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The ten thousand things and the one true only.

by Kip Manley

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This one has to have been going to eleven.

The first draft of no. 33, “ – carnival was ringing – ”, the final installment of vol. 3—is done! (He said, just about four weeks ago. Pause for applause.)

It weighed in at 19,299 words, a respectable number for a first draft. The cuts will no doubt—are proving to have been—wioll haven be daunting, but not, I should hope to have thought, impossible.

But! Considering that Adobe has raised the prices of their monthly subscriptions—for software that really, at this point, one should have been owning outright—but to levels nosebleedingly high above outrageous and into you’ve-got-to-be-fucking-kidding-me territory, which means the family operation has switched wholesale from the Adobe family of products to Affinity, bless their scrappy little hearts—but! What that means is I’ve got to be taking this entire end of the workflow and having reconfigured it completely, build templates up from nothing to be exactly like what I would have had before, in software that’s almost but not entirely annoyingly just enough like what I wished I’d had before to trip up all my reflexes. —The below is a shot of what happened when I tried to open one of the postscript files that used to have been spat out as a byproduct of ’zine production; I was hoping that maybe Affinity could parse it just enough to make making new templates a bit easier, but: Affinity (scrappily!) took all 18 spreads of a 36-page booklet and printed them one atop another on a single two-page spread [ fig. 1 ].


Fig. 1.

Quite powerful, in an Austin Osman Spare sense, but otherwise? I will have got to have had a bit of work to’ve been done as of yet. On top of the redrafting.


—posted 253 days ago

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(Originally posted on the Patreon.)

Things to keep in mind:
The secret of the changel.

“She was not my wife. She was too fine to be my wife,” Michael said of Bridget after her death. It might sound like bitterness, a man venting his insecurity at a woman who made him feel small. But Michael was being literal. He also claimed the woman he’d killed was “two inches taller than my wife.” By the time he was on trial for murder, Michael was not framing the problem in terms of some flaw in Bridget. He claimed that the woman he’d killed was not Bridget at all.

Sady Doyle

—posted 288 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of f--ry stories.

Indeed, f--ry stories have always been radical. The particularities of any one f--ry story may differ, but the point is this: another world exists, largely invisible or obscured but right alongside our own. It is not governed by our hegemony but has its own traditions and rules. It is often older than ours, and though its existence may be denied by figures of authority, the elders—the grandmothers, the spinsters—whisper their tales of a different kind of world to the children before they sleep. If you are keen enough to sense where the boundary between worlds is stretched to only a translucent scrim, and brave enough to break through it, you will find something that takes your breath away. And though nowadays compendiums are plentiful, f--ry tales have an oral tradition of much longer standing; the democratic nature of this tradition, in combination with its content, is what led Propp to credit it with a “revolutionary dynamic.” Often, in f--ry tales, the good triumph over tyrants thanks to ordinary powers of cunning, kindness, or perseverance. In The Faraway Nearby, Rebecca Solnit makes the point that in f--ry tales power is rarely the right tool for survival: “Rather the powerless thrive on alliances, often in the form of reciprocated acts of kindness—from beehives that were not raided, birds that were not killed but set free or fed, old women who were saluted with respect. Kindness sown among the meek is harvested in crisis.” Perhaps this aversion to absolute power was another reason that Tolkien was drawn to the f--ry story. When asked if the “one ring to rule them all” was an allegory of nuclear weapons, Tolkien replied, “Of course my story is not an allegory of Atomic power, but of Power (exerted for Domination).” These stories are some of the oldest in our collective memory, and yet they continue to be told. If they did not need to be, we would stop.

Natasha Boyd

—posted 303 days ago

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Under new management.

Oh no, not me, not this. But the Queen’s house, her former house, I should say, of the former Queen, I suppose, if you look at it in the right light; the house that once upon a time looked rather like this—

No. 1: Prolegomenon

—on the cover of this, that was lost in “Deliverance” and last seen thicketed with scaffolding in “ – on pretending that – ”, well, now it looks like this:

The Queen’s house, now.

I suppose Welund and Rhythidd, the Guisarme and the Glaive, were able to find new buyers after all.

(As a bonus: Google’s streetview shows us what it looked like somewhen in between…)

The Queen’s house, somewhen in between.

—posted 326 days ago

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Via Patreon, and Pixelfed.

Things to keep in mind:
The secret of crows.

When you stroll down the street at 4:19 in the morning, and you suddenly stop—to look at two crows playing in a pine tree across whatever suburban street fate has stuck you on for the last year-and-a-half, there’s a history of crows, a tradition of crows, a discourse of crows that’s stopped you, and because you’ve stopped and are looking at them now, you can never be wholly aware of what that discourse, that history, that tradition was.

Sure, a moment on you recall the pair in the Neibelunglied, but you don’t recall the one you saw savaging a red cardinal carcass on the highway’s edge when you were five, or the one with the bilious tongue your father’s friend—Connie, I think his name was—split with a razor to make it talk, because he was under the mistaken impression that such cruelty would re-articulate the species and make of it a dusky parrot. Fiberglass curtains blew around the cage in the Harlem back window, while—its swollen tongue pink as a rose hip, holding apart its grey-black beak—the bird eyed me blackly, then looked down at the newspaper over the cage bottom, scattered with seeds and shit…

The really repressed, the inchoate, the inconue that one masks with public dragons and genre-determined strong men and women, to whom one loans one’s most cherished ideologies, one’s most committed desires, to make them strong enough to possess and hot enough to be possessable, they just don’t yield themselves up so easily as a pair of birds at play above the November sidewalk. That’s why we turn to them through genre tropes—because we don’t know what they’re really about. That’s what we need public symbols for—symbols that alone let us negotiate the unknown and the unknowable.

It’s because we can’t grasp, really, what they are to us, that, moments later, as the crows fly off above the green and orange alley, our throats suddenly fill and we are trying not to cry—

So then, angrily, we write about dragons.

Samuel R. Delany

—posted 356 days ago

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The trouble with getting people together in a room finally is then they want to say stuff to each other that threatens to derail the scene, if not the plot.

It’s coming along, the 33rd chapbook, the last installment of the third volume, the mid-season finale of season two, and my God, the violence done by that phrase, “mid-season finale,” to structure, to storytelling, criticism, language, to the passage of time itself. —Aren’t words wonderful?

Anyway, while I’m writing, while you’re waiting, now that the shape of the thing is hoving into view, I thought you might maybe like a glimpse of one of the tools I use to keep track of what’s happening when: simple, yes, almost abstract, but nonetheless necessary:


And look: I know it’s been four years, but it’s only been seven weeks: a glacially pell-mell bent for leisurely saunter into eyeblink chaos, or something. Soon enough we’ll know where we’ve ended up, and I’ll need to start working on getting us out. —Until then.

—posted 364 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of conspiracies.

Look: The pleasure we take in spinning out elaborate, unproven theories in order to “connect the dots” can skew ugly, and it has. It’s a tendency that has also underpinned the worst conspiracy theories about Newtown or even Sept. 11. I’m willing to believe that we can’t completely control these wild imaginative impulses. We’re suspicious and creative and paranoid creatures, and our interpretive energy lands on whatever we happen to be looking at, whether it’s real or fiction. And as much as I wish fans had a worthier subject than Game of Thrones to pin that attention on, it’s nice to see that faculty being used the way it is: for play and for fun. For collective sense-making. It’s deep, analytical, silly, creative thinking about a show that could use the help.

Lili Loofbourow

—posted 448 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of the sermon on the way things ought to be, dammit.

Philosophy does not begin in an experience of wonder, as ancient tradition contends, but rather, I think, with the indeterminate but palpable sense that something desired has not been fulfilled, that a fantastic effort has failed. Philosophy begins in disappointment.

Simon Critchley

—posted 460 days ago

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A visitor of note.

From the epigrams to season one:

Lanak supposed.

From the vistor logs:

Lanark, South Lanarkshire.

—posted 524 days ago

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(Originally posted on the Patreon.)

Things to keep in mind:
The secret of sibilance.

It is interesting to note that the entities most usually described as “hissing,” in the early modern period as also today, are devils, serpents, and audiences.

Marjorie Garber

—posted 533 days ago

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