on traditional publishing and tradition and institutions and madness, i guess

Geoffrey Lewis
5 min readDec 17, 2022

went overboard on this one

my reply:

otherwise every day you wake up and have to pray at and polish the institution which cannot and won’t love you back except by fakery during business hours, and has no imagination beyond its own being the star and preserved ~ going independent, you get to decide what’s worth honoring; you get to rewrite the playbook and the mathematics of life, of how people get along and fit together, how reading should work, how people and conversations should work, how money should work, who should have to work what jobs — — it’s a better way to be a writer: an explorer of morality and ethics; a wider perspective; you get to be critical of group dynamics, glommers-on, bosses, structures, frameworks; obedience…and isn’t this what good literature depends on? Obeying your own blind urge and strange hunger and being pulled by the brightness of your North Stars above and within?

these are all good nouns and verbs, and maybe one day i will wake up and not be governed by parental figure dynamics, i.e. trying to turn the world into parents who can love and protect me, and who will

can i be protected by provenance? by becoming so special that people collect me? can i work to become lovable, through art? through giving everything i’ve got like i’m doing here? but if i do, you’ll turn away, because it’ll remind you you’re behind on doing yours, and being daring in your own little arena, your platform, whereas we’re all naked in public here thrashing for money, everything has become marketing and product, and the house of cards is falling down, because there’s no there there at the end, no buyer, nobody interested————at least, this is the mindset to start with: no one will care that you are shredding your heart and mind and soul online as a creator because everybody’s doing it, nobody wants to obey, obeying makes us sick and creates a sick society, we know this, but leaders don’t and can’t

so then you’re a creator, responsible for leading, not going to the institutional mommy or daddy for a prize or direction, acknowledging that you can know whatever they know. Equanimity. Not waiting for permission, going because your heart says so; making today much different from yesterday, yet keeping your appointments…integrity: difficult, demanding, around the clock, the thing organizing your entire life: addiction to the voice, the calling, your own agency, your endless transformation into someone you have not been & have been delaying becoming; leaning forward into the conversation forever——and the conversation is with remembered faces and voices; the thrill … not of academia or meritocracy (brain-voice was wrong on that one) but emergence, arrival, illustrious, lugubrious (nope, not that, but we don’t edit here at this publication

i sure do give a lot to read and listen to

i wonder if i’m about to be famous, if i’m worthy, another face in the cloud, another leader——where to go collect my rewards? that’s the thing ~ the only reward for the revolutionary is more work, another day to do the work (I keep pushing my number out; I’ll relax and fall in love when I’m 40; that number used to be 30, then 35; how bad can it get?

“Not getting paid for things in your 20s is glumly expected, even sort of cool; not getting paid in your 40s, when your back is starting to hurt and you are still sleeping on a futon, considerably less so. Let’s call the first 20 years of my career a gift. Now I am 46, and would like a bed.”

i guess i gotta do more verbs, no comfort carriage is coming! back to work, poets! make the world go forward!!

i would like the two sides to get along; me, an only child of parents who #separated and #divorced (damaging! forever! lazy marriages make me mad! i’ll probably have my own one day, and fail! i love failure and a three-octave range, more than i will ever love anybody else! this is scream therapy! i’m good at it! … what i meant to say was, i have become a good mediator, with the dream of showing both parties the synergy and future possible when they both loosen their grip, put their weapons down, and believe, i suppose, in vulnerability, rather than strength and guarantees and trying to push buttons on the laptop and phone to make the world a place you have won in, are protected in; maybe we can only be each other’s mommy and daddy…and we have to take care of the real ones who are now close to dying…sorry for the reminder of #Death but it’s always eating me, it’s the voice in my ear nibbling pretzels


but for good measure i have to sell my bondage to death as a digital piece of art you can own and mint or collect in your wallet to show your friends you know it’s coming

if i make a joke of the pyramid scheme, i might be free——winning this life is stupid, absurd, ridiculous, disgusting, and condones all manner of injustices ~ is this my screed and manifesto against winning? that would be funny; i insist on failing in my own way: that’s brave, such a brave kitty as my mother says——again, we just want to go home, but we can’t go home, we demand too much of ourselves

we must get back to social media and changing people, insisting on a better way to organize my doubt and faith, and MONEY! Something about money; oh God, I scream all day from my lack, I have SO MUCH LACK OR SO IT SEEMS, wouldn’t that be fitting for a book title so I can post one of these?

do i want to be approved so bad? can i be exempt if i admit i’m just looking for parents and guardians and i can’t give it to myself so i need a brand to, staffed by professionals who frame their work as a day job, B and C players…lol; judgmentalism is wrought so deep in me!! because i was judged? because i can’t overcome it?? because it is an impossible task and i won’t love anyone or myself more than i love the impossible, the endless distance you can never arrive or feel at home in??? THIS IS THE MESSAGE OF OUR ERA, OUR YEAR, THIS MONTH, RIGHT NOW, and no one knows what to do about it, so we fumble, stumble, ache, rage

and get on with the business of living and going the f*ck to sleep

now edit and RT my life, scroll up click the link and love me