Wednesday, April 21, 2010


In my dust-up with the HTML herd I was outnumbered 1,000 to 1, deck stacked to favor them. The herd (or some of it)sought to stampede over me. You know what? They failed.

Of course, their intellectual big guns, Higgs and Butler, stayed on the sidelines. I’m not sure how they would’ve fared. Bigger guns—the Rumpus people—may stand behind them. That’s how they operate, through layers of, well, for lack of a better word, puppets. (Or, I’d bet that some of the anonymous comments were from the Rump folks.)

This is different from my style. When I ran the ULA I was always at the head of the pack. I believe this is where a leader should place himself. Don’t kid yourself that Blake Butler isn’t perceived by HTML people and readers as that group’s leader. This true whether he perceives himself that way or not. There’s no getting around group dynamics, which are built into nature, and the nature of human animals.

My own objectives with my visit to HTML were accomplished. First, to regenerate some interest/hits for my main blog. Second, I wanted to test—really test—what HTML was about.

I have more confidence in my ideas than ever.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I'm showing that one unauthorized intruder made it through this blog's defense barriers. And no, this isn't "Forbidden Planet" where the intruder is myself. At least, I think not!
I might have to scrap what I said below about HTML Giant's traffic. Now my "Demi-Puppet" is getting decent traffic sent from them, commensurate with their rep. Demi-Puppet's hits approach what they were in the blog's heyday, five or more years ago. Congrats to HTML Giant, then. Enjoy the attention while it lasts.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Paper Tiger

Re HTML Giant.

1.) EXAGGERATED HITS. The hits on their site have been overstated, based on response to a provocative comment I posted on their blog April 1. My comment and followups were accompanied by a blog link. Increased traffic to that blog was modest. But perhaps HTML’s readers are so mind-stunted they have no curiosity.

2.) MORE OF SAME. There’s nothing new about these writers and their work, which is inward-looking. They’re holding events at the AWP Conference in Denver—as status quo as you can get. HTML’s young writers seem to have little imagination. Or, they were born old.

3.) INFRASTRUCTURE? This is the same weakness as the ULA’s, but moreso. There’s nothing lasting, nothing substantial, just an endless series of blog posts forgotten within a week.

4.) DIFFUSION. Another ULA weakness. Many of HTML’s staff and writers are scattered around the country. Maybe, though, their home base is New York—the situation if HTML Giant is merely a subset of the Big Money Boys.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Better Product

The key to success is to transform the art to offer a new product. Do that, combine it with innovative promotion, and growth will follow. By “better” I don’t mean by the standards of a writing instructor, but better for the general reader, the potential market.

(What makes the current literary culture beatable is that they think about their art within an airy bubble removed from the greater society. Their standards are arbitrary, if not abstract, becoming more skewed—and skewing the art—by the day. And so you get a Great White Literary Hope like Blake Butler praising difficult writing. In another field this would be nonsense. Think if the auto industry operated like that. “Our new model is difficult to drive and repair—and it looks awful!” It’d be to our great shame if we don’t beat these clowns.)

I’m old enough to remember the impact of the first “Star Wars.” George Lucas made the old new. The movie had an old-fashioned feel to it—it looked like a “movie”—yet was strikingly new. What he’d done is adjust the formula of which elements of the movie art to more emphasize, and which to pull back. This can be easily done with literature. It’s amazingly simple. The result is a new product. Sometimes one only needs the imagination and will to do the obvious.

Writers who create the new capture the future.