“Yeah, I get this idea of us being a pair of sorta outside ‘rebel leaders’ of a group of neo-Lost Generation types who reap heaps of cash for the quality stuff they do, unaffected by some talent-free corporate big-wig who would ruin everything.”
The above quote, while a bit off-the-cuff, and less tongue-in-cheek than you might expect, captures the spirit and driving force of “A Small Press Life” with humorous perfection.It was said–typed,rather–by my excellent friend and collaborator, Kevin, during a convo on Facebook this past weekend. He lives in Korea;I do not. The Internet is the conduit that keeps our mutual creativity flowing uninterrupted.
While we may practice that creativity in private, as all artists ultimately must, it is through a sense of connectedness and community that we find inspiration, hope and the ability to continue moving down such a difficult path. A support system is vital to the well-being of any artisan:it lessens the isolation in-born of such consuming intellectual yet hands-on endeavors. For some, that serves;it is enough. For others, it is a jumping off point to different ambitions. Such is my case, and Kevin’s.The quote is not the result of an unbridled, flagrant ego:it is born of a positive,open desire to spread talent far and wide, ours and that of countless others.
I have jokingly referred to us as like a poor man’s Elaine May and Mike Nichols. This is probably unfair to us as individuals and artists, as we are distinctly ourselves.Perhaps, as outsiders,we are more akin to Robert McAlmon and Kay Boyle. Everything that we do,separately or together, is small-scale, though well-regarded:and, in following the muse, we try to include others in the ride.
McAlmon and Boyle, to be sure,never collaborated as such, and neither do Kevin and I at this time. They published their goods–poems,stories,articles,criticisms–in the same places. She edited periodicals,so did he:they ultimately printed each other’s work many times over the years. They were friends, insightful to the other’s singular talent and life. Their career-boosting and warm regard were mutual.The lives of both were a long saga of creating,inspiring, and trying their damnedest to spread the work of fellow wordsmiths to as many people, in as many crannies of the world, as possible.
While Kevin and I are unlikely to recreate a Lost Generation-type environment–at the very least we would need Paris and London for that–there is a true spirit behind our intentions and what we do. Our refusal to give in to big media, and remain craftily independent, while encouraging others to do the same, makes at least part of his quote ring true. Every day that artisans embrace their uniqueness, and set to work doing what they alone can do, without ceding to others’ requirements, they are holding true to Lost Generation ideals. Rebel leaders? We all are!