January 17th, 1997ce 3:45 pm
Ocean Beach, San Francisco, California
At two o’clock p.m. on 17th January, 1997ce, I ended an experiment in documentation, exactly two years and two days from the experiment’s beginning.
I put an end to two years of work during which I spent the vast majority of my time – averaging five to seven hours a day – doing nothing but writing. The conclusion of the experiment occurred as a result of the act of putting the only existing copy of the novel I had written over the two year period into a black cardboard box and delivering it to Chronicle Books, a publisher of some size in San Francisco, at exactly two o’clock on that sunny Friday.
Then I went to the beach.
I consider the experiment in chronicling and documentation to have ended at that time. I do not intend to revisit or change one word of the texts of the resulting documents which include the novel, many stories, poetry and a number of other notations and entries.
The following is the first entry in my journal which I wrote on Ocean Beach after ending the experiment:
You are a novelist and you have just ended your first novel. The process in which you participate has borne a fruit. And now, it is time to take the fruits of your labor to market.
What will the market bear?
How does your fruit compare.
to other fruits available.
Is it sweet? Is it bitter?
Does it slake the thirst?
Does it feel cold and delicious
going down like a plum?
Is it dry and grounding, requiring
delicate effort like a banana?
or more delicate still
unseeding a pomegranate
What is the going rate for
fresh, ripe, delicious fruits
on the market which compare
Shall you ask more or less?
This is your position and
you feel you may be definitive
and yet you are afraid because
you have never sown & harvested
these seeds (brought them
to ripen) before.
Your fruit sits next to you
like a prize tomato and
just picked, plucked, fallen
and all you can think of is
how to better farm the seeds next time.
How to hoe the rows.
How to plant the seeds.
And you realize there is no time. You are beat. The last harvest cost you everything and you are tired and hopeful for success @ the marketplace and you do not know what to do except to try to maybe relax … and take a break.
But even resting is duro … hard … difficult
This is an alone time. And you notice your surroundings. Sounds are amplified. The women talking at the table next to yours, the ocean, birds, music, poetry, … ART