The Rambler

A masthead of vagabonds, drunkards, and saints

C. Travis Webb

C. Travis Webb
Location
California,
Birthday
July 16
Bio
Writer, teacher, father, husband--definitely not in that order. If you've got the time, check out therambler.com.

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Salon.com
OCTOBER 5, 2011 2:42AM

Don’t Call It A Comeback–Really, Please Don’t

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It’s been too-too long. I wish I could say I’ve been furiously penning the next less-than-great American novel, but I haven’t. I’ve done very little in the way of writing, and have grown fat because of it. Back in July, about a month into the drought, I began to wonder if my lack of production had something else behind it: maybe I didn’t have anything else to say; maybe my song was getting old. There are only so many ways you can say, “body on fire with verbs,” or “hey, did you notice the way I notice the way the light plays on that pond?”

Yes, without a doubt, narcissism is boring, even if it’s aflame. At the time–in July that is–I found myself wrapped too tightly around myself. Better to just spank it in the sheets, grab a kleenex, and call it a day, than Blue-Man-group myself for your attentions. I mean, what was I doing anyway?

That lasted until some time in August when I realized that wasn’t the problem at all. Of course, now that we’re talking about it, narcissism is always a problem, telling tepid stories about ourselves over and over again, but then again, there are plenty of examples of big-fish Narcissists like Emerson and Montaigne who could make nail filing a saw-song of the universal will. I assume that my Ramblers fall somewhere in between–though towards which end I can’t say–but plenty of writers have filled plenty of books with less variety, so I realized too much weight should not be placed on my preening preoccupations.

No, the answer was much simpler than that.

I was bored.

I was tired of squeezing fat ideas into a size 2 dress–worn out on rummaging around my own monkey works. I wanted some breathing room, some jungle gym buddies to throw feces at, maybe a troop of gorillas to wrangle, and so, towards the end of the summer I decided that I wanted to turn The Rambler into an actual magazine. Not just an online magazine, but a real honest-to-goodness ink-and-paper pub.

Deciding that was the easy part. Executing it, well, that is quite a bit more complicated.

But… I’m working on it.

To begin with, I’ll be adding other contributors, and changing the layout, and figuring out a way to make some money at it, since I’ve never believed in that crap about economics corrupting art. Do you write for money? No, that’s just stupid. You write because you love it, or because you have to, or because your roommate keeps drinking all the milk and never replacing it, and it’s easier to call him an “inconsiderate taint-gnome,” with a note than with a smile. The prejudice against economics in art is just warmed-over Romanticism, which is just the same old guilty-body-timeless-mind bullshit we’ve been wallowing in since God framed Eve in the world’s first–and most successful–sting operation.

Women have been serving time ever since.

Get. A. Job–is something that every artist would do well to heed. Which is, incidentally, the name of at least one female character in every Tyler Perry movie ever made–with good reason. Of course, the problem in making money with art is that the public is often mistaken about what’s good, and almost always mistaken about what’s great (experts get it wrong pretty often too, by the way)–one thinks of Melville’s ignoble end. It’s a real problem. One, however, that has more to do with accident than essence. Money and art are not incompatible because art is married to human experience–for better or worse. That marriage may be for richer, more often for poorer, but a marriage it is.

To be honest, I’m not sure how to consummate the union of economics and art in this medium, but I mean to try, because money can do a lot of things that art cannot–like feed a refugee or send a daughter to college, maybe publish a magazine, not to mention provide poets, painters and pipe-dreamers with beer money.

So, expect a lot of changes over the next couple of months, but along the way, I promise I will not be long absent. Check back regularly, because I’ll be writing and scheming and planting logic bombs in the loam.

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