Friday, January 31, 2020

Swamp Formalism

The Black Run Preserve in Evesham, NJ

No post this month, but I've a couple of updates:

1.) A short story of mine appears in the latest issue of The Southwest Review. It's print-only, but please don't let that stop you.

2.) Third novel is almost 50% through the revisions process—page 338 out of 698. Slow and thirsty work. Seems like every two pages I've had to interpolate new passages and completely rewrite old ones. (This would be why I haven't a burnt-on-the-outside-frozen-on-the-inside essay about defunct philosophies or a radical-behaviorist cultural analysis to offer you this month.) My hope is that this new book will be among the longest, most meticulous self-published novels read by the fewest number of people in (un?)recorded history. I might not even make an announcement when it's done: I'll just drop it on Amazon (not thrilled about using it, but that's a conversation for another time) and quietly get on with my life.

Awful lot of grief for such a small prospective yield. But if nothing else, it's keeping me off the drugs.

Since I've promised myself that I'd put something up on this thing at least once per month, I'd like to share a short essay by the late Jack Collom, transcribed from his collection Second Nature (2012). As I've said before, my acquaintance with Collom was brief, but in the years since I've come to think of him as an indirect guide and mentor. If I myself had conceived of and written "Swamp Formalism," I'd be proud to call it a manifesto.

Swamp Formalism 
"Eco-ethos-eros." What we're in the middle of, what we think about it, what we feel about it. Lots to talk about. 
I'm going to try to recite a personal thought-process.
In the early 1940s, when I was 13, I read about a situation on the Kaibab Plateau, north rim of the Grand Canyon. The wolves and cougars had been shot off; hence the deer multiplied; thus the browse and vegetative cover was largely destroyed; therefore the starving deer sickened and died; ergo not much nature left, on the surface anyway. 
I've been a Balance-of-Nature fan ever since.