misssylviadrake (misssylviadrake) wrote,

Outsiders aka vanity publishing & the 'Net

Dear friends,

See her reach out a hand to him; see him hold tight; Samuel Johnson: 'the progress of reformation is gradual and silent, as the extension of evening shadows; we know that they were short at noon, and are long at sun-set, but our senses were not able to discern their increase'

Yvette has had another of her beautiful broadcast videos blocked: in these she was able to share the enormous information, insight, and analysis she is so capable of. The way the world organizes its powers to exclude people shows us that such things are not valued as much as who belongs to and controls groups of people. In her case, the attempt to keep up her sharing had become very hard since she got a full-time job -- which she is enjoying, pays her well and will we hope give her beyond the respect and usefulness she now knows, eventually safety, power to buy what she needs or wants and eventually perhaps some modicum of independence. She was having to give up  everything but the minimum of going out on weekends to do this; now she can return to her novels, go for walks, to the movies, just relax when Friday comes. But it did hurt, for this remarkable knowledge of hers is now prevented from expressing itself.

I've had versions of this happen to me all my life. It's being an outsider, exclusion. One of its handles is copyright and we saw an attempt to return the social world (such as it denying its fractured dysfunctionalism which one can view during now mostly obsolete flame wars) to this by the powerful media controllers, spearheaded by movie and music industry lawyers. Fools persist in dreaming copyright makes people rich; a very few in the 19th century and again the 20th have been able to use this property law to wrest money from those with their hands on distribution and printing/media services and thus the ability to sell things to the public at large the public wants. Mudie's Library was the instrument for novelists like Trollope -- who always took his fees up front and then dismissed whatever happened to his novels from his mind (except three cases where he saw his books being marketed in ways that really were egregious lies -- like huge print to make a one volume book bigger and thus charge 2 or 3 times as much). Mostly today it's used by corporations and institutions to control what is issued out in public so if there is any money to be made, they will make it, any distribution to be had, they will control who sees and hears it.

The real truth about my vast books of poetry -- the Vittoria Colonna and Veronica Gambara oeuvres -- is I did for Colonna sometimes have to use texts that are in copyright to provide a facing Italian text, and frequently for Gambara, as they are the only ones I could access. And I don't have permission. This permission makes no one money; it does make it impossible for anyone but a scholar or writer with connections to an institution who owns or controls or has access to a press to print his or her work. So few pictures out there that are good: more and more come out since the advent of the Net but still it's a creeping process and depends on individuals to free each image, an image at a time. The right to control the property is what is often fought for here as there is hardly any money. It's keeping the club up.

I defy it every day, but then I never had a job where I was one of those who belonged so have ever had the free time to risk and ignored the visible stigma and position or "side" of yourself you expose (you don't have access) and simply here on the Net printed what I could to share my knowledge as best I can and make it as attractive as I can.  Vanity publishing this is called when you do it with paper instead of the Internet. Yesterday I came across a typical sneer by someone towards those who self-publish.

What a word -- it avoids the whole topic of what makes publishing oneself with the use of other people socially acceptable.  It trivializes the act. It sneers at people who do it. How clever & needling these proud neurotypicals are.  I could cite many an author who vanity published to try to reach the world at large. Jane Austen with her Sense and Sensibility. She spent 30 years being rejected because she knew no one with access to power over a press. She never did make big money because she was made anxious and it was such work to produce S&S; so she let herself be bullied into cutting her beloved First Impressions which we now know in the truncated form of P&P (perhaps Darcy made more sense in the original) and was sold outright for 110 pounds; then she was writing works of real integrity and originality so the public was not keen (MP and Emma).

But to do this is to fall into feticizishing; and using celebrities to exemplify my point. No it's the people most people have never heard of who can now published their stuff either in paper or on the Net who make my point, who I am (for one) part of, not an outsider there.

Of course one must have time to do these things - and that comes frmo some salary from somewhere which leaves you free time, a decently clean enough space to exist in, a minimum of healthy food, a place to walk for exercise (mental health) -- and nowadays electricity and a computer connected to the world wide web.

Tags: capitalism, cyberspace, life-writing (mine), listserv life, private property, social life

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 1 comment