Essay

ALL YE KNOW ON EARTH

[Short Story.]

What is it that anyone reading needs to know other than this is a typical letter from the editor of a literary review in the traditional sense of literary reviews, the author having been educated and trained in the manner he has been–was? More questions could arise, will arise, should?  

From the Editor

What I wanted to do with this review, with its blog, its pages section I will not discuss, except to say that literary is the first and last consideration I make, thus is the first and last in the publishing of any content. I have said this many times before in references I have made about this Review elsewhere. It seems as if I have exhausted even my patience with me repeating myself–or so I posture and say. What do I mean by literary? The literary is a muse of this review?  If she is not a muse, then she should be one and we will consider her one. Yes, she. The muses are she; Beauty is she, Truth is she, Wisdom is she, Justice is she, and so on. Each to his own Gods and Goddesses; it seems as if I prefer the latter, feminine.

But again, the literary–what does it mean? Anyone writing about how the literary review that employs him as editor is literary for X and Y reasons would have to say something about what the literary is, how the literary functions in or for the editorial decisions, as well as the authorial ones. And I am too the chief–not only the chief–but the only author of the texts published in this review. Yes, the literary, how does it function here with respect to the kinds of essays that are written–I should say, that I write. Always be active. I do write everything in The Literary Review.

I understand that ‘literary’ comes from the Latin and refers to the alphabet, the magical arrangement of the letters of the alphabet–what is it that we do with the alphabet but spell, yes, all spelling is spelling, if you get what I mean (how could you not?). The idea that what is meant by literacy in this way, etymologically, might circle back to what the French call alphabetics, but not in the connotations the word literary has accumulated over time since spelling was only performed by those who were literary–or so my prejudice assumes and thus precludes any laundry lists or warehouse catalogues from consideration when considering antiquity and what was written in the earliest stages of that technology, the alphabet. I am reserving a special connotation for literary, one that it has had for as long as referring to letters was a metonymic reference for writing, and had its advent at a time when writing was reserved for writing that was other than, for examples, warehouse catalogues or laundry lists; although writing could be used for, as it has been used for, popular or mass consumption, and I do not ascent to the prejudice that orality does not have what we could call literary value, or that oral folk tales when transcribed are not literature because they are, as they have shown themselves to be, literary and/or literature.

It is not significant to go back and try to detail or delineate the bits of matter, or those of manner, that were initial in forming this review. I wanted to create a home where I could write essays in the tradition of the literary essay as employed by most of Western European civilization’s prose non-fiction practitioners since the time of Montaigne, and yes, Montaigne is the father of the form I am a practitioner of, the kind of essay writing I do, examining the subject or topic of the essay through the scientific method of the Self, a kind of trial of ideas about or on the subject refracted through the prism of subjectivity.  The Self lives in articulation. A dialogic imagination inside a dialectic of Selfhood? 

Does this tell you enough? I am not sure that it does, but why should it need to say more than it has? It should tell you everything, but might tell you nothing. Many will still need more–we suffer an information tapeworm in our minds. I will not try to draw you the pictures you might need, no matter how desperately the deaf need to be shouted at and the blind of a particular kind of lack of sight need stark and startling images drawn for them. I will, though, use the kind of diction necessary to illustrate, to illuminate, to elucidate, to explicate whenever possible–words you know or recognize may or may not be used–words you have heard or read before can be employed, perhaps, though, not quite in the way they are familiar to you. You might be familiar with most of what I have said, of what I do say and intend to say in the future; that is, if you step out of the received ideas you accept as the only ideas anyone can understand or believe . . .

The ideas you have accepted without question are ideas entrenched in the culture, ideas diffuse through every statement, every act, every response, every question, every assumption, political, social, general, interpersonal, or those inside the Self that have seeped through the geologic layers covering our interiority.  I am also referring to the received manners of reception most have accepted as the only or primary way of receiving ideas, of integrating ideas, of understanding ideas. Ideas do need an infrastructure, or some core of density for themselves to accrete around–the processes of stellar evolution and solar system formation are analogies appropriate to understanding how ideas are understood, or how they could disseminate. Use them to your advantage in understanding.  The meaning herein has been carried, we hope, I insist with confidence, by a particular literary style that in itself becomes a kind of epistemology.

What if? The question at the back of every readers mind. What if I were Hamlet? Let us say. But is that what we do? We more often subject Hamlet and thus Shakespeare to the horrors of our own prejudices. We do not ask What if I were Hamlet, how would I order a beer in a bar, how would I get in this bus, how would I ask for directions from the token booth clerk? No. We ask the inane question, what if Hamlet were I? Thus, we subject Hamlet to the critique of our own being, our own becoming, our own choices or reasons for choosing or trying to avoid choosing. We’re vain fuckers, in the least.

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