Point of Vanishing: Intermediary


This is part of what I am calling increasingly the swarm, being a place to let ideas swarm, warm by the edge of the pool. Not a blog by a long shot. But I am increasingly working on a new manuscript, Vanishing Point, nearly done now, I think, and I was just thinking about my usual method, that the best, or at least the most enjoyable, part of the work done on the book is after its acceptance by the publisher. Whether this is due to my preference for pushing against something (an editorial sense of what the book is or could be or is becoming or simply must not become) or because I work better when thinking of the thing as process, the most fun I had with my previous book was after it was accepted, building the website for the book (instead of working on the next book, as is probably the norm). I like building the website for the book. I like it a lot. So why not build the website for the book before the book itself is built? Which is the scaffold and which the object being erected or rehabilitated?

It is freeing to wrie for the void—this space in this case, even as opposed to the printed page, though this page too has black text on a white background like the page.

The swarm is a cloud, congealing. A heap of ideas only partly aloft. It is the opposite of vanishing, indeterminate, not being anything just yet, not apparent, hardly appearing, not closing to a point. It is all potential energy, not yet kinetic.

In buying the new house I would really love to make one of the walls a wall-sized advent calendar of sorts. All drawers, for instance, or think of a hundred lunchboxes along the wall. A wall is a container anyhow, but this one could be filled with containers. It's not that far from the library card catalog to here, but I'm thinking about it already. A honeycomb. Not shelves, though it could include shelves. A shelf is too easy, too obviously waiting to be filled with media. And open-faced. I want it to be a surprise. A treasury of potential delights. Like The Valley of the Moon, a bizarre Tucson landmark slash obsessive experience recently closed and in the process of being renovated. They've acquired a number (all, I hope) of the mini-golf statuaries formerly from Magic Carpet mini golf, also recently closed.

These are sites of great power. They are pointers to a mind, or set of minds, a shaky business model, a person or persons who have died, disappeared, or otherwise left the building, and so in their stead all there is is echo, hollow, what used to be. It's beautiful, really. Things can't sustain forever. Only via ruin and ruination—time—is beauty conjured or made evident.

I can envision pegboard, perhaps, though it seems inelegant and garage-ish. Something wider and more beautiful like bottlecaps and glass and tiny constructions, perhaps, would be a better fit. But I am not yet obsessive enough to make it work. So there's this mess instead. A room without organization. Shelves with some items but that is all. Maybe for Xmas, the way I prefer to write it, without the Christ, or with the Christ reduced to X, as he often is.

So what if I died? How long would this electronic space persist? Until my credit card—pointer to debt and cash and power—expired or until someone stopped paying for its persistent electronic twinkling.

Facebook or Myspace or other social networking pages belonging to the dead persist until the subject or the subject's friends or parents or whatever contact an administrator, someone to operate the system, to flag the page—often littered with commentary—and let it, like the person it theoretically represents, or is tied to, like an apparation, expire. David Foster Wallace's wikipedia page was edited with messages of immediate sadness (one, simply deleting the page and replacing it with "why?" was edited up within the hour of the news, and then back down again a minute (!) later after he passed. I am sure they have been returned to their natural (white? blank? dead? off? vanished?) state since then.

Everything goes and it is good, even this site (is this essay, anyhow? will it change? will it ever fix itself in time as artifact?) will be revised perhaps or archived, or else deleted, bent, spindled, mutilated, or subject to any of the sorts of failure electronic data might undergo. The best thing about it is that sure, you could print it out, fix it in inkjet ink on inkjet paper or whatever other machine (plotter? humming dot matrix 9-pin printer?) you might use to plant it in your world. In that sense while this is published, and it is fixed, for this moment—the moment of its composition, the moment of your reading it and hitting print, or caching it as HTML or PDF or whatever else—it can be unpublished if and when it tires of me, or I of it.

I had meant to talk more about the book, which emerges slowly out of whiteness. But I am not doing so yet. Instead I am generating words onscreen to be read onscreen. It's whisper, whiteness, hush, your ear, my mouth, our collective breath and sonic (even magnetic, what can be gained by attraction of two minds, not to mention bodies) life, facing together, getting closer, facing out, now, a mouth on screen. A pair of lips in motion, attached, or so we think, to a brain suspended in brine and being stirred by something beyond our comprehension.