I was thinking about what I like the best about EAP, and of course, hands down, it’s the discovery of like minds working away in their various habitats around the globe. That was a large part of why I started the website — I was thinking of it as a kind of machine to find people who were thinking in the same way as I was…as I am…thinking about how the world doesn’t have to be constituted the way it is, that it’s not inevitable that someone always be on the bottom and someone always be on the top, that there is another way to arrange it, and that way a more human one than the present structure. I knew it wasn’t only me who found the Way Things Are peculiarly alienating, and I suspected there were others out there (lots of them, I suspected) who, while of a cheerful and optimistic cast of mind, still pushed away at getting the Big Engorged Entrenched Power away from the Door Through to Equity.
It turned out it was so, as a matter of fact. There was Mike Madrid, who I heard about through our photography editor, and who, in our first phone conversation, started to tell me his ideas, all tumbling out one after the other, until I said, “Stop! I already know it’s an EAP thing. Don’t tell me about it — just start writing.” And here we are, not so very long later, the final draft of THE SUPERGIRLS on the runway, ready to be designed and galleyed and proofed and published, and I don’t know what all. There was Brian Griffith, who had written a book I could not get over — THE GARDEN OF THEIR DREAMS — about, of all amazing things, desertification and how it affected our view of ourselves, how the stories that came out of that disaster got enshrined as unfortunate truths. And the next thing you know, he’s writing a book for EAP, too, CORRECTING JESUS, about how THAT story got changed more than a little.
There are a bunch of serendipities along those lines, but my secret favorite, I think, is the ongoing saga of GREENBEARD. The first three chapters appeared in my inbox, all too obviously sent by their author in the middle of the night, after a long evening at the pub. I think I must have completely freaked him out when I wrote back and said, “Want to write some more?” But he did, each chapter making me laugh harder than the last, each chapter making me think there’s an odd brain out there somewhere in a tiny village in the north of England, but an odd brain that EAP was, in a way (plate of shrimp) made for. This month, when the chapter flow stopped, and I got an apologetic email, I replied, “Don’t worry — but why don’t you write an explanation to the people who’re following the story?” And I got back this email…
it’s a thought …. but I immediately get lost in the the meta-meta-meta recursion. Should I write the apology? No! It should be the Reverend Earl T. Greybags, for it is in the pages of his family papers that the ghost of Greenbeard walks, or should it be the Reverend’s friend, enemy and sometime secretary, Monsignor Stronzo Squirrelli? The Reverend himself is far too busy, of course, translating the Bible into Morse code for broadcasting towards Mars using a Cold-War-era ‘Fan Song’ Russian anti-aircraft radar that he bought from eBay. Actually, that rules out Mgr Squirrelli too, as the radar set’s instruction-manual is in Vietnamese, so he will be needed to interpret it as well as working the Morse key and making tea … ahhh! My mind goes round in circles!
I’ll think about it some more after I’ve been to the pub and had my medication.”
I voted for the Monsignor. The result you can read this month.
That’s the kind of thing I like best, not just about EAP, but, as a matter of fact, about life in general. When it has meaning, and the meaning makes me laugh out loud.
(Meanwhile, I continue to try to convince the poet David Budbill that he wants nothing better than to write a cookbook for the Press that reflects his experiences farming more than a hundred acres in Vermont. A poet/farmer’s cookbook, that’s what I want. However, I’m still trying to convince him of the incredible vulgarity of paying those huge advances, the way those New York publishing houses do. EAP, I keep insisting, is so elegant and virtuous that it pays absolutely no advances at all!)