The Point of Publishing

The Anonymity of the Centre

Category: public privacy

5.9

The publisher is stranded like a fakir on a bed of nails, calmly aware, resigned, getting peace out of pondering possibilities of physical and spiritual development. Not pricked or coal-scorched, the holy persons show their stuff in danger zones, keeping cool and unblemished.

All can aspire to this detachment, but beware too much distance and remember how vital it is to undertake the physicality of the work.

Connections within publishing are tangential and tendentious. Everything with words and pictures isn’t a book or magazine, or anything like it.

5.8

Soshull Meeja is supposed to make the private public, for no well articulated reason.  The only totally private things we know are about ourselves, and they are unpublished and unpublishable.

We make a move in real and cyberspaces and are tracked in both; our membership of groups and networks is known to more than other members of the clubs we didn’t choose to join.

Content is detached when visible to others, and writers cannot ever reconstruct all previous versions, unlike the state and its servers.

The new mechanicals are smart enough not to tell us everything they do.

5.7

All is built up of secrets, confidentialities, proprietary data, issues of public interest and protection of private lives.

With messages and opinions spreading at the speed of light or viral vectoring velocity, it’s truer than ever that what is once published cannot be privated again, except by a sci-fi-ish judicial denial of access to known facts or any acknowledgement that such facts exist.

Looking for something near to truth, there are gum-shoes on the case, mean streets to wander, filing cabinets full of bottles of booze.

5.6

A private and public space where publishing is kept is accessed, rests and lies in waiting.  Some locations, billed as legacy, are more to do with the storing than the stored.  Libraries are buildings, social centres, sites for book disposal, final solutions to the glut of the unwanted and unread.

The text is dematerialized, clouded, as if up in smoke, curiously attributed a value as electronic archive which it is denied as physical object.

Some new repositories store single copies of it all, some prefer selections.  Some encourage messy serendipity; some dictate pathways and allowable interstices; some tempt with abundance but have strict limits according to rank.

5.4

Whether in the dark or light of day, stick-and-stone attacks will hurt, but the cost of careless or malicious words can be a greater farrago of financial cost, febrile litigation and loss of face.

Words available to readers are required for serious defamation, libel.  Words on screen make the place of publication and distribution a less geographically restricted limiter of liability than before. In the places where damages to reputation may be least but damages that can be claimed are highest, this can be a useful earner for the globally entitled, the people of whom so much that isn’t nice can most easily and correctly be said and written.

Publish and be damned to penury is more like it now.

5.3

Publishing and self-publishing look similar at first glance and it’s more difficult than it looks to spot the differences.  Self-publishing’s motivation is miles apart from the worthiness of amateur book making, and when professionals and amateurs play the game, rarer skills are employed if there’s a contest, like a three-ring circus or the five-ring arena.

Shibboleths are hard to get your mouth around and secret handshakes are not the only thing that sets the brothers and sisters of publishing apart.

There is knowledge, depth of experience and old-fashioned nous involved.

5.2

Publishing puts things into print, puts them out and then can withdraw or issue a new edition, make impressions, allow a title to be out of stock, declare it out of print.

Good management of livestock allows insemination for the good of the flock or herd, and when book dissemination gives a similar selective chance, it can look like cultural eugenics.

Communication that was one-way or two-way now thinks it’s all-ways, always, always on and everywhere. Publications are suffused with a constancy, like holy wine, transubstantiating, dissolving the readers’ location specific, cloud-fed apparatus.

5.1

Publishing reveals; like writing and reading, reviewing, recommending, sometimes wriggling nervously and uncomfortably between the public and the private spaces of life.

Writings can be nailed to a door, declaimed from a rooftop or window, hidden under blankets, in the sun or in the sultry shadows, predestined, passed about in hot and cold places.

There is internalization and comparison with the world.  Secret publication is not a means to publish something to be kept secret, but to publish something in secret so that it will cease to be secret and will gallop out to its readers. Publishing is the means of revelation.