The 10,000 visitor mark on this blog passed without my noticing it—-we’re up to 10,024 today. That’s 10,000 unique visitors (or at least, visits from different computers) in under 3 years. If I knew the identity of visitor 10,000, I’d send him/her some free chapbooks!
Of course, we haven’t had 10,000 purchases, but the last time I did the math (about six-to-eight books ago), we’d distributed a total of about 5500 chapbooks. Over 5000 chapbooks in readers’ hands, all from this $129 Dell printer in the corner of my living room in San Antonio, Texas. The D.I.Y. spirit is alive here at KSE, as it is in the music and art and film world. In fact, when the critics and cultural commentators look back at this decade/era, I think it will be known as the D.I.Y. period, the period of micro-pressings and micro-editions. I daresay that more good and original and challenging artworks in all forms/disciplines/genres are being created and distributed (and that latter point is essential—-the work is not sitting in someone’s desk drawer or basement as it might have in a previous decade) now than ever before. I’m too young to have taken part in “the sixties”, but I have taken the baton handed off to me by the great underground cultural figures of that period and I’ve run with it. I’ve mixed in the D.I.Y. spirit of punk which I was a part of, energized myself with the present D.I.Y. small-pressing/small-edition movement, and soaked the whole thing in a psychedelic/industrial sauce. I’ve also added a dollop of Texas blarney (think Kinky Friedman or Jim Hightower)–we should never be without humor. We should take our work seriously, not ourselves.
Thanks to all who have visited the blog. Please come back. Sometimes I’m too burned out to write or I’m too busy with other responsibilities, but if you check back every ten days to two weeks, there should be new announcements and entries.
Those of you who know me personally know that I would be the last person to ever start a blog. I am a relatively quiet and discreet individual who lets others talk and who takes everything in. I only speak when I have something worthwhile to say. My personal life is no one’s business, and I’m not trying to foist any political or economic or cultural or aesthetic or religious philosophy on anyone else. I have respect for others (until they prove themselves unworthy of such respect), so I’m not vain enough to feel that I know anymore than they do. How arrogant to try to make others’ decisions for them! The reason I started the blog is to promote Kendra Steiner Editions and the KSE stable of authors. That’s it. I believe in the work of Luis and Doug and Misti and Brad and A.J. and Ronald and the whole crew, and I certainly believe in the validity of my own work too. I’m reminded of something I once heard about the late Stan Kenton, the great symphonic-jazz bandleader/arranger. Kenton was indefatigable in his promotion of his band and their records and concerts, appearing at every podunk radio station that would play Kenton records, doing in-store appearances at the smallest jazz record stores, doing interviews with smalltown and even highschool newspapers, always active and spreading the word about modern jazz and why it mattered. Someone once asked Kenton why he did that so tirelessly, far more than his contemporaries. I don’t remember his exact answer, but I’ll paraphrase. He essentially said that he never wanted to be a celebrity, he didn’t want to call attention to himself, he just wanted to perform and record music. But he believed what he and his band were doing was good and was important, and that people would be better off if they heard it, because it was good and worthwhile and challenging and entertaining. And since no one else was going to promote it and get the word out everywhere and get it out accurately, then he would have to do it himself. He didn’t necessarily enjoy the endless schmoozing and the travel from nowhere to nowhere, but if it took turning himself into an attraction, and then using that publicity to bring people to the shows and to the record stores to hear the great work that his band of amazing musicians was doing, then he would do it for THEIR sake because his musicians, he felt, WERE GREAT and deserved to be heard. That’s why I keep up the KSE blog. Hey, I’d rather be reading The Collected Poems of Stuart Z. Perkoff or Robert Creeley’s WORDS and PIECES; I’d rather be writing my own poetry; I’d rather spend even more quality time with my wonderful wife Mary Anne and my wonderful daughter Lena; I’d rather be watching 70’s Italian crime films; I’d rather be enjoying a microbrew beer on my front porch watching the world go by; I’d rather be listening to underground bands from Belarus or Scotland. But I believe in what the KSE authors are doing, so if I have to play the role of impresario (as I was called by one local commentator a few months ago), then I will in the proud tradition of Eddie Condon in the jazz world. Look at the list of recent KSE releases on the “available KSE chapbooks” page to your right. It IS worth it. So here I am…I’ll save that beer and the Italian crime film for later…