Category Archives: intent content


If publishing has any overall intention, it must contribute to the way we communicate with each other.  It adds argument, information and critique, satisfaction with well-tempered words, guidance in pursuit of pleasure and bearing of pain.

In the publishing insides are found a backdrop, a blanket, a foothold and a distant focus point that help us lock onto our place in the world of fickle facts and tempting fictions.

Here are all the worlds that words can give us, and some more that we may approach with want, wariness or wonder.


Publishing content in a linear way means that pages, chapters, illustrations are numbered for more reasons than navigation, like the multiple white-bound volumes of the genome. Processes of understanding intentions, arguments and narratives require backward reference through orderly space and time.

Some texts provide instructions only for selected routes; hyperlinks fiddled and fixed to determine which ways can be followed and which are discouraged.

Structures and processes, exchanging mass and energy, connect the development of each with the broader narrative of all the other published things.


The innards, useful for divination or augury, the guts of the book, vital organs: these are what make dissection worth the bother.  Chopping the content up too much, though, can make it difficult to re-version, adapt, repackage, reconstitute and use again without destroying something of the life that’s made it.

Sterile supermarket wrappings, like verbatim repetitions in cool and well-lit shelves, are also deadly.  It’s worth the search for the brief moment between purity and putrefaction, the time when the publishing is more like livingness, vitality in the process of disintegration, a creation that is at once mature, magnificent and mure-hearted.


That has a purpose, what else but to spread ideas and amusement or collect in money.  There can be dissonance between creators and disseminators, inside workers and adventuring out-goers, making publishing appear as mediator or manipulator.

Publishing without a purpose is transmission, a delivery service that can keep you waiting all day and be happy with the most scrawled signature ever.  It will convert a slush pile to slush, a dirty flood of melted precipitation, run-off, leaving muddy deposits, robbing silt and soil, making future forest growth and useful cropping more difficult.

Damage hard to repair in a generation.


It doesn’t work best for those in a hurry, focusing on printy publishing. Try computer games if you mean to make complexity from simple rules.

Publishing is in its element when turning bigger ranges of human, natural and spiritual experience into an understandable simplicity. While digital tries to get away from the clunky look by looking oh so sophisticated, publishing uses simpler design and presentation to make the complex easier to handle.

Moving with cat-like tread rather than in chess moves, publishing makes sterile ordering of bits and bobs come to life by flair and simple style.


Looking clever isn’t being clever; reading isn’t just absorbing, but being absorbed and coming out the other side; publishing must make a judgment about what is good but leave the reader to find a proof.

Publishing, like steak, done to a point, just enough, but not overcooked: the alternatives are bloody or burnt.  And for those who want another diet, everything is possible, nutritious or not, varied or not, local or not, organic or not, GM or not, fattening, thinning, low salt, hi-fibre, sugar or gluten free.  Publishing can cook to order, but not always to everyone’s liking.

For readers, like diners, have different tastes at different times, at everyday or special occasions, in a hurry or taking time.


Avant-garde now must mean digital, often transient or temporary, time or non-time and site or non-site specific, leaving little opportunity for experiments to do the double task of processing both words and ideas.  Clicking and swiping canonical poetry, hyperlinkages offer seemingly unlimited interpretation, soon sterilize every dissection tool in the readers’ laboratory.

Waiting for each new tech-encumbered text, the scholars adjust poetry and language, wire-frame ideas and options, how clever and, in our meaning, how unpublished.  Everything mediated, moderated, mediatized, determines a new view of time and space, full of automation and all the spectrum of modernist presentation. Total editing kills texts.


Calamitous cliché of creativity, flowing out from inner space, surprised in new publishing forms, doesn’t tell who’s creating what and why.  Too much context can be just too much, and can even start to look thin.

Publishing strives to be less, to get to a nub, kernel, noyau.  It’s happy to be smaller when needed, or larger when handling expressions of numerous levels of complexity. What we do not put on paper or on screen, with no help or support offered to the imbiber with the textual device, can be the very thing that shapes the constructs and the means we must employ to decipher them.


We have, adopt, feign a point of view. There is a direction over the threshold, through the limen, out into the wide published world.  Publication doesn’t wait but bursts and overflows the edges of the private and the public.

And what an edge it is that disappears when overwhelmed, an edge that ceases to divide, an edge made unimportant through its lack of holding power. An overflowing, a tipping point, an overbalancing, a bursting that makes mockery of borders and membranes, causes elements to mix and mud to gel into new contours. A fishing boat flung high above the town. A new river source.