1999 Introduction to the e-text edition (updated in 2008):
Hey, folks. I figured at the time I wrote this book (the summer-fall of 1993) that everything that could be said about the book was said in it, but now that its primary means of circulation is via these web pages, some of its self-referentailism is laced with dramatic irony; you, the reader, know about the book's present state, while, I, at the time of writing, had no inkling that it would ever be in anything but paper form. Through the summer of '94, I printed dozens of whole copies (332 pages), for free, at the University of Michigan computer labs, until I jammed up so many of the printers so consistently that they were ALL reset so that pages could no longer be printed double-sided. I moved to Austin, Texas for grad school that September. The university there is not so lavish (or lax) about printer usage, and I never felt inclined to pay 10 cents per page for the thing. This, plus the passage of time, effectively stopped me from giving out copies to anyone who'd read it. Only now, thanks to my brother-in-law Brian Casey, proprietor of the fine web-hosting service rootlevelservics, have I gotten a forum where, once again, I can thrust this hunk of a document at people without having to spend money.
Obviously, then, this book is still unpublished after many years. Why would you want to bother to read something like that? Why would I bother to put this on the web? Perhaps the last question is unnecessary, with all the self-indulgent crap floating around on here, but I do have an answer: Even with all the objectivity time and distance have put between me and this thing, I still enjoy it… I still enjoy reading it almost as much as I enjoyed writing it, which was, I've gotta say, one of the greatest experiences of my life to date.
I'd like to say that this book was rejected by every publisher I've ever heard of, but the truth is that my enthusiasm for sending it around waned after leaving Ann Arbor. Acting on what I now think is bad advice from one of those “Writer's Market” books, I didn't send it to many publishers at all, but instead sent information about it only to agents, i.e. people who would approach actual publishers for me. I got a few good responses from these mailings (maybe three requests to see the whole manuscript) but no one ultimately wanted to sell it. This should have been predictable, given its somewhat unique genre (humorous para-philosophical semi-autobiographical fiction?). One of my friends in the newspaper biz called it a “hard sell.” My graduate advisor in philosophy told me I should try to sell this to a publisher as my SECOND book, after publishing something more normal first. Still, my former (6th grade) teacher (a published poet in his own right) called it a great piece of art, and several of my (generally very intelligent) friends really enjoyed it and STILL occasionally mention how cool it was. In any case, handing it out to women I'd just met proved very effective in getting me dates (it shows how sensitive I am… was…), my wife included.
I wrote this book in the months immediately after finishing my undergraduate philosophy thesis. I had gotten in the habit of writing for the bulk of my day, and just felt like keeping it up. The style is to a large extent a reaction to the strictures of philosophical writing. However, it has its roots in the strange commentary articles I wrote for my high school humor magazine Sklep, which in turn was derived from Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, Dave Barry, and others. It's also not too far from Tom Robbins (of whom I'm not really a fan) or from Samuel Beckett (whom I hadn't read at the time), or Terry Pratchett, for that matter, at least in spots. Though it starts out like an essay, fiction lovers should take heart, as it does eventually get a plot.
Since writing finishing graduate school in 2000, I've written a few things here and there, but have yet to pump myself up for anything of this length. My reading taste has regressed of late; I went from strictly reading philosophy during graduate school, to "respectable" fiction for a few years, then rediscovered my childhoold love of sci/fi and fantasy, and now have even moved into devouring graphic novels in great heaps. No doubt the next longer work will be of a somewhat more conventional style than this one, which isn't saying much.
Should anyone reading this wish to send me any encouraging words to get me writing more, or have any contacts in the publishing industry who might be interested in Tripe or any of my future work, by all means go ahead and e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I really think that some very elitist private school should make Tripe required reading… a sentiment you will only appreciate when after wading through an appreciable portion of it.
Love to All,
Remember not to be an idiot,
Mark Andrew Cliffson Wolf Linsenmayer
|© 1993 Mark A. Linsenmayer||[ Contents ]|