8/12/21: Weird experiment day!
Today I am going through every page I have in Life is a Fountain and adding something hopefully relevant to it from the annals of Clerkmanifesto. It’s my desperate attempt to freshen up everything after being away for a couple weeks. So here you go:
I am hoping you will be interested in publishing a book of my essays. I have long wanted to be a wealthy, famous author, and it is my guess that you aren’t averse to earning a million or two dollars yourself, so what say we make this happen?
What are these essays about? There is the beauty of the thing. There are over 1,300 of these widely ranging essays, so they can be about almost anything you want. If you see a gap in the market we can just choose the essays that fit that subject, and we’re on our way! It can be a book about cats, or the Internet, or Libraries, Lionel Messi, satire, ethics, food, work, God, nature, urban planning, jokes, or the fine arts. These essays are at your disposal.
Yes, you heard me right. You have carte blanche to make whatever book you think will sell best.
And it’s not like these essays are long. On the contrary they are built to work in a modular fashion, like Legos. They are generally just a few paragraphs long. At times they are little more than pithy lists. We can fit them together however we want to fashion a book perfectly suited to the marketplace.
I’m not going to stand in the way of your expertise. I understand that a book is a product above all, and when it comes to products you are the professional. I am merely the industrial producer. Edit as you like. Flip meanings. Cut offensive passages. Adjust and twist to cravenly appeal to whatever audience you mark as most likely to buy. I have no pretensions. I have no illusions about the sanctity of authorship.
Would you like to experiment with product placement? Go ahead. You can insert utterly shameless plugs for the most repulsive fast food products or the most manipulative pharmaceuticals and I won’t bat an eye. If I want to feel guilty about stuff like that I can tithe from my profits, because we both know, along with everyone from Carnegie to Bill Gates, that ethics belong over on the far side of wealth. I am a pragmatist above all. Like you I understand this has to be a business first. And second? Once we have the first, we can buy second. Isn’t this why we live in America?
So I hope we can work together. With your skill and experience and my verbiage and malleability I believe we can go very far indeed. I suspect you feel the same way.
With all cordiality and enthusiasm,
Your host, guide, author, and bartender
Hi, I am making the rounds of Life is a Fountain, trying to leave something in every room. I mean, I’m in the Library Room, for instance, all the time. And there are two dozen other pages, or rooms, that are big and clear and important, rooms where there are grand hallways and doors leading to them that are hard to miss;
And so on.
And I’m always going to have reasons to pop into and fiddle about with those rooms, but a page like this one, a room I mean, a room like “About the Authors” was just kind of a template page when I began making Life is a Fountain. It doesn’t have a door. You have to get lost, or come here by accident, or be shown in by the host if you’re ever going to get here at all.
You’re very reading this is the wildest of chances, or the result of an impulsive invitation and an unlikely acquiescence.
I don’t know what I’d come in here for.
I don’t know what you’d come in here for.
But isn’t that really the point of Life is a Fountain?
It’s a fantastical house full of odd and mysterious rooms, isn’t it?
This one is haunted.
It’s a trophy room for a person who has no trophies. Look at them all lining the shelves and cases.
Sometimes you can hear crying if you stand in that corner on a rainy day.
But sometimes you may instead hear laughter.
Can I get you a drink?
Maybe a Ramos Gin Fizz?
It’s like drinking a cloud.
But okay, you have found your way somehow to
About the Author
Here is all the About the Author you will ever need. It’s called
When I was around ten or eleven I lived in a hilly Los Angeles suburb called Woodland Hills. My backyard was a plank of mostly crabgrass resulting from an early, unfortunate, and famously ill advised family experiment with weed killer, and was quite suitable for endless games of miniaturized sports like Wiffle Ball and two on one nerf football. This playing field terminated at a pretty steep hill that ran down to our neighbor’s backyard below us. A chain link fence, about a quarter of the way down the hill, divided the properties and left us about six feet of hill all to ourselves. This bit of hill was the abode of lizards, bare dirt, and large clumps of a very nice succulent I know to this day only as iceplant. One day, in our endless, desperate, suburban search for self-entertainment, some friend and I decided to dig a great tunnel into the side of that hill. Our plan was to tunnel in and open out a glorious underground abode. It was to be a fort, maybe a wonderland. Visions of a kind of subterranean Disneyland danced in my head. It was one of my earliest and most profound encounters with the wild and ferocious ambitions of my imagination and concomitantly with the way my visions and efforts could sometimes combine with the real world to create an almost pitifully small effect.
We drew up crude schematics expressing vast rooms and underground pools, fun house mazes, bowling alleys and a world of our own. And then, with much excitement, we set to work. I believe we were equipped with two tools. The “good” tool was a hand shovel. The less good tool was some kind of fork-tongued weeding tool, little more than a glorified screwdriver. We worked a long time, our vision fevering us on. We stopped frequently to assess our progress: Hour one, “We are definitely making a dent in the hill.” Hour two, “The dent in the hill is definitely growing.” Hour three, “You can even set things on the dent.” Hour four, “I can sort of be in the dent.” And so it went. The first day was the big work day, though we maybe idly picked at it over the next few days. Whether we had progressed from “dent” to “slight concavity” would be a matter for debate. We would have needed to carefully examine the shade lines at noon. Certainly anything remotely resembling a hole never came into it. As to underground lair, don’t be silly.
And so I was introduced to a strong streak of Charlie Brown theme in my life. Dreams don’t often turn out like you imagine. You are not the great hero of the Baseball field. The football is withdrawn. You cannot make Disneyland under your backyard equipped with a friend and a dandelion weeder. I have, since this digging foray, embarked upon many a grand project, some with all the wild ambitions of that first one. You will not have heard of them. They did not reach the stratospheric heights of realization and acclaim that was intended for them.
Seek and ye shall find. Try and you will succeed. Well, miracles happen every day I suppose. But I am pretty sure at this point that trying, even trying very very hard, only has a very tenuous connection to succeeding. All that try and you will succeed stuff is for accountants, not dreamers.
So do I advocate giving up? Do I advocate despair? No. Actually I feel pretty good right now. I might even feel like I’m getting the trick of it. You do not dream and then try to fill the dream. You dream right into it. You do not write the great “Dreaming” essay that is filled with wonders. You write, about dreaming, and you fill it with dreams as you go.