Had an actual conversation yesterday about PCKWCK, a serialized novel being written in real-time by Joshua Cohen – the author of that one book I’ve been meaning to read. The discussion was primarily focused on the unbearable anxiety that must be at play when the author sits down to rewrite Dickens while getting live feedback from lit geeks, many of whom want to see him fail because literary backlash culture (see also: Franzen, Jonathan).
I was going to try and spin that story into an issue of this newsletter (possible themes: stunt lit, self doubt, the endless sea of content) but in performing the most basic research for the piece, I:
- Subscribed to a newsletter from Useless Press, the founder of this literary feast
- Bought The Book of Numbers and two other books on a whim via Amazon
- Got lost in the running commentary in the sidebar of the PCKWCK site
- Spent too much time trying to figure out why Joshua Cohen’s Wikipedia Page feels weird
I’ve talked about procrastination before but the fact that I can’t crank out 500 words on PCKWCK might not be entirely due to my personal productivity problems. The asynchronous nature of email makes it difficult to rally readers to connect with a time-bounded event. Example: if you have terrible sleep habits (cough) you might get this email soon after it is sent, click through to PCKWCK, see nothing much happening and bounce, never to return. And that sucks because if you’ve read this far, you’re at least somewhat interested in modern stunt-lit.
So if the ephemeral nature of the writing-in-public experience is what people came to see, your best experience (now that you know this is happening) would be to follow @theuselesspress on Twitter and get notified when Cohen sits down to write. If this all sounds really difficult, it’s because PCKWCK is performance art and nobody (in 2015 at least) seems to be that interested in making performance art easily accessible to the masses.