*contest* discern what drug i'm 'on' *contest*

*update* an account of this is here *update*

*update* the answer is mushrooms, a person covered this here, htmlgiant covered this here *update*

first 5 correct answers receive richard yates free, type your answer in the comments section (1 answer per person) including 5 to 1000 words explanation, i will reveal the drug thursday 6pm pacific time


tao lin: 'is he a fraud,' 'is he a malicious person,' 'can he be trusted,' and 'does he lie to people to gain free cash,' 'the official post'

if anyone has been 'frauded' by me or had something 'malicious' done to them by me please comment in the comments section of this post concrete details of what happened, 'if you don't lie about it that would be good'

if anyone has given me money for goods or services and then not received those goods or services please comment in the comments section of this post concrete details of what happened, 'if you don't lie about it that would be good'

if anyone can 'vouch' for me being 'a trustworthy, not malicious person' who 'does what he says in terms of cash, goods, and services' please comment in the comments section of this post concrete details of your experience with me

this post will be useful to me in the future because i can direct all 'shit-talkers' or people who aren't sure if i'm 'a fraud' 'or not' to this post 'with one easy hyperlink'

someone has been typing the same 'shit-talking' things about me and my parents (some of the things are true, like that i have shoplifted and that my dad has been to jail; but other things are not true like that i sold books and then did not mail them, that i 'trashed' the editor of pindeldyboz, that my parents 'escaped' to taiwan, that i have 'never worked a day in my life,' that i 'tried again and again without success to get publishing contracts and the best he can do apparently is a small firm,' etc.) using different names, including 'tao lin,' in many different places (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), i am 98% sure it is one person and that it is the same person who has been typing similar comments for 2-4 years

i would like to be able to go to those posts (and future posts where that person will probably post similar comments) and 'just post a link to this post'

about 80% of the time when i am getting shit-talked i think 'i really like coconut water' or 'haha' or 'i am getting shit-talked' or 'kombucha bitches unite' or something, but this time the shit-talking was really intense (and caused people to actually distrust me) and i thought something like 'wow, i wonder if this can really defeat me, will i be defeated by this person, will shit-talking finally prevail? is this the person who will actually destroy my career? maybe, but if this person destroys my career by shit-talking that will be funny and "worth it," "what difference does it make" if i have a career or not, i was probably happiest when i was 12 or 13 playing computer games and taking baths while eating wendy's chicken sandwiches and drinking 20-40 ounces of mr. pibb instead of having a career and a blog and statcounter and bookscan; it would be really funny if i was actually destroyed by shit-talking, this person is working so hard, maybe they deserve to prevail over me, it would also be original or something if a hard-working shit-talker won and was happy for winning' someone told me the person was like 'the joker' from 'the dark knight'

i thought that for a while and then earlier today i wanted to make a blog post inviting that person to 'guest blog' on this blog for one post so that all that person's shit-talking about me and my parents could be consolidated into one giant shit-talking post; it would probably be the largest, most intense collection of 'anti-tao lin propaganda' on the internet; i would probably feel excited about life having that on my blog, but now i have this plan to try to 'defeat' the person with many 'testimonials' about my actions in concrete reality

i think either way would be okay

if someone hates me so much that they attack my physical manifestation in the universe while screaming that my gimmicks aren't funny and my books do not have good prose and i lack 'deep formal construction' in my writings and that my dad has been to jail, and hit me a lot, and end up killing me, i would be okay with that, i honestly would be okay with that i think

if a lot of people 'actually band together' to 'defeat' an out of control 'shit-talking entity' i would also be okay with that

right now with this post i want to 'try' the second one (people 'banding together')

(though if the person still wants to 'guest blog' for one post i want to do that also i think, please email me)

if this post succeeds i will be able to paste this post's hyperlink into emails or blogs in any situation where someone isn't sure about me as a person, 'it will be very convenient'

if the 'shit-talking entity' works really hard and creates 100 blogger accounts they could probably still defeat me a lot by in this post, i'm okay with that, if that happens it will be really funny to me and i feel like i would 'have no choice but to accept that i have been defeated, that people will no longer buy my books, that respectable magazines will no longer write about me and barnes and noble will no longer stock my books'

thank you for your time and consideration

please post your experiences with 'tao lin' in the comments section

if you want to use abstractions and say things about my life without using concrete details or talk shit about my books i guess that is also okay; yes, that is also okay; i just want this post to be 'the definitive "shit-talking against tao lin" / "defending tao lin" / "concrete experiences with tao lin regarding if he is malicious or not" / "can i trust tao lin in a business deal" / "should i spend money on a tao lin book" / "what do tao lin-haters and shit-talkers think in detail about tao lin" post' that can conveniently be used from now on as 'the go-to post' whenever anyone wants to know anything about 'tao lin' that can't be known from this post or wikipedia

this post should become known as 'tao lin's other wikipedia page' by having comprehensive information about 'tao lin' that cannot be found on wikipedia including shit-talking, opinions, judgements, rumors, speculation, anecdotes, etc., if you know anyone who does not like me or my books please tell them to come here to talk shit about me and argue with people, there should be a lot of fighting and sometimes an oscar wilde quote, the words 'gimmick' and 'persona' and 'shallow' should appear frequently in certain paragraphs, someone should repeatedly quote someone else adding '[sic]' many times to the quote, the phrase 'typographical error' should be used in a 'damning' tone, two separate people who previously used the terms 'pretentious shit' and 'anti-cliche cliche' should then 'simply quote' 'in whole' rainer maria wilke's poem about the statue and put the last sentence ('you must change your life') in bold

i feel 'good' about this post partly because i feel it has potential to be 'one of the greatest shit-talking events in internet lit-blogging history' due to the intense, hard-working, and anonymous nature of the 'shit-talker' mentioned above and the current 'mad hits' i am getting from various lit sites about investing in my second novel; i also do really want to have a comprehensive post that i can refer people to in the future, i encourage people to say anything they have to say


I am offering 60% of the U.S. royalties of my second novel to "the public"

*UPDATE* Shares have been sold to an intern and five people I don't know, thank you for your interest. The Telegraph, a NYTimes blog, a New Yorker blog, The Guardian, Poets & Writers, Gawker linked. *UPDATE*

I am selling 6 shares (of 10% of the U.S. royalties of my second novel) for $2000 per share.

For each share you own you will receive 10% of the U.S. royalties of my second novel.

This includes all U.S. serial, reprint, textbook, and film (and other performance) royalties.

Shareholders will receive checks (and copies of the royalty statement from my publisher) in the mail every 6 months after the book's publication (probably Fall, 2009 or Spring 2010). Shares can be resold at any price at any time, I will facilitate trading and promote it on my blog if that is what a shareholder wants. I accept Paypal.
Based on sales of my first novel I project sales of my second novel to be ~13000 after 24 months (if there isn't more mainstream attention than with my first novel). If there is more mainstream attention, and I think there is a 80-90% chance there will be, sales will be "considerably higher" I think. Regardless of the amount of mainstream attention that happens I believe that in the long term sales will remain steady and that my second novel will remain in print.

Based on what I know about my publisher, myself, the book, and my other books I do not at all think that my second novel will "fail" the above projection. My other four books are all currently in print and selling steadily and have gone through multiple printings. With each book (or "retarded essay" in The Stranger) I publish all my other books will sell more copies, and I have 2-3 books planned, and will continue to publish essays and other things. I'll probably keep publishing books until I die. I feel it is inevitable that I will receive mainstream attention at some point, if only because of my effect on "the economy," which mainstream journalists can see (and cannot ignore, due to the nature of publicly-owned companies) when they look at Bookscan, at which point sales of all my books will go up again.

My second novel is linear, focused on one relationship, and a "page turner," I think, though also rereadable. While writing it I have been focused on making it so that you both "need to see what happens next" and "can turn to any page and read it and feel interested." If I ever have a book published that sells a lot more copies than any of my other books there is a 60-70% chance it will be my second novel, I think. It will be ~60,000 words I think. My first novel was ~28,500 words. The Easter Parade by Richard Yates is ~54,000 words.

Film, reprint, and serial royalties are included. If my second novel is published in hardcover (60-70% chance, I think) my publisher will most likely sell the softcover rights to another publisher, and I get 50% of that, and you would get 10% of my 50%, which if the softcover rights sold for $30,000 would be $1500.

I think shareholders should, at worst (based on a low projection and no film/reprint/etc. sales), expect to begin making a profit on their investment within 32-40 months, after which they will "make profits every 6 months for the rest of their lives without having to do anything."
I quit my job, my last day is in two weeks, this is currently one of my two plans to "make money." My other plan is to just sign another contract for another book, that will "give me" only a month or so though. I think currently I just want money for 3-4 months, at which point I will get some money from the Germany thing probably, I think. People who buy shares will "actually" help me focus more on the novel. I "actually" will work better on my second novel, the way the novel is right now, if I have no obligations or responsibilities at all, I really believe that. There is a 90-95% chance my second novel will be released faster and be higher quality (in my view) if I do not have a "real job," do not feel pressure to sell art or "piles of shit in my room that I draw on" on eBay, and have enough money to without anxiety be able to make "healthy, but sort of expensive" food choices "that make me feel good and healthy and better able to focus on writing instead of feeling like I have eating problems."

That is the "first" reason, without which I might not be doing this, but now that I am doing this there are other reasons also. I think this is another thing people can talk about in terms of me and will "in itself" "increase sales" in the long term. If anyone buys shares they will have concrete motivation to promote me and that also will increase sales. If people buy shares I will probably (55-65%), I think, make even more money than if I had not sold shares of my royalties; and if I do, in the long-term, lose $50,000 or something, after factoring in increased sales from this as a "publicity thing," I feel like I will "definitely feel that it has been worth it, for the experience of being in part a corporation, or 'publicly-owned company.'" I also feel that it will help "fight depression" if I become in some way a corporation instead of a person. I also feel it is "funny" "just to do this offer" which makes me view it like any other "funny" thing I might do in that I feel that something "has already been accomplished" just by making this offer, even if no one buys shares and people "think I'm retarded."
People who buy shares will also have more meaning in life if they already like and promote my writing, because they can promote my writing and also be making money for themselves, which can be exchanged for "goods" in concrete reality; therefore existential despair due to "having to do what you normally wouldn't be doing if you had a lot of money" can be relieved to some extent. Also it will be "funny" and "interesting" "for everyone" probably if people buy shares. You can call yourself a "producer" of my second novel if you want to do that. This is like a grant or something except it's like the stock market or something. You will be a stockholder in "Tao Lin's Second Novel's U.S. Royalties Corporation." "As people resell their shares the price of each share will go up or down, you will see this conveyed on MSNBC as a number going by on the bottom of the TV screen."

If you don't know what to do with your life, or even if you just want to relieve boredom for the 10-15 minutes it will take to send me a check or paypal me, or email me, I recommend that you buy shares of the royalties of my second novel. I recommend this because you will then know what to do for a while, and if you ever feel bored in the future, and own shares of my second novel, you know you can always promote me in order to make more money for yourself. You will never not know what to do with your life again if you own shares in my second novel, sort of. I think if Joy Williams was 25 and didn't want to have a job anymore so she could work harder on her novel, and was selling shares of that novel, the main reasons I would purchase shares would be "it will be funny if I do it" and "at least it's something different or something" and "I think I will feel less bored with life if I own shares of the royalties of a Joy Williams novel."
For more information about sales of my previous books and my royalty rates and other things email me. At any point, if shareholders need money and want to sell their shares back to me, and I have extra money to buy back the shares, I will buy back the shares. If, also, at any point, shareholders want me to try to sell their shares at cost or for a profit I will advertise their share on this blog or some other site that I might make. I "can be trusted," look at my eBay rating. I will create contracts and have them notarized. You can have my phone number, address, etc., I promise I will not kill myself within 5-10 years. Really I don't think "trust" is an issue, I feel like people can trust me.

Email me: binky.tabby [at] gmail.com.


~11,000-word post with tao lin & kevin sampsell emails & thoughts re editing

this post is in 4 parts
part 1: thoughts about personality/'art'

part 2: emails with kevin sampsell about my chapbook today the sky is blue and white with bright blue spots and a small pale moon and i will destroy our relationship today

part 3: mine and kevin sampsell's comments on parts of the chapbook

part 4: imagined interviews with people who view editing in different ways
i don't feel like i need to further organize this post because, though each part may be rhetorical, it has no overall rhetoric—it doesn't tell you what to do because it honestly doesn't know what to do

after you read this you will maybe be more confused than before you read it

i don't know what to do

no one knows what to do

if you know what to do you will probably not like this post

because this post, in entirety, says 'no one knows what to do'

i think most people will think the message of this post is something like 'tao lin is angry at kevin sampsell and wants to "get back at him" for deciding not to publish his chapbook'

it isn't, in my view

if i'm ever angry at anything it's existence itself not a specific person or group of people

nothing is detached or separate from the first event that created the universe, therefore nothing can be blamed except for existence itself; you blame a person, then you have to blame their mom, then their mom's mom, so on, until the first event, after which maybe all that can be done is to learn to stop thinking or maybe kill yourself

i think the message of this post is something like 'no one knows what to do, tao lin is confused and afraid, life is sad and confusing; but here is some information that might reduce confusion/conflict in the world' or 'whenever there is a chance to alienate people by stating facts tao lin will do it, knowing it will decrease the number of people who will try to communicate with him in the future, which is something he wants, because he apparently can't communicate with mutual comprehension with most people but usually doesn't know immediately if he can or can't due to politeness and other methods of hiding one's worldview'

also first let me explain my choice in posting kevin sampsell's emails; some people think this is 'wrong' or 'disrespectful,' which i feel is like saying 'marriage is sacred'

here is what will happen if i post kevin sampsell's emails: he will be more aware of what he types in emails from now on, more people will be encouraged to post other people's emails; gradually more people will be more conscious of other perspectives and more aware of what they type in emails and by extension what they do or say in real life; in time, less lies will be told, more information will be available, there will be less secrecy, people will be more considerate and tolerant and honest (if only because they're afraid of being viewed as mean or deceptive or tyrannical) because actions will be easier (more openly, directly) linked to identities (if you punch someone in the face you will suffer consequences, if you pay someone to confidentially punch someone in the face you will probably suffer less—or no—consequences); there will be less hidden information; the sources of information will be less obscure; information will be less mediated, effects will be more easily traceable to causes; instead of, for example, civilians or soldiers fighting other civilians or soldiers, presidents will be forced to fight other presidents if they want to fight at all; releasing information that is true, making it public and easily accessible, will probably always reduce pain/suffering in the world
a person's personality is their 'art'

what you laugh at and how, your vocabulary, the tone of your voice, the choice of where to look during conversations, your arm movements, clothing decisions, style of hair, length and frequency and volume of laughter—these are not dissimilar, it seems, as the choice of what words to use in a poem, what font to use in a book, what to focus on in a chapter

most people change their personality in different situations to, among other reasons, influence certain other people to like them more, dislike them less, or view them in a certain way

when two people meet and are indifferent toward, unaffected by, or averse toward each other's personality they usually will focus elsewhere, and forget each other, not try to 'edit' each other

one person won't tell the other how they can be 'better' if they spoke using less conjunctions and at a certain pitch, while visually focused on a certain area, at a specific angle, etc.

here is a situation: you are with someone, they point at a hippo and laugh

here are your choices: (1) say 'that is not funny' and point at a tree and laugh and say 'that is funny' (2) say 'that's interesting you think a hippo is funny, because i don't think a hippo is funny' and think 'this person believes a hippo is funny, i will not be their friend' (3) ask why they laughed at the hippo and listen to their explanation and maybe think 'i understand people are different and i believe this person has told me the truth about why they laughed at the hippo and, though i did not laugh at the hippo, i understand that this person who did, whose truth in this exists privately in abstraction, is not better or worse than me, but only, as is the case for every person who is not me, different than me'
the extreme of (1) is to kill the other person, or to somehow create a machine that will allow your brain to 'take over' their brain, which would also mean to kill them and which is not dissimilar to genocide

the extreme of (3) is that no one ever tries to influence anyone else, meaning no one moves or eats and eventually everyone dies, so that the matter (their bodies, limbs) they once could manipulate become again inanimate, moveable only by the laws of the universe, such as cause-and-effect
sometimes personality is used for financial gain, like if jay leno's boss, after researching the subject, told jay leno to 'use less curse words, more political jokes, blink less, smile more' and jay leno said 'okay, i will do those things'

if personality is not being used for financial gain what reason would you state to convince someone to, for example, wink a certain way more often? why should they change?

'you need to wink... etc., so that i will like you better and other people will like you better'?

kids have imaginary friends

that is like a novel or story to them, the imaginary friend is their creation

not influenced by business, editing, audience, etc.

not shared with anyone

kids when playing with their imaginary friends are always happy, i think

are they even lonely?

i don't know

but there is no equivalent to the 'imaginary friend' for an adult who is a writer; how can there be with writing workshops, writing magazines, writer's conferences, editors, publishing houses, presses, literary magazines, etc.; all these other things that exist to make your writing 'better,' to improve it?

if money is not involved and you go to the child with the imaginary friend and you start using words like 'better' 'bad' 'good' 'stupid' and saying things like 'your imaginary friend should react differently when you punch it in its head; it is not realistic how it reacted; also, since you already showed how the imaginary friend is an asshole you don't have to have it say that it is an asshole; and it is boring when the imaginary friend says that thing about bananas so you should make it say something more interesting'

the child will be confused

children have less preconceptions than adults

no one says, 'is the imaginary friend good; how can it be made 'better'?

the child will call you on your bullshit and you will feel strange

the child will say, 'i don't understand'

here is what happens when an adult meets another adult

you meet someone; you can either force yourself to accept everything about them or you can try to change them
if you try to change them and use abstract language like 'better' 'bad' 'good' then the other person has no choice; they can either hate themselves and eventually kill themselves or they can become 'better'

if you try to change them and use concrete language like, 'you can find someone different who will not want to change you or you can change and i will not leave you,' then the other person has a choice that does not involve killing themselves
most people feel lonely

they are willing to change in order to be with someone else

and anyone can change

change is not 'good' or 'bad'

violence happens when people think of 'change' in terms of 'better' not 'different'

think about what would happen if the leaders of the world were replaced with either james chapman ("...there isn't any strong or weak or perfect or imperfect. there are only different persons who write.") or susan sontag ("...she said that she considered—get this—herself and Gass the two best writers in America.")

if you are alive you are influencing the world

how you view editing will be how you view what to do when you see a person behaving anomalously in a park, or store, or wherever; or if you're in a situation where there is something that is the same as 'racial' or 'sexual' tolerance except that 'racial'/'sexual' is replaced with things not usually discussed by society and which therefore (if you think in terms of 'better' not 'different') you don't know how to react toward, since all your actions are based on preconceptions and you are unable to discern the concrete effects of actions, because your language and therefore your worldview is largely abstract/'received' (marriage is sacred or postmodernism is bad; rather than marriage is [concrete results of marriage] or [word count, idea, length, construction of a specific sentence] is [effect the sentence has on your brain]), which means if most people say slavery is good you will also say 'slavery is good,' which means that though almost everyone who reads this site participates in 'best books' discussions and constantly uses the words 'good,' 'better,' 'best,' 'bad,' almost everyone who reads this site would also agree that slavery is wrong, women should be able to vote, racial/sexual intolerance is bad, which are things that have changed only because some people were able to think concretely ('different') rather than abstractly ('better')
From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 13:36:25 -0800
Subject: Lin-mania

Hi Tao,
I'm a newer fan of your work. Can you send me some links to more of your stuff? If I type in "tao lin" to google, I get the feeling there are many Tao Lins.
Do you have any books out?

From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: Feb 19, 2005 9:25 PM
Subject: re: Lin-mania

Hi Kevin,

(this is my new email address)

I'm very happy that you are a fan.


I also have a very short story in Hobart #4, a short story in Dicey Brown #1, a short story forthcoming in Punk Planet Magazine, two poems, one very long (10 or so pages), that i like in The Minetta Review.

And eight long (5000-9000 words) stories written this past year, two of which are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review and The Portland Review, one of which won One Story's short story contest (but they aren't publishing it), and the other five i've been sending out for a few months now.

And i have three or four long stories from more than a year ago that i've stopped sending out but i still kind of like.

And a few very short things that i haven't sent out yet but plan to one day.

No, I don't have a book.

I don't understand how there are so many Tao Lins, it seems a little strange.

From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Feb 26, 2005 11:45 PM
Subject: re: Lin-mania

Thanks for all the links.
I really enjoyed them all, especially the stuff about Lorrie Moore. There's a kind of disturbing gonzo element to that stuff, and I'm not using gonzo just because Hunter killed himself recently. Even if I hadn't heard of Hunter I would probably think: gonzo.
I would be interested in seeing the unpublished stories. I will be guest-editing an issue of a very cool print journal called Spork later this year and would like to have you in there. In fact, I would really like to chat more about doing a possible chapbook project (probably in 2006 though, cuz I'm booked for the rest of this year I
think). What do you think? Are you at all familiar with the little press I do?
Oh yeah--I'll be taking submissions for Spork at my work e-mail (at Powell's!!): [his email]

talk to you later,

From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Jan 12, 2006 1:39 PM
Subject: Cancer Comedy

Hey Tao,
Yeah, it looks like I'll have to get some blogger account action going. I wanted to leave a comment on yr blog today about the Cancer/MFA stories. I thought they were brilliant. I was surprised no one pointed that out. Sooo funny. I want to include that story in the flash fiction chapbook we do this summer!

I am publishing two books before yours--the Eric Spitznagel memoir through Manic D in April (a real fancy trade paperback with real distribution), and a chapbook of memoirish stories by this guy here in Portland named Justin Maurer. He sings in a punk band called Clorox Girls. He's about 24 I think. Smart. Is actually more excited about his chapbook than his impending European tour. He will take the chapbook on all his tours and sell it on the merch table. For some reason I am very thrilled by that.

After Justin, it'll be your turn. Summer. The Summer of Tao.

Oh--and not to mention the Spork coming out. I've been doing lots of shit. And hey--there's an interview with me on Identity Theory. It just went up.

I like yr P-boz story too. But I like the Cancer one so much. It's a classic, Tao. A fucked up classic.

Check out this photo of me attached--it was for an editorial thing I wrote about selling used cassettes. That's my car cassette player.


From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Mar 7, 2006 9:56 PM
Subject: Blurb

Hi Tao,

[a few paragraphs about other things]

Now, as far as your flash fiction stuff goes, I'll give you a deadline of April 18th to get me a good twenty or so stories (guessing that each story is 1-3 pages). So if you have some that need polishing, you have just over a month. After I get the stories, I'll read through them and we'll figure out a game plan for release
date, etc.
Got any title ideas?

[i can't find the email where i sent sampsell the chapbook, either on april 17 or 18; he responded that he was looking forward to reading it; i don't know why i can't find these emails]

From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: May 1, 2006 10:19 PM
Subject: kevin

hi, kevin,

i'm afraid. have you read the manuscript? is it terrible?


From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: May 2, 2006 12:16 AM
Subject: Re: kevin

Hi Tao,
I've been swamped. Two new FT books in a week--and one of them needs lots of hype. I will read your manu soon (in the next month maybe) and I'm sure it's great.
I have an intern now. Did I tell you? She's great. She will lay your book out before her 3-month tenure is over I hope.

From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: May 2, 2006 12:18 AM
Subject: Re: kevin

oh ok. thank you. i thought you just did not like it.
ha, no i did not know about the intern.
i can lay out the book myself, i've done that with my poetry book.
you are busy. good.

From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: May 15, 2006 5:13 PM
Subject: Tao Lin Chapbook Final Draft

Dear Kevin,
I've been line editing it, and here is the real final draft.
Please read this one instead of the other one. Thank you.
I want to order Justin's book but didn't see it on your site yet.
Have a good day.
From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: May 15, 2006 7:24 PM
Subject: Re: Tao Lin Chapbook Final Draft

Thanks, Tao. I just had a crazy week full of writers and road trips. Good times. I saw Matthew Simmons up in Seattle and had a good talk with him and others.
I will check out this new edited version in the next month hopefully, I
promise. I'm still swamped for a little bit.


From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Jun 27, 2006 12:17 PM
Subject: Today the Sky

Hi Tao,
I read the manuscript this weekend. Lots of great stuff. Thanks!
Of course, with that said, there are a number of edits to go over. I'll have to go through the manuscript and highlight a few things and send it back to you later this week.

I know you wanted to lay your own book out and everything so we'll have to talk about that too. I'm not sure I agree with your thoughts on readers seeing when the end is coming, etc. but I'm willing to entertain your quirks in that regard. Ha!

But I do think the font should be a little bigger (or the lines spaced a little more--not double-spaced, but perhaps 1.5)--it just seems like a slightly uncomfortable reading/viewing experience as it is now.

Also, as far as the title goes, do you really want it to be:

I think even the title could use some editing. Remember, we want people to be able to remember it. How about: I WILL DESTROY OUR RELATIONSHIP TODAY or something else entirely.

Now, there are also a few stories I'd like to cut: It's a Snowy Night..., Should, and The Walking Wall.

I'd like to see how many pages the book turns out to be with these stories cut and with the font and spacing adjusted. Maybe we'll have room for some newer stories too. Take into consideration that there will be a title page, a page with the ISBN and acknowledgment stuff, and a contents page, so the stories would start on pg. 4 of the layout. If you have an extra page at the end, it would be nice to have a short Future Tense catalog kind of thing. We can put your bio (and blurbs!) on the back cover. What should we put on the front cover? I don't want it to be blank. That would be boring.

Tell me what you think. I'm hoping we can get this out by early September or thereabouts. (That gives us time to do some review copies if we want)...

From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: Jun 27, 2006 10:50 PM
Subject: Re: Today the Sky

hi, kevin,

i don't want to cut 'It's a snowy night,' or 'should.' it goes how i want it to go, as a book, with those stories where they are. 'should' in another draft is forthcoming in NOON, and it fits like i want it to where it is in that chapbook. it doesn't fit in any other book i have, not that i'm just putting it in here because of that. i will cut 'the walking wall,' though.

i'm sure about the title. i don't want to change the title. the font and spacing can be adjusted. the layout doesn't really matter to me, though i prefer small font. i would like it more if all the stories ended at the bottom of the pages, but if not i'm okay with that.

i'm not sure about the cover. i would like just the title in large solid color font on the cover so that it takes up the entire page. i'd do something else, though.

thank you.

From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Jun 28, 2006 12:37 PM
Subject: Re: Today the Sky

We could keep "Should" in there but it would have to be edited quite a bit. I don't really care if Diane Williams likes it; to me it was a frustrating reading experience. You said there's another draft though--maybe I should see that one.

"It's a Snow Night..." is just a weak story (and at one page, it's disposable).

Small fonts are a turn-off to readers. They really are. We want the reading experience NOT to be a pain. We want people to want to read the book. Which is another reason why the weaker stories should be cut. When someone reads a weak story in an otherwise great collection, it does seem to bring down the rest of the book a little.

I can see the cover with the title really big. That might work. Full color.

From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: Jun 28, 2006 2:43 PM
Subject: Re: Today the Sky


the shorter draft of 'should' is being worked on still. to me it's not a frustrating reading experience. people are different. i already cut, in my view, the stories that i thought were weak. probably you wouldn't agree with what i cut. it's just a question of whether the book should be what you like, what i like, or what we both like. you decide, i guess.

okay, we can do bigger font. though, again, same thing. i like bullfight review's small font, self-help, like life, white noise, etc., because you can see more of the story.

okay, the title really big then, i like that.

so we'll either keep or not keep 'should' and 'snowy night.' if we keep 'should' i will use the shorter draft. you decide in the next email and then i think everything is okay. thank you.

From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Jun 28, 2006 3:33 PM
Subject: Re: Today the Sky

Thanks, Tao. Let me see that other version when it's ready. And please, if there are other short flash fiction things you're holding back. Don't hold 'em back. What about your Elimae or Juked stuff?

As far as the book being what you like vs. what I like, that's not really the issue. I want to produce books that other readers will like. Your reders, my (Future Tense) readers, new readers, you know--readers! So, yes, the goal is to put something together we both like. I'm glad you understand this. And believe me, this is just a chapbook, when Dennis starts editing your other books, you'll probably get much harder edits than what I'm getting at.
From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: Jul 1, 2006 5:19 PM
Subject: Re: Today the Sky

i'll get you the new draft when it is ready. i want the new draft in the book, it will be much shorter than the draft you have now.

i didn't hold back! i took everything i had and took out the weak ones or ones that didn't fit and spent like three weeks staring at it putting it in order. everything else is either a novel excerpt or in the poetry collection.

how can we know what readers will like, though? i only know what i like, and to me there is no other reason for writing than to write what i want to read. otherwise it is business not art. i don't know how else to define 'art.' when i read a book i want to have the individual's artistic vision, not what is 'better' or what is done by committee or compromise. i'm just saying this to let you know how i view things. i would prefer to have final say on what goes in and what edits are used.

so, send me your edits and i'll look at them. thank you.
From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Jul 2, 2006 9:09 PM
Subject: edits attached

Hi Tao,
I understand what you're saying. I don't like the edit by commitee thing either. But remember, it's just me. And I know you're really young, so I mean to say that you should be more open to the suggestions of an experienced editor, bookseller, writer, publisher, book reviewer, etc.

I'm attaching the manuscript with my notes. Congrats on the Punk Planet story--and Noon too. I just sent Noon something as well.


p.s. Do you like Charles D'Ambrosio? Have you read his work?
From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: Jul 3, 2006 7:07 PM
Subject: Re: edits attached

hi, kevin,

i don't like charles d'ambrosio's writing. why do you ask?

okay, i have attached the file with my response to your edits. i took a few of the edits. and a file with the edits implemented. i want to keep the third story. i cut 'the walking wall.'

sorry i am so difficult with edits. i am like this with everyone, except when i don't care about a story or a book anymore. i don't think i'm 'better' than anyone else or that my view is 'better.' ideally i don't ever think in terms of 'better,' just 'different.' and for now i need to be able to say why i left out a certain sentence or a certain story and not have to say, 'because someone else didn't like the certain sentence or certain story.'

so, now i just have to get you the shorter draft of 'should.' i will do that soon.

if you will ONLY publish the book with your edits, though, then let me know and i'll have to think about that.

thank you.

From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: Jul 3, 2006 7:24 PM
Subject: Re: edits attached

kevin, i just thought more about it.

i want to cut SNOWY NIGHT IN VIRGINIA also, like you suggested. the second story is already about death. one story about death is enough. so, cut the SNOWY NIGHT story please.

i am sorry i am such an ass at this. i always get very anxious thinking about what to do.

From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Jul 3, 2006 9:44 PM
Subject: Re: edits attached

So, ok, we'll cut Snowy Night. Thanks for the edits and the notes. I will have to talk to you further about some of your notes. I'm glad you changed a couple things though.

I also saw your debate on the importance of editing on your blog. I wish I could comment but I don't have a blogger account. Anyway, I want to ask you--do you think that Lorrie Moore or Delilo or whoever doesn't have an editor? Don't make the mistake of calling copy-editing an act of treason. Most of my edits are copy-edits. Simple things that only make the story easier to read. I am not re-writing anything. I am making suggestions that will hopefully make you see the stories in a new and better (different) way. I've been edited many times before myself. 90% of the time for the better. One time an editor put brand new words in my article entirely and
I vowed not to write for them again (she was a bad editor). I am not inserting my language or whole new words into your story. Don't make my editing seem like something else. I'm not turning a 40-page story into 18 pages. I'm not editing Thomas Wolfe here. (and I hope you're not Kathy Acker!)

I know you're young and raw and wanting to blaze a new literary trail for sad, depressed writers everywhere but let me give you this advice: Work with your editors. You don't want to be known as the most difficult writer to work with (especially there in New York).

The reason I mention D'Ambrosio is mostly to point out a possible editing detail. I read and liked some of D'Ambrosio's collection, but I notice that his NYer stories are the most dull, as oppossed to his story in A Public Space, which was much better. And Rebecca Curtis's NYer story was dull too. I think the New Yorker editors must really like to drain the blood from their stories (for the most part--I know George Saunders has published good stuff there).


From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Jul 5, 2006 5:47 PM
Subject: Re: edits attached

Hi Tao,
I've attached your noted manuscript with further notes from me. Please get back to me on these by the end of the week. Lorrie Moore is in Portland this weekend. I'll ask her about her editor. I'm also writing a story for AP about blurbs (why people want them, why they read them, etc).

From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: Jul 5, 2006 7:31 PM
Subject: Re: edits attached

hi, kevin,

i've attached responses to your edits. i think i took one or two more. and i've attached a draft with all the changes made, and SNOWY NIGHT taken out. though... you aren't going to like this... but i put back THE WALKING WALL. i asked people and they said to keep it and i had always wanted to keep it. sorry.

yes, i know delillo and lorrie moore and every other famous writer gets edited more than i do. i also don't understand what their philosophy of living is. they publish on corporate publishers. i think delillo just observes society. lorrie moore i can more understand since she writes about feeling depressed in relationships, which has nothing to do with society. yes, they are famous and respected. i don't know what the point of being famous and respected is. you used the word 'better' many times. read james chapman's comments on the editing. i agree with him. in business there is 'better' because there is a goal. in art there is no 'better' because there is no goal, except for what goals each individual creates arbitrarily for him or herself. but then i want to not be concerned with 'identity' so maybe i should let everyone edit anything they want of mine, but then the extreme of that would be to not have my name attached at all to the writing and not have an identity at all, which is impossible. i haven't thought enough about this yet but i will.

the new yorker has like 900,000 readers, so i can understand. they need to make it so 900,000 readers will not be too offended or feel too wierd or condescended towards. the more editing that goes into a story, maybe, given that the author has worked as hard as he or she can on the story, the more the story will affect a greater number of people but with a less impact, i think. i'm not trying to be successful and famous, or rich, so i am OK with being known as a 'difficult' writer. sorry if i sound like an ass. i really appreciate that you are publishing me and taking the time to do such small edits. you are right, they are small edits, you aren't trying to change me at all. i've thought hard about each of the edits and considered them. thank you.

From: Kevin Sampsell
To: Tao Lin
Date: Jul 9, 2006 6:55 PM
Subject: What's Gone Wrong

> in art there is no 'better' because there is no goal, except for what
goals each individual creates arbitrarily for him or herself. <

Hi Tao,
Sadly, I'm not really sure what's gone wrong with us. I feel like your writing and attitude has changed since the time we first talked about doing this book. You seemed more playful and open before. Now you just seem stubborn and immature (not just with the editing struggles we're having but also with your oppressive philosophies on writing, publishing, and editing).

I thought about publishing your book unedited (as you wanted) with an introduction by me explaining the various things I don't like about the book. But then, I figured I'd still be publishing (paying for/representing/standing behind) a book that I couldn't feel good about. I just can't do it. I've decided to cancel the publication of your book. I'm sorry.

I will still count myself as a fan of some of your work but I can't waste any more time on trying to help you when you refuse to see things from a reader's point of view. If you just want to write stuff that you, your friends, and your mom like, that is fine. Best of luck. My goal has always been giving writers a chance to gain more readers. If I ask writers to rethink something or consider changes, I only do so with the integrity of the writer in mind. I don't feel like my edits were compromising your work at all but you chose to be difficult. I do honestly hope we can work together on something someday after you've matured more.

Kevin Sampsell
From: Tao Lin
To: Kevin Sampsell
Date: Jul 9, 2006 7:31 PM
Subject: Re: What's Gone Wrong


Why did you quote that sentence I typed? It seems correct to me. Is it immature? It seems like something I probably read from Schopenhauer or Fernando Pessoa. I like Schopenhauer and Fernando Pessoa. I am sad you would call a person immature for trying to figure out a philosophy in life that might minimize pain/suffering. I also feel like we're in 4th grade. I've always been polite and expressed appreciation and gratitude and explained why I made a certain choice in terms of editing or not editing, and have even explained the philosophy that made me choose what I did. I don't know what 'mature' means.

I'm not interesting in helping myself. If I wanted to help myself in the way you are talking about, which is to gain as many readers as possible as an ends to itself (it seems like you don't want to discuss or consider philosophies of editing or writing beyond 'gaining readers,' at least not without calling the other person immature, which I think is your way of telling me that you know more than me, and so will only ever process anything I say or type as, I don't know, 'cute,' or something), I would write a young adult novel or adult romance novel with cultural identity issues, a strong plot leading to a happy ending (so it can be made into a movie, for more cash and more readers), and maybe a murder mystery.

So, just to let you know my thoughts.

I don't know how to further discuss things with someone who has earnestly called me 'immature.'

these are the edits sampsell sent me (chapbook excerpts are in normal font, what sampsell typed is in italics, what i typed is in bold):

Another voice says, The first rule of fight club is. I hear someone being slapped in the head. (fight club reference? this is a dumb joke) [Yes, the high school kids made a dumb fight club joke. I like it here.] (I just think it’s old already. We’re both gonna cringe about this. I mean, I already am) [I’ve read and edited this story for two years. I’m not cringing yet. I want to remember Fight Club. I can’t just forget about Fight Club. And the joke is STUPID. Look, the next sentence is the person who said the joke being slapped in the head. In Fight Club they have no inhibitions. Richie has many inhibitions, it only serves to make him feel shittier, and for contrast for the reader. I didn’t think of any of these reasons, but they are there, I guess. I just like that the high schoolers made a Fight Club joke, then got slapped. They would do it.]

I think about people (what people? This is too vague) [How he feels regarding people—they make him feel nervous—is shown elsewhere]. (it just seems like lazy writing to me. I say cut it.) [No, this seems right. I’ve thought about sleeping at home, thought about people, and felt sad before.]

It’s 3 a.m. or something (I don’t like the recurring time thing in this story. It’s too distracting. I think you can mention the time a few times but it gets to the point where the reader is thinking about the time more than the story. I’ve highlighted other time mentions. Maybe you can figure out a way to delete or alter them somehow) [The character is concerned about time. How much more time there is until he can fall asleep, how much time there is until the summer is over, how much time there is until he is dead.]. (Thanks for explaining this. As a reader though, it makes the story sluggish in a bad way. It’s apparent that the character is concerned with time, or at least the slowness of time.)

Besides my bed and all that stuff (what ‘stuff’? Don’t be so vague) [This is a realistic and appealing way, to me, as a two sentence internal monologue. “There is nothing…” “Besides… all that stuff.” And is consistent with the character’s voice. “No way out of anything…” etc.] (I see what you are saying, or trying to convey, but I think this kind (“all that stuff”) of detail-less writing is not satisfying to the reader). [It is very satisfying to me when Frederick Barthelme is extremely vague like this. It is representative of real life, of the kind of people I like to talk with, and unwriterly and therefore underrepresented in fiction, from what I’ve read.]

There is still the Summer ahead, like a beach or parking lot (what?!) [Beaches and parking lots are hot and flat] (so maybe you should say, hot and flat like a beach or parking lot—I like that. it sounds much better that way, now that I know what you mean). [It doesn’t sound right that way, too writerly. In real life I would say ‘the summer is like a beach or parking lot,’ and if I was with the right person they would understand. I would never say ‘hot and flat like a beach or parking lot.’]

Where do I work? What do I do for money? I can’t remember. I feel good. I feel great. (I don’t like the sudden positive change. Delete these.) [This is one of my favorite parts of this story. It feels true, it is honest. I don’t know. It is just true.] (maybe you should say something about this mix of emotions-- worry and happiness—that’ll convince me that it’s true. Otherwise, it just doesn’t work) [He can’t remember his life, and feels good. I don’t know, it just seems funnier and more true this way, without explanation and almost like a non sequitur.]

“I’m bored,” I say. “Are you bored of me?” (I think he should just ask the question instead of saying ‘I’m bored.’) [It is much more interesting to me for him to say first that he is bored. The other way feels cliché and expected to me. Also, it’s just what the character, who is me, would actually say in that situation.] (okay)

“I liked being raised by dolphins,” I said. (sort of annoying to repeat it. I’d cut this one) [People repeat the same things in real life if the other person does not react. This is realistic and it slows the story down here very much, which I like.] (it feels like a typo to me. Can you at least say ‘I said again’?) [Sorry, no. This story has no memory of what’s behind it. No ‘Thens’ ‘Buts’ or ‘Sos.’ I’ve tried it with ‘again’ and I don’t like it.]

I felt something wrap around my head. (I tightened this sentence up) [Okay. Good. Thank you. Wait. I just looked at it like this and then read it onto the next paragraph and it doesn’t feel right to me. I changed it back. It is in first-person, so it is not concerned with tightening, it’s a person telling a story.] (even a first-person narrative can be tightened. Just because it’s first person doesn’t mean he has to use terrible grammar) [You are right. I didn’t explain it good enough. It needs ‘That there was,’ I think, because without it it is too sudden and familiar. It is a surprise to him and kind of ‘slowly dawns on him’ that something is wrapped around his head. So he would think, ‘There was something wrapped around my head.’ Instead of ‘Something wrapped around my head.’ Just try reading it both ways. It feels better the longer way to me.]

That way, upon leaving their UFOs, their jetlag and space malaise would be immediately mollified by the greenery and smoothness of a hill. (hills are sloped. Maybe you should say ‘slope of a hill’ or ‘landscape of a hill’) [The aliens would be mollified by the smoothness of the hill, not by the slopiness.] (But I’m saying hills are not smooth, but slanted. At least say ‘slanted smoothness’ or something like that) [To me, hills are smooth. What I said doesn’t preclude the slantedness of hills, it just focuses on the smoothness. I don’t want to make this longer. In real life I would not stop to explain, I would not want to listen to someone stop to explain, but I would just understand.]

He slammed his room (do you mean ‘He went to his room and slammed the door’?) [I fixed it.]He yelled at the closed door (or ‘yelled through the wall) [He yelled at the closed door.] (thanks)

“We are your bones and we don’t care,” said Neil’s bones. (maybe these parts where non-human things ‘speak’ it should be italics, as I’ve changed it here—and maybe without the quotes) [I don’t like italics. I want everything to be the same.] (that’s fine. I understand, but then maybe we should lose the quotes) [Taking away the quotes is too academic to me. In Neil’s head they are speaking. It’s the same as a person speaking. I wouldn’t be able to defend why I took away the quotes. I feel like I would have to write an essay explaining that inanimate objects don’t ‘really’ speak,’ or something.]

“Neil,” said Neil’s mom.

Neil wrote a story about a man who had very good things happen to him. “The man was great. He was the happiest man ever, the best! Each day more good things would happen to him, and it was great, and the best. The man lived forever and kept getting happier.” (I don’t understand where that paragraph comes from. I say cut to the drive.) [Okay. I cut those two paragraphs. Thank you.] (thank you)

“That’s not my wife,” I say. “Who is that?”
“Yeah, that’s my wife,” I say. “So what?”(these two parts are confusing. Can you put something between them, like: ‘I feel guilty for lying’ or ‘I pause for a moment’ or something like that) [I like it like this. The reason I like some writers more than others is because they do things like this and leave out the explanation.] (If it stays this way, then we’re supposed to leave the quotes off after ‘Who is that?’ which might look weird. I suggest a small transition or action of some sort before he acknowledges that’s his wife. Get it?) [Leave the quotes. It is fine. I always hated the way the quotes got left off when a new paragraph began. I’ve seen this before, I know, in Bobbie Ann Mason or someone, and liked it. Because it makes sense this way, though it does not follow the rules.]

They stand there looking at Janet and I and I (clean this up. It’s awkward) look back at them. [Okay. I fixed it. Thank you.] (thanks)

It’s this guy (try ‘A man.’) [Okay. Good. Thank you.].

I’m telling my husband and son what happened. (wait a sec. Where were they at before? You should mention them earlier) [No. This story is dreamlike. It doesn’t matter. It’s funnier to me this way.] (I like dreamlike. I mean I really fuckin’ love it. But this is just unclear and totally awkward and confusing, in a bad way. Ask some friends what they think and get back to me) [The son was in his room, probably, and the husband was sleeping. Now they are at dinner. I don’t see how this is even ‘dreamlike.’ Ryan Boudinot edited this when it was in Hobart and he didn’t say anything about this. My mom didn’t either. And it seems okay, to me.]

I’m annoyed. I trip a little and a thing of tomato sauce falls out of a bag and shatters on the ground (‘ground’ sounds like it’s outside. Maybe you should say ‘on the kitchen floor’ or something—or are you outside?) [I changed it to ‘floor.’]. (thanks)

(this story doesn’t really do much. We should probably cut it too). [This is one of my favorite stories and also one my mom’s favorite stories. I want to stress that people are different, which means they like different things. I want to keep this story.] (okay)

I’m driving; Chrissy’s sitting passenger; we used to date. (change to periods) [It occurs as one thought, as do a few other sentences in this story, so I like it with semicolons.] (okay)

I feel strange. (you already showed this, so you don’t have to tell it) [I like when a character feels something then later expresses it. I like it when it happens in real life to people I know, I like it when I do it, I like it when I read it. So I like it.] (it really is redundant. And amateurish. I say take it out.) [No. Sorry. I just laughed a little. I feel bad, I keep saying no. I would have to disown a lot of these things if I had to take out what I wrote there. I don’t want to do that. People have told me they like it when my characters think something and then later say it out loud. I like it also when I read it somewhere.]

“Soy beans,” I think. “Tofu. Seaweed. White rice.” (Italics please!) (this is fine, but as I asked earlier—w/o quotes?) [With quotes.]

There were lizards! Sandy’s sister had on make-up and she flew out a window, over us, like more than one kite! (why more than one? ‘like a kite’ is a better image I think) [‘like a kite’ is too lyrical for this voice, which is whimsical and childlike, which is why ‘more than one kite.’] (it’s just one person, so why would it be more than one thing? I don’t like more than one kite’. Change the analogy and it will be more effective)

But he was moving through the clouds, in a plane, under a seatbelt (what?) [He is under a seatbelt in the plane.] (you mean he’s wearing a seatbelt? If he’s under the seatbelt, does that mean he’s the size of Gumby?)

Six times and I had waved Sandy all the way back to moose-filled Canada! (this ending is sort of a clunker, could we have something that rings a bit more. Resonate! I like the exclamation points though. Perhaps you can utilize them more) [Hmm. This entire story to me is in the title, so it doesn’t really lead up to anything, it should just end without a ‘resonating image.’ So I like it like this.] (So maybe the story should JUST be the title then. Are you saying you don’t care about the actual story? I’m just trying to give you an idea on how to make the story better, or, sorry, different) [I mean I don’t want the ending to resonate. I think it’s good with this ending. I’ve thought about others.]

I go to A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. (perhaps something a little less hip and time sensitive. This isn’t the year 2000 anymore) [It is funnier with dave eggers. His book was there when I wrote the story. I think his book was there prominently in paperback from 2001-2004 or something. I can’t think of another book. This one is just funnier.] (it seems like you could pick out a book or writer you really hate. Like David Foster Wallace or something. I’m not Dave Eggers’s boyfriend or anything, I just think it makes the story seem a little stale) [I don’t hate Eggers. It is just funniest, to me, with Eggers. Also, I’ve seen his paperback, it has a lot of blank pages for some reason, more than other books.]

I’ll give them assignments, like in Fight Club (do we have to mention F.C.??) [Yes. I like mentioning fight club.] (okay, but that first mention…ugh)
there are 3 ways to deal with editing

allow selected people to edit your work and accept selected edits
allow anyone to edit your work and accept all edits
allow no one to edit your work

1 is used by probably 90-99% of writers/editors, here is an interview with a person who uses 1:
Q. why did you let gordon lish delete that sentence?
A. because gordon lish is respected and i trust him and i think it made the story better
Q. what do you mean by 'better'?
A. the story used to be bad, now it's good, i think
Q. what do you mean by 'bad' and 'good'?
A. gordon lish says the story is good now but was bad before; and i agree; when i read it now i feel something at the end whereas before i felt nothing
Q. why do you want to write stories that make people feel things?
A. because that is the point of art
Q. schopenhauer said something like: art can induce momentary transcendence of the world of phenomenon (by somehow dissolving 'identity,' or something like that), is that what you mean by 'make people feel things,' the point of art?
A. yes, maybe that's what i mean
Q. so when you said 'good' you meant 'effective for destroying identity'?
A. i haven't thought about it, i've been using the word 'good' for forty years, reading it in the new york times book review, looking at people point at art and say 'good' or 'bad'
Q. what are you doing tonight?
A. working on a story, making it good, i'd like to get published by missouri review
Q. why would you like that?
A. i think you need that to get a literary agent
Q. why do you want to write 'good' stories?
A. so i can publish a book someday
Q. why do you want to publish a book?
A. many reasons
Q. name 5
A. i want to be respected, i'm bored, women will like me more, i'll have more sex, people won't think i'm stupid
Q. those all have to do with identity and desire; why do you want to write stories that induce moments of pre-identity and pre-desire if your life is about trying to distinguish/strengthen identity in order to fulfill desires easier?
A. you don't make sense to me; you're trying to provoke me but i'm just trying to be a better writer and write good stories and if someone can help me i'm going to be grateful for the favor, not be an asshole about it; i just want to be a good person and a better writer; stop fucking with me, stop thinking so hard
Q. isn't literature writing what you thought; isn't it 'thinking'
A. yes, but you are thinking too hard
Q. 'too' means i'm doing something 'wrong' which means you know what's 'right' which means you have a goal in life, so what is it?
A. not to think too hard
Q. are you involved in politics?
A. i hate george w bush
Q. does your writing contribute at all to those politics, to stopping bush?
A. no, art and politics are separate; art is about the mystery, politics is about reality
Q. is politics about reducing pain/suffering in the world?
A. yeah, i guess
Q. what's the cause of pain/suffering? desire?
A. getting hurt
Q. why do you want to publish a book? to reduce pain/suffering in the world? then how's art separate from politics
A. does everything i do have to be about reducing pain/suffering in the world?
Q. what's the difference between (1) not reducing pain/suffering in the world and reducing pain/suffering in the world and (2) causing pain/suffering in the world and not causing pain/suffering in the world?
A. they're different
Q. why do you read?
A. to be smarter, reading's good
Q. what do you mean by 'good'
A. makes me smarter
2 is used i think by most copywriters and certain journalists (people who are paid to write, for example, video game instruction manuals or press releases)

2 is also used by 'buddhists who write' or people who believe pain/suffering can be lessened by weakening one's identity

here is an interview with a person who uses 2 and is a copywriter or someone who writes for money (it's a spectrum, most people that use 1, mentioned above, are usually also like this, to some degree):
Q. why did you delete the hot dog metaphor in that sentence?
A. boss told me to, my boss pays me to write; i use the money to pay my mortgage and buy food and things
Q. are you happy?
A. the job is boring but i get paid
Q. so you write for money?
A. yes, i write for money
Q. why do you read?
A. some books are funny
Q. do you think people need books
A. people need houses and to eat and have friends; to get a house you get a job and do what the boss says; books are like video games, or table tennis; even if you like those things a lot you can live without them
Q. so you write to get a house, etc., would you write to get respect? to feel liked?
A. yes, probably
Q. so writing is what you do to get other things
A. yes
here is an interview with a person who uses 2 and believes identity can't be destroyed completely, only in degrees, and that the less identity one has the less pain/suffering one feels:
Q. you let anyone edit your work, you don't put your name on your work, you don't care about the work once you've written it; why?
A. because once the work is on the paper there is no concrete way to trace it back to me, unless you go into the past, but the past does not exist (to me, at least), so identity is a lie which causes desire, which causes suffering and which is in opposition to 'oneness'
Q. you don't care if people plagiarize your work?
A. does a tree care if another tree grows a similar leaf?
Q. trees aren't conscious
A. i don't want to be conscious either; consciousness is simultaneous with identity; thought and movement creates identity
Q. why don't you kill yourself?
A. because there probably isn't a way to be conscious and have no desires, but one can be conscious and have less desires, and that's what i want
Q. how?
A. one way is by relinquishing control as much as possible without dying
Q. if you write something and it wins the national book award, then what?
A. i will focus on not feeling differently than if any other book had won; identity demands self-definition, which demands you be a member of society, which requires you use words like 'progress,' 'respect,' 'legitimacy,' 'good,' 'bad' which involve you in hierarchies therefore desires and to distinguish yourself from others via having a stronger identity
Q. what if the news people come to your house and step on your potato garden after you win the nobel prize?
A. i'll probably realize i should stop publishing writing in ways allowing things like 'national book award' to qualify it
Q. but can't literature also destroy people's identities a little; induce moments where you  don't know you exist separately from anything else? isn't that what you want?
A. i don't know
Q. do you think that the more edited a work is (and by more editors) the less identity-destroying power it will have, but on a greater number of people?
A. yes, that seems right
Q. so the more popular a book, the less effect it will have on a greater number of people
A. what's your point
Q. your art, since it's edited by whomever whenever, will have almost no effect on people; it will be like watching a sitcom, you forget it immediately, it doesn't dissolve identity or desire, it doesn't reduce pain/suffering in the world; but actually probably increases it, since it's accessibility will be exploited by publicly-owned companies to increase shareholders' investments in the same companies
A. that's why i'm not writing anymore; the more you think, unless you think like a robot, the stronger your identity; i'm going to meditate under a tree
Q. you're not
A. i'm probably going to walk by the river and try to feel calm
Q. then what?
A. i don't know
Q. how do you feel better?
A. reading books in which characters say they 'feel fucked,' that's one way
3 is used by people who believe art can reduce loneliness, that you can express yourself accurately, in a book, to someone else, who can receive the communication and want to be your friend and, upon meeting you, feel like they've met the creator of what they read, to a satisfying degree, since the art would represent only you (not '2 people' or '2 people plus 50 imaginary readers' or whatever)
Q. why don't you let anyone edit your work?
A. because i don't think there's 'better' only 'different'
Q. why do you edit your own work? isn't it to make it 'better'?
A. for my own writing i can look at it and know how to make it better, but 'better' only for myself, from my perspective; the word 'better' exists only in the individual and is based upon the individual's worldview
Q. what do you mean by 'worldview'
A. what assumptions the individual has made in the universe within what context; if the individual assumes that pain/suffering is bad and then takes the context of the earth and only human beings and not animals for the next 50 years then the person's writing will be 'better' if it reduces pain/suffering for human beings on earth for the next 50 years
Q. how can writing reduce pain/suffering?
A. it can make someone laugh, it can make a person feel less lonely; it can teach a person to be more conscious of other people's pains/sufferings; it can show a person a shittier life than their own, which can reduces pain/suffering
Q. wouldn't you let someone else edit your work if the edited version will reduce pain/suffering in the world?
A. no, because everyone has a different worldview; someone else's 'better' is not my 'better'
Q. but all people want to reduce pain/suffering in the world, obviously
A. but people have different contexts; most people only include their generation and the next one or two generations; most people do not include animals in their assumption (that pain/suffering is bad), and most people only include earth and not, say, the moons of saturn; one moon has an underwater ocean i think and maybe there are squid there that can be considered when one writes something
Q. but by not allowing people to edit your work aren't you being very protective of your 'identity,' which probably increases loneliness, pain, and suffering?
A. yeah; i don't know; but if i let someone else edit my work and the work is read by someone and that someone feels less lonely because of the work, because they feel that the work expresses exactly how they feel, and wants to be friends with the creator of the work, they will never be able to fulfill that; they cannot be friends with the creator of the work if the creator of the work is more than one person, therefore they cannot ever really become less lonely, except in their own imagination
Q. but what is the difference between an imaginary friend and a real friend?
A. i don't know
Q. everyone has a different worldview; no one should edit anyone else; what should people do then?
A. i don't know; there is no 'should,' there are only different assumptions and different contexts; everything i think or say is thought or said sarcastically, knowing that i have made assumptions and created contexts, just like everyone else
Q. why are you talking then? talking is always rhetorical, you are always influencing others whether you want to or not, you are always teaching your assumptions and contexts
A. it's done sarcastically; existence itself is sarcastic; free will is sarcastic, it is a pretend thing; consciousness within a universe that operates on physical laws is sarcastic; it is two things existing at once that cannot be reconciled
Q. you don't believe in 'right' or 'wrong'
A. not outside the individual, and within the invididual not unsarcastically
Q. is killing wrong?
A. even if your assumption is 'pain/suffering is bad' killing might be 'right' if your context does not exclude any time, if your context includes from now until the end of time, because if all life was killed now there would be no more pain/suffering
Q. can anyone ever do anything sincerely in the world?
A. i don't know what the word 'sincere' means
Q. what is 'an opinion'
A. there are no opinions, only different assumptions/contexts
Q. does that console you? that existence is un-understandable and there's no 'right' or 'wrong' and everyone is equally confused and baseless in their assumptions/contexts?
A. yes
Q. how?
A. no one knows anything, that is comforting
Q. why?
A. i guess it isn't comforting, since i feel shitty most of the time
Q. what are you going to do?
A. i don't know
Q. why so extreme? why is it either that you let people edit everything you write or that you let no one edit anything you write?
A. i need a philosophy that will tell me what to do at all times because otherwise i feel confused and nervous all the time
Q. but you still know that whatever philosophy you come up with it is based on assumptions and contexts, right?
A. yes, i know
Q. why do anything?
A. if i'm with someone i like i'm less lonely which can feel good
Q. so what is your philosophy that tells you what to do at all times?
A. my assumption is that pain/suffering is bad and my context is to exclude is little as possible; so i don't eat animals, i try to think as far into the future as possible, and i try to not think only about the earth but also other galaxies, which is ridiculous and makes it almost impossible for me to live, but which in itself reduces pain/suffering because of its effect of always increasing, or at least not decreasing, my awareness of other people/animals
Q. but animals in the wild, and humans, suffer a lot; wouldn't your worldview actually dictate that you eat animals and pollute the earth, or build/detonate a nuclear bomb to permanently stop humans from terrorizing other galaxies?
A. maybe, but i want to live
Q. so your context really includes yourself, then?
A. maybe
Q. should other people be edited?
A. if no one edited anyone else and art was always viewed as 'unique,' and 'uniqueness' was valued, people would probably be more tolerant and there'd be less violence, i think
Q. you're forcing your worldview onto other people by telling them not to view art in terms of 'better' but 'different'
A. i do it sarcastically; i don't believe in anything
Q. why do you care if you're edited or not, then?
A. like i said, my assumption is that pain/suffering is bad, and by telling people not to edit me maybe i'm also influencing how they edit other people, maybe they will also edit other people less, maybe they will stop editing and make their own art and express themselves and let others express themselves and maybe in time the word 'better' will exist less, therefore pain/suffering might exist less; still, i know my assumption is no more 'right' than anyone else's, or even if i'm actually reducing pain/suffering beyond my tiny context, tiny temporally and physically
Q. how can you live then?
A. i do it sarcastically; or i don't really; i don't 100% care about anything because i know it's impossible for me to know if my actions have the effects i intend, and to what degree; i don't know what it means to feel sad and i don't know how it is possible to feel sad but i still feel sad, sometimes, and it's the same with other emotions, and i don't think i understand what 'emotion' references