Determined dared done

Outside and inside the book

Choir singing Christopher Smart, "A Song to David"
Choir singing Christopher Smart's "A Song to David"

Determined dared done 

Every time I read a manuscript that I am going to publish, before I know I am going to publish it, I am enthralled, but I am also outside the book. I am a reader, someone who receives the projection, i.e. the carry-over, as Olson put it, all the way over to that reader. I may lose myself in some sense, possibly even be close to some sort of rapture, but I am raptured by the other; it is not me.

Stein has this effect to an extreme, i.e. reading Stein is not to be included in the book or text, but specifically to be excluded, to feel the object of the work as an other, and to love it (if one does, as I do) as such. Stein may be best appreciated for texture, structure, word unfolding to other words, cognitive dissonance giving way to sensual delight. But again, reader as outsider.

When I make a book, i.e. imagine type and set that type, purchase paper, cut paper, enact design on paper, enact ongoing design in book as a sequence of multiple picture planes (as defined by renowned book artist Walter Hamady), with the intent that such planes are connected with the meaning of the book at hand, i.e. that matter and meaning are at play with each other, either in synch, or intentionally akimbo in some way. Yes, then I am INSIDE the book.  I don’t generally read the book at this stage; I have already given myself over to an understanding that allows an action; or to a less-than-complete (because isn’t it always less than complete?) understanding that initiates an exploration in materials, space, time. And then the book is finished, or, as Christopher Smart writes at the end of A Song to David, “DETERMINED, DARED, and DONE.”

At this point I am entirely outside the book again. Yet it is in part I who have released the book into the world.