Monday, June 30, 2014


Here is my small story for the "If you build it they will come" crowd.  It is for the people who think all your Van Goghs and Emily Dickinsons and Franz Kafkas always find their way out to the world, and that all greatness is destined by its quality to be at least some small part of the recorded history of human culture.

The greatest blog ever written was composed daily from 1949 to 1983 in the form of daily letters. They were from a woman in Ohio to her sister in England. They were funnier than I could ever hope to be, wise, witty, perfectly sketched, and frequently compelling. The language, though fluid and readable on an immediate level, was relentlessly inventive. It danced. Small things you say today, ways you talk and write, would be attributable to this treasure trove of letters, these dazzling essays, these sketches of the heart of the universe and its most trifling details. But they aren't, because only one person ever read these letters: the person they were sent to.

When the woman, the sister these letters were sent to, died, her family offered them back to her sister, the writer. They had been treasured and reread many times by the person they were sent to. They had been neatly boxed up in careful order as they were received. But the sister did not want them back.  And many years later the letters were simply thrown away.

Yes, these were letters, and they never made it to the Internet but for this glancing mention here. With the writer, the reader, and the letters all dead, they are a ghost. And though they weren't a blog really, the writing was exactly the same as what I mean by a blog. And it was the best blog ever. It dogs my steps. It haunts me. And like small gods and like great dreams and like enlightenment it belongs to a secret world we are forced to contend with. We are never there. No, no matter what I do, I am never there. I never can be and neither can you. We must do our best with here. All we can do is send our notes over to all majesty, to mastery, to small gods, to the fulfillment of our dreams, to enlightenment, and let them know how we're doing.

And hope that they are read and neatly boxed up.


  1. Say, I've been out of town and away from wifi connections for a week. Now I'm back in relative civilization, and I eagerly turn to the clerk manifesto, only to find that the clerk has not manifested anything for about two weeks. That is wrong. And disappointing. [Perhaps you are on vacation from the blog? or even from the library?]

    1. No, I don't know what's happening there, but everyday is a new post without ceasing. Every day!


      While it is hard to diagnose the issue you are experiencing I believe you could just enter the address and be taken to the current day (and thus scroll down from there). You could also just click anywhere on the giant Clerk Manifesto at the top of the page (though it doesn't necessarily look so clickable) and it should take you to the current day's post. Beyond that I don't know. As a last resort you could sign up to receive the blog by email. But I doubt that will be required if it is not preferred.

      Welcome back!

  2. Clicking on the giant Clerk Manifesto fixed the problem. I'd been clicking on it in my "Favorites" -- yes, it is in that exalted column--and that had always worked to take me to the newest entry. Well, must sign off; I have some reading to catch up with!
    I have 10 new entries in my blog, and 11 more to write. I hate having to catch up, and thus having to rely on my notes, but c'est la vie, n'est pas?


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.