago. It is difficult to rent a place from afar, sight unseen, but that is the situation we are in � neither of us being able in terms of time or money � to fly out to California to inspect potential abodes. We have seen one place in Oakland because the property owner/manager e-mailed a set of digital photos for our perusal. Most helpful, this. I am finding the process of apartment hunting simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating. The latter beacuse we are happy, nay excited, to be returning home; the former because speaking to a prospective landlord is really akin to selling yourself - not being a terribly gregarious person, I am finding the daily communication with prospective landlords somewhat taxing. I have also found, however, many of these people to be friendly and helpful to an extent that I had not anticipated. Perhaps I simply underestimate folks.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

"About this time I guess you figured out about Florida"
- Gibby Haynes from Moving to Florida, track 10 on the Butthole Surfers CD, Rembrandt Pussyhorse -

Yes, Gibby, I have. As Californians from the San Francisco Bay Area my beautiful wife and me have, perhaps, never made so big a mistake as when we moved to Florida nearly two years ago. There were various factors that led us out of California and into Orlando - cheaper cost of living, tropical climate, and (I am a bit embarrassed to admit) Disney World . I have been a life time fan of Disney theme parks (An important point here - I am not a complete Disney fan by any means) and when the opportunity arose to live within spitting distance of the sprawling theme park complex known as Walt Disney World, well, I jumped at it.

It surprised my wife - henceforth referred to as Sarah - and myself to discover that we were homesick. More to the point, perhaps, to discover that we are Californians.I know that I never expected to identify myself with any particular geographical location and I admit that I'm not sure what it even means to say that I am a Californian. But I am. Even here in Orlando I am a Californian. It is a state of mind, I suppose, as much as it is a state of the union. This, I suppose, is why after almost two years we still feel like transplants in Orlando.

Of course, as Buckaroo Banzai says "Wherever you go, there you are." This is true and Sarah and me could be happy just about anywhere. But, after leaving the Bay Area, we have come to realize that places have Spirit - comprised, I think, of any given localities own geographical and "spirtual" qualities and the nature of the people who inhabit that given locality. Florida is not without it's charms - most of which come from the Natural character of the place. I often sense a kind of primal wildness about the state, despite the stamp of civilization that is upon it. It is the spirit of the people, however, especially here in Orlando, that we find to be counter to our own. We have little or nothing in common with most of the folks here. This may seem an irrelevant statement when it is considered that the two of us are completely self contained and rarely even socialize with others. But, as I say, the population creates a Spirit and most of the people here are not like us in terms of values and interests in general.

We considered, when we realized that we could not tolerate Orlando for the rest of our lives, re-re-locating to New Orleans - a city that we have vacationed in many times over the years. It was considered when we were first planning our southernly migration but, for the silly reason mentioned above, we chose Orlando. Why New Orleans? In many ways it is similar to the SF Bay Area, and like the SF Bay Area it is unlike any place in the US if not on the planet. It is, perhaps, one of the most unAmerican cities in terms of that Spirit I mentioned above. Certainly in terms of the architecture in the old French Quarter. I think that rather than fumble about here trying to describe this wondeful city I will quote for you a paragraph or so from a book I recently read. The book is called Inventing New Orleans, writings of Lafcadio Hearn . Hearn is much better known for his groundbreaking work and life in Japan. He lived, however, for ten years (1878-1888) in New Orleans prior to going to Japan and wrote quite a lot for a couple of the local newspapers. His work, so the editor of this volume claims, is largely responsible for the general Idea of New Orleans that persists to this day (a sensuous city, a carefree city, a wicked city, a mysterious city). This book is a collection of many of those writings. Without further ado I will let Mr. Hearn take it from here. . .

"It is not an easy thing to describe one's first impression of New Orleans; for while it actually resembles no other city upon the face of the earth, yet it recalls vague memories of a hundred cities. It owns suggestions of towns in Italy, and in Spain, of cities in England and in Germany, of seaports in the Mediterranean, and of seaports in the tropics. Canal Street, with its grand breadth and imposing facades, gives one recollections of London and Oxford Street and Regent Street; there are memories of Havre and Marseilles to be obtained from the old French Quarter; there are buildings in Jackson Square which remind one of Spanish-American travel. I fancy that the power of fascination which New Orleans exercises upon foreigners is due no less to this peculiar characteristic than to the tropical beauty of the city itself. Whencesoever the traveler may have come, he may find in the Crescent City some memory of his home - some recollection of his fatherland - some remembrance of something he loves. . .

I find much to gratify the artist's eye in this quaint, curious, crooked French Quarter, with its narrow streets and its houses painted in light tints of yellow, green and sometimes even blue. Neutral tints are common; but there are a great many buildings that can not have been painted for years, and which look neglected and dilapidated as well as antiquated. Solid wooden shutters, painted a bright grass-green, and relieved by walls painted chocolate color, or tinted yellow, have a pretty effect, and suggest many memories of old France"

End quote. Even though Mr. Hearn wrote the above well over 120 years ago it could very easily describe the city today. But New Orleans, unique and wonderful city that it is, is not home. It is home that we are wanting and it is home that we are going. The end of March will see us packing all of our earthly belongings into a 15 foot truck and trekking across the US right back where we started from (San Francisco, here I Come!).

When California finally falls into the Pacific, we will be there.

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

The recent news that the Dalai Lama was ill and admitted to a hospital in India concerned me more than I might have anticipated. Sure, I have been studying Buddhism for some time now and have adopted something like a Buddhist outlook as a result, but this particular jury is still out on the whole reincarnation thing and I'm not convinced that His Holiness is, in fact, the latest incarnation of the Bhodisattva of Compassion. Still, I do not shrink from referring to him as "His Holiness" - he is, I think, a Saint (or the Sanskrit Buddhist equivalent, Arhat ). This, I suppose is why the thought of the Dalai Lama's death affected me the way it did. I would grieve to see such a truly good man leave the world while warmongering buffoons like our fearless leader are running things here.

It is, of course, a fact that the Dalai Lama, like all of us, will die one day. At such time he would probably be the first to remind his mourners of Buddha's Parable of the Mustard Seed , in which the Buddhist notion of impermanence is so vividly illustrated.

I hope reincarnation is a fact. If the Bhodisattva of Compassion is returning time and again in the form of the Dalai Lama to shepherd us out of ignorance, well, there just might be a chance that he will succeed.

Monday, February 04, 2002

"Masturbation, onanism of the most ridiculous and noble kind. . . Literary excretions, the by-product of a mind attempting to reveal itself to itself."

-Victor Salis, excerpt from an unposted, unaddressed letter dated 03/23/49, re. journal writing-

Salis, generally and not unjustly considered something of a crank, is not without his moments of lucidity. The preceding quote is one of them. As a dabbler in the "art" of journal writing and an occasional penner of poetry and prose, I am in sympathy with Salis' assessment of journal keeping and might, in fact, expand his description to include all works of literature. All? Was Shakespeare writing only for himself? Has the latest Stephen King novel been created exclusively for the author's pleasure? Ultimately, no. Fundamentally, yes. Certainly, anything created with an audience in mind is altered in essence by the thought of an audience in the creator's mind. Who will be seeing this? What will they think of it? Such questions shape the artifacts of creative minds without doubt - check out N. Senada's Theory of Obscurity - but I hold that anybody who has ever picked up a pen (or tapped a keyboard) in the effort to create is engaging in what is primarily a solitary activity.

I am alone as I write this but you, unknown reader, are in my thoughts. I am anticipating your eyes upon these words even as they pour from me. It is because of this that I make some effort at intelligibility, form and structure of text. But at the end of all these words, I have written not for you, despite the concessions I have made to the possibility of your presence, but for myself.

So please, whatever future wordy excesses I may indulge in here, know that I am well aware that I am, after all, merely wanking off .