i just shit out a really long piece i thought was going to be my editorial work for opening week, but i am putting it here, instead
by david blumenshine
i had easy plans for my editorial piece, & then got emotional about a series of posts on montevidayo about “bug time” & what all that may encompass. because it is applicable here. i had heard of this quite some time ago, in essence, somehow it was informed upon me that if one were to track the lifespan of a grasshopper to mirror that of typical human longevity, the chirps relate to those old mystical chant cassettes, or the basic ooh and ahh one may hear from a catholic choir. from this, which stuck deep in my thoughts like a handful of random insights - fallacious or otherwise - such as that this method, properly applied, could equivocate the death date of a given person with some semblance of exactitude. of course i am easily drawn into oddball unscientific event horizons, in this i could be considered faulty occult in my non-academic understandings surrounding my position which i position myself by and (in?) large. all of this is rambling insignificancies of a point i felt a need to make. that i feel a need to make points is also a major personal flaw of mine. alas. truth be told, Similar:Peaks::, for my part, is my way of (hopefully) finally finding a way around academia at large, and curating a niche in the world of literature, and somehow be taken seriously, whatever that’s worth, without explicitly using the system which broke my heart many years ago. i am a community college failure. well, i wouldn’t say failure. i was lucky enough to sit in on a poetry class with a professor who i consider a father figure, because i didn’t want to do the science, or the history, and while i did the math, it was reluctantly and only because my adviser got me into classes i tested well beneath. but i could give a presentation on the nabokov v classic translation of Pushkin, and spend every waking hour considering what each side was worth, or what it meant to have both sides in one world, and happily write about such classic russian literature until the janitors asked me to leave. i willingly sat calmly while reading nabokov bastardize kafka’s work, knowing kafka as rorschach, and nabokov’s education in dissecting so as to understand butterflies had clouded his interpretation, which is still somehow heralded. i ghostwrote papers for a sibling doing masters work in medicine, which i know nothing about, for free just to see if i could pull an a for her. i take great pride in the fact that i read more books last year than blake butler did. so while i have admittedly copped out of secondary scholastics and what it could have offered me, i find solace in reading montevidayo and getting chopped and screwed extensions of the iowa writer’s workshop which i dreamed of attending. why did i dream of attending that? because it would grant me an in of some kind? i mow yards for a living. i wait tables. i do janitor work. i have a farmer’s tan. but during lunch and cigarette breaks i am on my antiquated blackberry, soliciting writers i have no business approaching for free art for a literary journal which just now exists. i have given up on sleep, for the most part, and while i would agree with the honorable Ms McSweeney that evolution is largely a scam (if i surmise incorrectly, apologies), i feel as if i have earned a right to be editor in chief. i have worked my ass off in anonymity, with a Stein-esque record of rejection slips (i would never compare my work to gertrude stein’s on any level deeper than submission rejection). and while inundating my life (to some detriment on a very personal level, i’m afraid) with the task of building this niche, my own writing has dwindled more than my weight. of course i believe kafka is rorschach, i identify with his daddy issues and never being satisfied yet … of course his papers weren’t incinerated, brod was meant to find them, kafka hadn’t the nerves to withstand too much while alive. so a couple of months ago, when i took to task all of my work, the edits, the notes, the outside critique, in order to gain perspective of just what i have been spending my life doing, at 32,and whether continuing to even listen to michael silverblatts voice or have a reason to know who wyndham lewis was, that he was even a person who existed, i found a lot of bullshit, a lot of bullshit, but a lot of some indescribable quality of perserverence in spite of myself so as to define myself, at times in letters not much different from this, which in a month or less i will be embarrassed by, too. even stating that last sentence is simply the fat kid making fat jokes to beat the bully to the bottom line. there needn’t be a reward. and for the few times that people recognize me by name and attach it to some at least local importance of this journal, i have had phenomenal breakdowns of identity. but that, too, is identity. begging Joyelle McSweeney for a poem like i deserved it over the internet when i couldn’t work up the nerve to speak to her at the action/tarapaulin sky booth in boston speaks volumes to me about this bug time and evolution. i can inherit screen safe pseudonyms to distance me from who i am too scared to pursue of myself. but in the end, Similar:Peaks:: is a form of love. It is sacred to me. Though I don’t want to be a better editor than writer, it is probably the truth of my energy’s best use. i have at least 5 manuscripts half finished, several lingering essays i inexplicably allow to rot, and that novel which i have completed in my head but refuse to bring myself to type out loud. but doing the work it takes to foundation a journal that stands a chance to be more than another amongst the crowded and volatile map of literary journals - print or online - is much more work than i could have imagined. but to believe in the magic of literature, the way that it truly transforms one’s perception, gradually/instantly or in the seldom cases such as Kafka both, and cultivates new frames of reference with which one approaches life regardless of what platform it is exercised on, to add to that by any means necessary is necessarily in me. so while you may see me weedeating around the firehydrant of the condo across the street from your window in my beat up and bro-ish 2010 world series champions Giants hat and cut off skater pants, know that my mind is here. I co-exist on linear and non-linear planes at once. because of literature. because this one time in a community college class i didn’t understand poetry at all and wanted to so badly, was incongruently unfamiliar with modern writers, thinking Rimbaud was the end all, i did a couple minutes of searching and randomly bought The Commandrine, and learned the secret of the bosses, and knew i had it, and know i will not lose. it.