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SUNOASIS 1997: 1996-May 1997


Volume 1 - Issue 1 November 1996

The Cyber Oasis
A New World of Writing for a New World of People.

Thanks for coming on board. I plan to load this venture with excellent material. It will feature poetry, parables, reviews, job openings, tips on web publishing This venture will evolve; have some patience. Please feel free to give me advice, criticism, prayers etc. At this time I won't take submission but down the road that is a distinct possibility. Enjoy!




Days wander on infinite worlds
Words go out to net these moving
objects, these laughters, these
crowds! Words call me back to

a speechless realm, a glimmering
place empty of self, where I wander
through notations of yesterday. Shafts
of light penetrate a sea full of anchors.
There are fishes no one has seen moving
along the furrows of some deadmans head.

And on the surface of things is a world
that never fades; patterns of the eternal
watch as the mind goes mad for a year or
the broken emotions mend.


The writer has this one problem among several. He is so closely entwined with language and knows it the way a musician knows the secret sounds of nature that he presumes many things. And becomes, then, a ridiculous man if he tries to live out the oracles of his secret language. Even when he reads the philosophers and believes he will outdo the philosopher he lacks the skill and resources. So, the only alternative is to strip himself and face, naked, the inspiration in things. He can face many things naked but only a tenacious spirit can face the inspiration in things and build from there; that spot. To build and destroy, build and destroy, build again, until the imperative 'what is hidden will be known' is fulfilled.

One of the first questions a writer poses to the culture is 'what are you?' What are you that holds such revolutionary ideas in your youth only to end up where those ideas are mere leaves that valley girls pick at their leisure-with scorn! And if they are not picked by leisurely women then they fill the pages of some desperate character in the bowels of the city who wants to wreak revenge on what would deny him. So the writer constantly finds and articulates what has been a malevolent force in his own spirit. He finds it and identifies it, then traces it back to the sources that gave it life. He pinpoints the act of decision.


We will stay here for a bit; yes, for awhile we will inhabit this place and wonder about the pictures on the wall and the unopened letters on the bed, the history of this habitation, the loves we have escaped from in the city. City that is far away and now as unimaginable as the tales concealed in the billions of stars we see through open planks across the old ceiling. And to think we have fought two years to inhabit this place! Some memory of what we have escaped is fresh in us yet. The words of an old man ring in our ears; he who has taken us to the trail and poked it with his stick. "Under every rock is a snake." He had made a table from mahogany and piled books on it and played music with an old fiddle and said the world is doomed. "They use to chase little indian boys in these parts when they start thinkin' they know more than the elders. They'd track him down and drag him up to this cave and stun him with darkness and forms to snap him out of it. Their way you know."


There is a certain type of failure common to a certain type of man. He has penetrated the boundaries of the known world and stands with the eternal spirit of things; he celebrates for several seasons. "Ah, I must be the luckiest man alive. I have penetrated the fields of force that draws human beings to the center of the world where they are devoured. By a simple enough process of acceleration I have spun myself out to the periphery, along the red circumference. I am merely at the center of someone elses universe. I hear these strange and excited voices not speaking directly to me but among themselves." And does he not sense of a new God or a new heaven, one never before perceived, in the universe that will not devour him? And when he disappears from the periphery of the one universe the people talk about him in a bad way. They speak in low tones as if they know a stranger has slipped into the middle of them.

When an animal steps out of its skin does it suddenly look to find what will reflect its new image? It is hot in the pursuit of something but turns an obscure corner to rest. But, as soon as it rests it burns or is prodded by some metal object that reaches down a small rectangular window. It does not need its hands so it is difficult to see if it is a man or woman manipulating the prod.
But, a wonderful thing has happened! It can now move with ease through crowds of people who once wanted to kill it. It is gliding and observing things for the first time. They are all in the process of being caught in some change that will redeem them for awhile.
Perhaps it will partake of the pleasure of following one of the great or near-great as they go through their normal day.

I came across an essay called Cyberocracy is Coming by David Ronfeldt. This is a good overview of modern communications. He makes no revolutionary statements about mass media but he understands that the impact of modern media is total and will, eventually, transform govt./bureaucracy jjust as it has transformed business. I think of several things when contemplating this essay.
(1) We have not yet understood fully the impact of tv on culture. But, we know that tv simply accommodates various niches and lets the viewer develop the niche they want. Some citizens watch McNeil/Leher and others listen to soundbites on their way to games. Media acts as an artificial stimulant and amplifies what is already there. Both wisdom and murder can find excellent models for their specific activities.
(2) There is nothing more galling to public officials and players in the beltway than the idea that the low level citizen knows as much as they do. They become humiliated and very jealous of their information/knowledge. So, the burden is put on the citizen to perform the service of humiliating the public official and to keep a vigilant eye on how the public official 'guards his/her power'. That may be one of the more interesting political themes going into the 21st century.
(3) One piece of information is relative to all other pieces of information. My ability to gather and use information as an individual is in relation to the ability of an institution to gather information and use is. What is the equation that relates the opportunities of information to its burdens?
This think piece was written in 1992 and published in Information Society Journal. You can call Taylor and Francis at 1-800-821-8312 and inquire further.


These are brief remarks on some observations about how the net will help writers and spark a renewal of literature. Primarily it is the fact that writers now control the destiny of their work and can put it into the hands of an audience rather than be at the mercy of publishers and editors. It is not that publishers and editors are bad sorts but, up to now, they have pretty much controlled everything in the writing game. After all, the central fact is the writing itself not the way it is delivered and packaged. There is, then, incentive on a massive scale to produce excellent work and get it to those who will pay for it and appreciate it. This is a primal act. It is the sort of act that begins new epochs. Writers should take back the power that has been taken from them by academics, 'critics', editors and publishers. In fact the relation between the writer and the new audience is much like that of the writer and patron in old days. Except that there are many patrons and they are free men and women. The writer loves them. He celebrates them. I would like to add this as well. Even though the web is more and more resembling tv it truly needs the textual counterpoint that is rich in content. I would guess there will be an excellent interplay between the high-gloss magazine type color ad/web sites and the simple, elegant writing that will appear on the web. I encourage all writers to get excited about this!


The flow/ a relentless pressure
flows into the shape of things;
knowledge is captured by obscure
objects handled with care by
brown-skinned men of the southern


The flow/drives as the women of
Japan, to form coherence in a
dance of dissipations. The flow
moves earth counterpoise to its
original intention. The spirit
is free to wander! Wander north
along the frozen tundra where
precious fluids have become ice.
Look! Youth is a still and deep
ocean. They are hypnotized by
flying fish; comment, drily, on
the far and sinuous clouds.


Life seems short in a democracy. But, there are times when it seems very long. Desires are dragged through the ponderous devices that keep things coherent and are assured they can do nothing of value. And as soon as a few bits of decay appear on the body of the citizen he falls back to familiar territory. But, how can a free society NOT leap the various boundaries that define this society? And, horrors! If the free people do not leap these boundaries, the government will do it for them! And then there is an act of entanglement when the citizen becomes resentful of what has power over him. He sees his putative freedom chewed in the gears of a taunting power. He waits the true and svelte definition of the individual. And since action is the defining motion of the individual we can say that there is an opposite and polar definition. The citizen who does not act at all. Is there a beautiful, bountiful, even heroic life that does not act at all? One would have to plead to this citizen, 'make one supreme gesture to articulate what it was that drove you to your state of quietude.' Maybe they are saints living in a time when their belief no longer exists but the habit of discipline is very strong. Perhaps the antipode citizen is disciplined by huge eruptions of ancient dream!

Volume 1 - Issue 2 December 1996
A New World of Writing for a New World of People!

Friends! I am grateful for your response. We have 250 subscribers from all over the globe and grow every day. Here are a few guiding principles behind this venture:

  1. to help writers and readers connect w/resources
  2. to remain a free resource
  3. to allow subscribers to promote their work
  4. to stimulate literary production
  5. to deliver service/nutrient quickly/efficiently

If you have a web site send me the URL and it will be posted. If you have writing you want to share send in a description with email address and people can connect with you.

I will continually update jobs on The Laughing Sun. Just click on Jobs every four or five days. I will always post the most current jobs on the next issue.

I need feedback about whether this venture is too long or short. I'm going up the learning curve folks! Thanks for your patience.

I'm rounding up the best literary resources I can find on the net. I want to serve up the best sites I can locate--Feel free to send in anything you like.

I am also looking at the tech/advances in producing and delivering writing. This is a rather arcane area to a writing sort but I'll post what I can find relevant to writing and literature.

1-Jobs for writers
2-Writing resources on the net
3-Tips on publishing/web content develop.
4-Two parables
5-A prose poem
7-The Writing space
8-Submission info/copyright

(A limerick clean enough to print)
Said two farm boys, in loco parentis,
'These new words are gonna dement us;
like ordure and offal, they sound plain awful
It's driving us non compost mentis'

WRITING RESOURCES ON THE NET (send in your contribution!)

There are gobs of writing sites on the net--when I go to a site and am blown away by it I add it. It has to have literary value with good links to other resources. I try to find lively stuff put out by X'ers as well as mature writings of the boomers.

Highly recommended is eSCENE 1996--it publishes 'best on-line fiction' in an anthology--check it out:

If you're into fantasy fiction go look at DargonZine- it features collaborative efforts---look at: (check this out)

Xconnect looked pretty good- a literary magazine.

Zuzu's Petals is a literary magazine with 1700+ links to writers resources.

Storyfest brings the art of storytelling to life; excellent site.


Writers are going to play a major role on the web. Attention now is on the infrastructure but, eventually, there will be a great demand for rich content, imagination, and so forth.

Be patient in setting up a site and think about the types of people you want to attract.

Offer samples of your work and then communicate with your readers, one on one w/e-mail.

Rotate the content of your site so it is fresh. When you take something off your site, revise it, strip it of the HTML and send it to an e-zine or print it out and send it to a print publication.

There is an interesting discussion among computer types about the new development of 'pull technology' that brings the resources to the user rather than the user going out and finding the resources. That's going to be a hot topic for '97. I'll have more on this next issue.


Lost men look for communities that will nuture them. They wander and the people take note. There is nothing more grievous than a generation of lost men who drift through the fields of happy people. The lamentations of the lost circle the towns in concentric circles and are built up, like blocks of stone, until a whirling echo is heard at midnight. They appear from the twilight morning exhausted and moving slowly to the demands of the new day. Since the perimeter of their wanderings is well known there is no pity or compassion for them. The world dances oblivious to the moans of the lost men and their lost communities. Condemned to receive the full complexity of things without recourse to knowledge they hold their heads among the sparse trees and shriek inhumanly. Revived, they cross the bridge that once carried trains to the valley and move wordless in theheart, listening to the voices they are seeking.

The unloosed head; a thing suspended from the heart of space. It observes the glow of quiet autumn evenings. Evenings that leave the boundaries of the earth and blows happily through the signals of lost brothers until, dangling, the head is sickened inside the gaping crevice where oceans begin. It is removed, then, to the top of bedposts where children are frightened of the shadows thrown against the wall by cars in the late autumn day. Unloosed head! Something empties out the space between its eyes and throws it many light years, putting it in a laughing mood.
The unloosed head dives down at every suggestion, every intimation of pleasure and squeals when the deed is done.


Recommend: Models of the Universe, edited by Friebert and Young, published by Oberlin College Press, 1995. The prose poem and web are made for each other. This is a thorough history of the form with many examples. The expected names are here: Bauderlaire, Rimbaud, Max Jacob, Kafka, Trakl, Borges, Francis Ponge, Ashberry, Merwin, Calvino. The unexpected names are Turgenev, Ginsberg, and Momaday. The new names are Carolyn Forche, Rita Dove, Amy Gerstler, and Tom Andrews. Many rich delicacies here! ISBN: 0-932440-69-X

Paul Metcalf, Collected Works, V.I- 600p ISBN 1-56689-050-0
Hatif Janabi, Questions and Their Retinue, Selected Poems
Gary Snyder, A Place in Space, Counterpoint Press - poems
Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance, Knopf - novel

A prose poem

On those splendid days when         : 
we confront those who carry         : 
our fears, who attempt to           :
build a new world on our            :
stubborn resistance; those who      : 
dream of the marvelous              : 
cornucopia that pours from the      :
head of old men leap from the       : 
aspen air where the blood runs      : 
hot, those, who remain hidden       : 
from us in the bowels of unnamed    : 
cities drink from the skulls of     : 
our conscience and ruin our fine    : 
aspirations.  We resist and read    :
old poets who wander between the    : 
mountain and sea, lamenting the     : 
lost people who inspire them.       : 
'Claustrophobia even here,' they    : 
 sing, arms outstretched to the     : 
 boundless forrest of unsmoothed    :                            
 shells encased on the mountain     :
trail.  They sing to old poets      :
who lay supine under the care of    :
doctors, looking to an empty spot   :
in the sky and finding their soul,  :
their vision.                       :

THE WRITERS SPACE (send in your URL w/e-mail address!)

This space is reserved for those who want to promote their own work. If you have writings you want to expose just send a small description, your e-mail address and I'll put them here as I can, depending on the response.

First offering is a collection of poems titled '1991'- approx. 15 poems-delivered to your email by request (eide491@delphi.com)--free -

Volume 1 Issue 3 January 1997

A New World of Writing for a New World of People

Friends! Welcome to another issue of Cyber Oasis. I try to be entertaining and useful to our good subscribers! It looks as though 2000 words are the sane amount to send to an e-mail address so I'm going to post jobs to the Laughing Sun. If you are looking for writing jobs you can check it out at: http://people.delphi.com/eide491/jobs.html. I'll post the latest jobs on top!

Here's an exciting little discovery--I've just been turned on to a service called Agora--with Agora you can request Web pages and they will be sent to you via e-mail. I've been trying this all day and it works! You send a message to agora@dna.affrc.go.jp and in the body of the message put Send [URL] - so, if want to get my job listing just use agora and request: Send http://people.delphi.com/eide491/jobs.html--try it!

I think the perfect literary community could be summed up by this phrase: readers hungry for excellent work, writers eager to please. I am convinced that the net/ web will have great impacts on these relations just as it will have great impact on all other relations. I have a few ideas in the Writers Block.

I found a gem of a book about Chinese writers and their meditations on the craft of writing--check Recommendations.

Remember that you can always reach me at: eide491@delphi.com-- please do so if you have questions, advice, etc.

Enjoy this issue!

1-The Cyber Oasis Precious Few
2-Tips on writing/publishing
4-Poem- from The Upper Falls
5-The Writers Block
6-Little Story- The Beast of Laughter
7-The Final Word

"I've never written for money. I've written just because of an inbecilic urge." Bukowski
The Cyber Oasis Precious Few

:'RhetNet is a concerted effort to see what publishing on the net might be in its 'natural' form. Without leaving our print heritage behind entirely, we want to adapt to the net rather than only adapting net publishing to print'--- this is an excellent site--teachers should get to this site ASAP

'on-line newsletter for readers and writers of genre fiction.' This site likes to dig up obscure and/or forgotten writers and expose netizens to them--good job!

features a long list of 'Top 10 books' by readers who fill out a form at the site-- good browsing

15 Credibility Street-- this is a lively and well made site that publishes poems

Alt-X Publishing Network--the young take on the world! Good luck--there is some coy irony in some of these voices

Literary Kicks presents Kerouac, Ginsberg, Cassady, Burroughs, Synder, Felinghetti etc. with interesting pages on each writer and the cultural influence of the Beats--created by someone who loves his subject!

Tips on Writing/Publishing

*Become an expert in a specific field and develop that field dynamically--start in a field, like environment/ecology and then move into a specific area of interest like renewable energy. And from renewable energy into photovoltaics or wind power. If you can grasp one specific area fully you can quickly learn any other area. This applies to non-fiction writing. If editors start considering you an expert they'll call on you for assignments. In non-fiction writing you are trying to communicate information to people who are themselves deeply involved in some specialty. So, specialism is a mode of writing that is valuable to learn.

*Know how to discriminate between markets--when an editor says he wants traditional poetry don't send cyberpunk material--if you've written a science fiction short story don't send it to Scientific American---this seems like common sense but that is a constant complaint from editors. Study the market and the variety of market books. As more and more writing appears on the web you may have new and interesting markets but they will be as focused as print publications. If you are a young writer, study the market as closely as you can and make it a resource not a nightmare.

*Write about who you know---not about who you want to be or from exegesis out of a critical review of literary characters in a scholars book--who you know, pure and simple---Study the environments that surround you and know all the people who pass through you and you will have more than a few universes of characters. And if people know you are a writer more than a few of them will perform for you.

*Use a tape recorder---anything written should be read into a tape recorder--if you're writing a story read it into a tape and then play the tape in your car--great practice--if you are writing literary material PERFORM the material! Leap, dance, gesticulate, scowl---use every emotion to convey a story or poem---the words will be enhanced.

I have a slim volume of Chinese writings called The Art of Writing--a remarkable little book that is divided into 4 small books written by masters of the past who meditate on the writing art. I always recommend any book that is funny and profound!. This will stimulate anyone out of a writing funk. It is translated by Barnstone and Ping and published by Shambhala--ISBN: 1-57062-092-X

The other recommendation is a collection of Japanese short stories called The Showa Anthology. These are stories written from the 50's to the 80's. Showa is the name Hirohito gave to his 60 year regime--it means, enlightenment and peace. Published by Kodansha --ISBN: 4-7700-1708-1
"Read as little as possible of literary criticism- such things are either hardened and empty of life or else they are just clever word games" - Rilke

From The Upper Falls:                    :    
Nature, that roars in my ears,           :
tells me that I can not escape           :
implications of a spiders web            :
washed away by wet leaves.               :
Nature, that will have me, cuts          :
into a flabby city my mind becomes       :
and laps me like happy dogs;             :
terrifies me like the smell of bears.    :
Nature! You are a tall woman who         :
knows instantly my history.  You         :
reveal secret terraces that run          :
from the illuminated mine shaft          :
to strands of golden thread that         :
holds together the perfect bridge.       :

"To prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves." Helvetius

The Writers Block

"What makes the Net unique...is the representation of written material...For readers, the Internet is an enormous book, written by millions of writers all over the world."- Evan Morris from The Book Lovers Guide to the Internet

Here are some ideas about the web and writing: 1- a writer of a manuscript making him/herself completely available to their readers or potential readers through chat-rooms, e-mail, etc.

2- delivering manuscripts directly from the writer to the reader--this seems ideal for short stories, essays, poems, journalism and so forth. The writer retains his/her copyright and can deliver these materials at great cost reduction. Pass that cost reduction to the reader!

3- email to yourself the manuscript you plan to send to others and see how it fits and reads in your own mail reader

4- rather than putting large manuscripts on the web put samples on and then let the interested reader get in touch with you or your publisher

5- get editors to go to your site where they can browse through your work

Ted recommended a site dedicated to the great Persian poet, Rumi--http://www.directnet.com/cgi~bin/randompoem.cgi
Libby Hay has an interesting site at: http:// www.ncf.carleton.ca/~bb817 She has many things of special interest to women plus a plenitude of links to her favorite city, Cleveland
I still offer a collection of 15 poems titled 1991- they are free and I'd be happy to send them to you. I am also adding a small collection called The Upper Falls -- the poem above is representative of that collection. If you're interested just mail me at eide491@delphi.com put the title you want in the subject line and I'll mail them out to you.

Little Story: The Beast of Laughter

A man, plenty surprised by himself, surprised by the destiny he has won from the strife in things, turns his weary head to the beast of laughter. "Leap on me," it seems to say, "I will take you into the absurdity of your aspirations." They lurch forward and meet the man's first love walking down the road. She does not recognize him at first. The beast waits until she has walked down the road and then springs, panther-like, full circle and devours the poor woman. "She still contains a secret to yourself that you must have," the beast explains. And he meets a long line of associates, lost friends, family, etc walking as penitents and they, too, are swallowed by the beast. And there are dozens of unknown creatures who the beast says was created from humiliating adventures. At long last, the man is seen atop the beast, hysterical and drunk on the excitements the beast has induced in him. He feels fat.

The Final Word: IMHO

There seems to be two distinctive problems with writing today. Academic writing wants to please some critical imperative and new wave material wants to please stoned-out friends and fellow travellers. In other words, writing has lost sight of readers. This is a complex issue. What the net presents is a vast variety of people as well as communities that breaks the stupid parochialism of writers down and makes them face the world again. The writer becomes an entrepreneur and has to create something that will attract all kinds of people.

Volume 1 Issue 4 February 1997

Welcome to another issue of Cyber Oasis! I started using computers about 10 years ago. At that time I played a very popular game called the Cave Adventure. This was a game constructed completely from text. With simple commands the 'adventurer' could make his way though a vast cave filled with treasures and pirates and giants and magic. There were no graphics, no sound (except for a few expletives when the pirate mysteriously appeared to steal hard-won treasure!) The game demanded a rigorous imagination and memory. I would go to bed thinking about that Cave until it loomed as a huge, complex, virtual reality. And what was it but a string of words and simple commands? I think that game prepared me for the Web better than anything. Were I to teach someone about the Web I would get him or her that simple game and teach them to keep pushing back the boundaries of their imagination and memory. Play, play, play!

Unfortunately, you can't play all the time. There are things like copyright. The internet and web have complicated the issue. I have a few words about it and some helpful links to copyright sites.

Ever encounter writer's block? Who hasn't? I have a book that deals with it; it's in Recommendations.

I have to note the death of Herb Caen, the San Francisco columnist, since I am from that area. Caen started writing his column in the late 1930's and did what most modern novelists have forgotten how to do; that is, identify with the reality of place and represent that as an act of imagination. So long Herb!

"We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate." Henry Miller

Grazing at the Oasis
Writing on the Web
The Writers Notebook

Grazing at the Oasis

--Zerocity is "ground zero for explosive poetry"- Bukowski style

--On-line Medieval and Classic Texts Public domain medieval and classic texts that inspire interest in history and culture.

--Propaganda Analysis Home Page---is this an 'age of propaganda?' Find out the propagandists bag of tricks.

-- Mudlark is a good academic ezine.

Writing on the Web

Do you think Edgar Poe and Montaigne and others would have leaped at the opportunity afforded by e-mail? Those two come to mind since they produced tight, concise work, most of which could have been easily delivered through e-mail. Poe timed himself reading and came to the conclusion that a piece of writing should take no more than one hour to read. I doubt if regular folk are going to linger for one hour reading a piece of writing in their e-mail. But, they will read for a few minutes and if what is there is good they will store it in hard-drive and read it later. Those with unlimited access will, in fact, linger and savor anything they have access to!

Watch for all the anthologies that come out in the next couple of years containing 'letters' exchanged by people on the net.

There needs to be some give and take between readers and writers about what readers would enjoy receiving, how they would want to receive it and so forth.

Two thousand words per file works pretty well--five such files would give someone a large magazine-sized story.

According to The Writer magazine (Jan. 1997 pg.22) editors point to 4 reasons why readers read:

  • To be entertained
  • To learn
  • To share an experience
  • To be up on what's new

Stuck and dry in the middle of a cruel desert? I recommend a book by Victoria Nelson called 'On Writers Block- A New Approach to Creativity'. Every dodge and escape a writer comes up with to avoid the awful task is covered in this book. It's less than 200 pages. Anyone struggling with some creative endeavor is going to find advice for their specific problems in this book. It is as though Ms. Nelson has studied the full dimension of writing failure the last 100 years and taken it on with a piercing spear. No BS, she says; get to the grinding wheel! She provides advice. Good book. Published by Houghton Mifflin ISBN 0-395-64727-4

The Writers Notebook -
"The Internet is one gigantic copying machine," so says lawyer David Nimmer. "All copyrighted works can now be digitised, and once on the Net, copying is effortless, costless, widespread and immediate."
These comments got me scurrying around looking for what protections do, in fact, exist. This is a very complex issue and there are plenty of resources (provided shortly) to help understand some of the delicacies of this.
The skinny of it is that copyright gives the writer the ability to authorize the making of copies and how they are distributed in public. But, if you go to a web page and call it up is that 'reproduction'? Some lawyers claim it is since it can be stored in your RAM for a long duration and can be stored in thousands of different computers simultaneously. So, how is a 'creator' to be rewarded for his or her efforts? There are some technologies being developed to send secure information 'packets' but all computer technology is subject to very sophisticated pirates who can quickly counteract the new technologies.

Whenever a writer puts pen to paper or character to screen his or her work has a legal copyright. It is prudent though to pay the $20 and do the paperwork in case there is a pirate around taking your work and gaining from it. Courts take the registered copyright seriously.

There is a spirit of giving on the net. Most writers understand that there is little choice at this point. It makes some sense to expose it, give it away, spread it around as long as you have much more in the background. Don't dismiss the net/web as a vast vanity press or, even, a huge writers workshop. Treat it as a potential market with more and more, millions in fact, of potential new readers. Remember that the novel gained popularity when there was a great expansion of the middle-class. You literally have millions of people exposed for the first time to excellent words. My guess is that a few of them will tire, quickly, of all the graphic gew-gaw advertising and embrace those who are writing about their lives.

The situation reminds me of San Francisco in the mid-60's. At that time rock bands would play for free all over the area. There would be huge festivals in Golden Gate Park with The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver and the rest of them. Bootleg copies of their music could be found in any number of grungy music stores. Within a short few years these bands and others were making millions. I'm not saying the same thing will happen with the net but don't be shocked if 'web impresarios' start emerging in the next few years.

Personally, I don't mind giving some of my work away. I would be thrilled to see one of my poems chalked on some bathroom wall or bus sign or used in some book. As long as it has my name on it!

Copyright demands every writers attention and so I suggest you get the latest issue of Cybernautics Digest--it is mostly devoted to this subject.

Also check these sites:

Copyright Page

"Books are a refuge, a sort of cloistral refuge from the vulgarities of the actual world." Walter Pater


I love books. I am a book person. I read them, I own them. Life without books would be as unreasonable as life without water. I don't think books will become obsolete as a result of the net/web. It may be that books will become better! You can't take a computer to the bathroom, the beach, or a favorite corner to read. Print on real paper is much more readable than the stuff that wiggles on the computer screen. What the computer/web does, however, is permit a writer to develop, experiment, share, link, and get a niche going that is very difficult to do in the print world. But, the greatest virtue of the web is this: it stimulates creativity and will continue to stimulate creativity well into the next century.

Volume I issue V Cyber Oasis March 1997

I recently heard the Web described as a 'modern gold rush'. Everyone is headed for the hills that are rich with potential. There is a kind of madness. There have even been some killings attributed to the Net/Web. The banker and the thief are working side by side trying to figure out how to mine the gold. There is a spirit of cooperation in the middle of anarchy and, no doubt, before long the sheriff, the priest, and temperance league will all make their way onto the Web and take over. And yet, when all is said and done the one's who made the money during the gold rush were those who sold the necessities and diversions to those who thought they were going to get rich. And at the end of it all are the works of Bret Harte and Mark Twain.

Take note: The more experience and knowledge you bring to the Web the better off you're going to be. Entering the Web without experience and knowledge is like being recruited by a cult. Make sure the first adrenalin rush doesn't make you lose some of your prized possessions.

Thank god the book and literary world is full of skeptics! One of the signs of maturity is the moment you can say to an icon, "ah, but you are absurd!" I review such a book under the title, 'Pleasures of the Counter- Intuitive.'

There's quite a festival happening down in Austin, Texas at the beginning of April. I'll share the details later on. Robert Bly is a featured poet.

When reviewing sites I end up eliminating four or five for every one I accept.

Please remember, if you're looking for a writing job, to go to the jobs page on Laughing Sun : http://people.delphi.com/eide491/jobs.html

Enjoy this months issue!

Table of Contents:
1-Cyber Oasis Horn o' Plenty
2-Hopes and Frustrations
3-Pleasures of the Counter-Intuitive
4-Down Along the Muddy Waters
5-A Tale of Instruction

"A man who writes stands up to be shot." Thomas Hardy

Cyber Oasis Horn o' Plenty

--Litteral Latte is an exerpted version of print magazine--from NY- clever graphics--it is literary, even pretentious

- Snakeskin comes from UK--it features original poetry as well as links to venerables like Coleridge and Dorthy Parker.

"You have to read in order to write. Art is a seamless web, and we all latch into it when we find a loose end." Archibald MacLeish
Hopes and Frustrations
As I have discovered over the past 6 months it is easy to get a web site going, exciting to get that first rush as the site starts getting hits. But then, you run into a wall. You begin looking at other sites and always see things that are superior to your own efforts. You keep going back to the bookstore, to the web developers site, and hack away with HTML editors. And you're still not satisfied. Where are the people? Where is the great payoff? Where is the revolution? Anyone who puts a page up on the web is going to confront these kinds of things. The truth of the matter is that no one really knows what they are doing or where the Web is going. No one knows the secret.

Disappointment is not a rare quality in a writers life. Sometimes it is his daily bread. So, of all people, the writer should be the one who has the patience, the backbone, the guttiness, the sheer will to see everything through to the bloody end.

Why were computers successful? Why did they create history? They succeeded because they improved all of the basic tasks of human endeavor; word processing, numbers crunching, graphic representation of information, database collections. They improved these tasks exponentially. What does the Web improve? Advertisement? It's a long way off from what tv can offer. Entertainment? Ditto. Games? Somewhat. Research? Yes, if you have basic and substantial research skills. Connecting with someone in New Zealand? Sure. Rock music? Hardly. Video? Give me a break. The dissemination and formatting of literary work? Hmmm. I think an excellent case can be made that the Web has improved the access of literature and good reading for the mass market, the mass culture. Why, for instance, would I listen or watch Bob Dylan on the Web when I can do so on CD with greater clarity of sound? The Web doesn't improve Dylan's performance at all.

In fact, most popular arts depend on thousands and millions of dollars in equipment and people to create its sights and sounds.

Poetry or a story or a good conversation over the Web is a direct, human activity dependent on the heart and mind of the people involved. It is not the production value but the heart value, the clarity value of the thought that is enhanced by the Web.

There's a good page I ran into about how the Web is changing writing and publishing. Check it out at: http://www.ellipsys.com/new/cb1_11.htm
Pleasures of the Counter-Intuitive
As we drown in hype over the new communications medium let us hear words of discontent to throw us up and out of its hypnotizing powers. Grab a copy of "Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club" and read messages from literary guerillas who want nothing to do with the Web or Computer. The 30-odd essays that make up this book all deny the advantages of the Web/Net and decry its imperialism. Some of the essays are witty, some are fairly serious and provoke more thought.

It is edited by Bill Henderson who publishes the Pushcart Press. ISDN: 0-916366-20-0
Down Along the Muddy Waters
Freelance writers---I encourage you to subscribe to a free and unobtrusive mailing list. There are no postings to this list except a monthly run-down on what publications are treating free-lancers well and what publications are not. It is the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Subscribe by putting CONTRACTS WATCH in the subject area and JOIN ASJACW-LIST in the message area and then sending it to: ASJA-manager@silverquick.com This group is truly looking after the interests of writers!

"Writing is a dogs life but the only life worth living." Flaubert
There is an in-depth article in the Feb. issue of Wired on Michael Hart who is head of Project Gutenberg. He has spent years putting the most significant texts he can find on-line, free, and accessible to anyone in the world. His goal is 'the 10,000 most important books online by 2002' and, eventually, a universal, free library. Read the article at: http://www.wired.com/5.02/gutenberg/
A Tale of Instruction by Lu Juren
Sword and Brush:
"If you write with enlightenment, your work will naturally be better than your contemporaries'. Inspiration enters at the border between hard work and laziness. Zhang Changshi was watching Madame Gong Sun doing a sword dance and gained enlightenment about the art of calligraphy. His heart had been so focused on his calligraphy that when he saw the dance he gained insight into the possibilities of his own art. Someone else watching the sword dance would consider it irrelevant. This is true for both calligraphy and writing..."

(from Poets' Jade Splinters - Song Dynasty)
One of the worst developments of modern culture is the growth of bureaucracy. The arts are dominated by bureaucracy. A movie can not be produced for anything less than millions of dollars, music is dominated by an industry not its artists. Great periods of art and literature occur when the art and literature is dominated by the artists and writers. The book culture is a bureaucracy as well that must satisfy the lowest common denominator to meet the great expense of producing a book. For a time, a brief time, the Web has turned everything upside down. But only if the people respond, only if the artists and writers respond. The Web does not threaten books or reading; it threatens bureaucracy. Every free man and woman should threaten bureaucracy.

Volume 1 Issue 6 April 1997

Welcome to another issue of Cyber Oasis! We've added subscribers from Israel, Japan, and the Phillipines. You are all welcome! And that leads me into thinking about one of the great things happening on the web. That is, readers around the world have full access to all the worlds cultures. Humanity is now embarked on a prodigious learning curve!

What are the steps along this learning curve? One would be a full resolution of what we have learned previous to our exposure to the web.

What goal can we articulate that says, 'this is where we are going given the fact that we have access to everything written and depicted?'

It certainly feels as though we are in the middle of a great experiment. It feels as though we are subjects in a game history has decided to play on us. 'You will be the first to develop a universal form of communication!' The first generation in this game produced the heroes of the infrastructure- Jobs, Gates, Wozniak, Andreeson, Berners-Lee. The next generation of heroes will take this infrastructure and shape it toward new and high goals. The question at this moment is, 'who will be the heroes to take this technology in hand and enrich, enlighten, and enchant human culture?'

'Every day I begin my work with the same odd feeling that I am on trial for my life and will probably not be aquitted'- Van Wyck Brooks

Table of Contents
1- Exotic Fruits at the Oasis
2- Figs and Dates for the Writing Mind
3- Respite- Read More and Write More
4- Recommendation- From the Saddlebag
5- Gears and Wheels of the Dusty Cart
6- IMHO- The Bray of the Camel
7- etc, etc
The Exotic Fruits at the Oasis

Electronic Poetry Center wonderful resources based at the University of Buffalo. "Our aim is simple: to make a wide range of resources centered on contemporary experimental and formally innovative poetry...'

Figs and Dates for the Writing Mind

'How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.' - Thoreau ---------------------------------------------------

The web is only a few years old. It has not yet created its experts. The world keeps coming en masse to its computer screen for information, communication, and entertainment. For the writer this is as legitimate a space as the old ancient theater, campfire, or Victorian reading room.

The web knows no bounds but presents an immense fact for anyone who is in contact with it. The prediction is that there will be 1 billion web sites by the year 2000.

Some of the sites, excellent sites, have only recorded a thousand or so hits in a year. The sites that record the most hits have valuable resources appended to them. The Writers Resource Page is a plain site but gets plenty of hits since it supplies an impressive array of links. Go look:

The web is an invitation into other peoples homes and offices. The people who invite you in are generally pretty friendly and tolerant of you until you make an ass of yourself.

Here's an interesting and instructive story I heard recently. A guy is a fan of a college basketball team. He sets up a web site for that team and then writes accounts of each game as though he is covering it for a newspaper. He has the account on his page in a short period following the game and people all over the country, interested in that team, can read his account and get a good deal more information than a paper can afford to relate. Things like that turns heads in the publishing world.

I remember the first city I lived in. It had about 300,000 people. In the beginning it was a blur of information. After awhile I caught onto the fact that to learn the city I would have to aggressively search for its stimulants and enchantments. I began to discriminate among the crowds until I found two or three communities of interest. The web re-introduces this stimulating experience and gets very near to the World City philosophers have dreamed about for centuries.

The primary purpose of community, virtual or real, is to kick the full potential of each member of the community out into the living daylight.

Some general things to think about: there are three ways in which a reader can receive written material over the net/web:

  • reading it on screen
  • downloading it to the computers word processor
  • printing it out while on or off-line

Consider this: A reader can now create his or her own 'magazine,' or 'book' by collecting the information, stories, poems, essays that they want and then putting them into a file, printing the file out, binding it together. They can't distribute or sell that collection but, in a real sense, the reader has suddenly become a main editor in the largest publication in history.

(Some Web Aphorisms)

  1. It is difficult to cultivate the 'careful' reader on the web.
  2. Be wary of the EASE of publishing on the web. Putting material on the web is just the beginning.
  3. Information appears to be the new intoxicant. Who benefits from an intoxicant; the supplier or the imbiber?
  4. Information is the bottom rung in a ladder that goes from information, to knowledge, to wisdom!

Respite- Read More and Write More
"The secret of writing lies in reading more and writing more. Many writers worry about writing too little, yet they are too lazy to read. Whenever they write a poem they want it to be the best one around, but it's almost impossible for such writers to achieve this. By constantly writing you will learn to diagnose faults and diseases in what you write, and you won't have to wait for others to point them out." - Su Dongpo from Poets' Jade Splinters written during the Song dynasty 13th century

Recommendation- From the Saddlebag
This month I am recommending a rather arcane tome titled, 'The Future of the Book'. This is a volume of essays on books, reading, the web, hypertext, information etc. The book emerged out of a conference at the University of San Marino in 1994. It covers many of the things subscribers will be interested in and outlines much of the debate that will go on in literary and intellectual circles for the next few decades. There is an afterword by Umberto Eco. Some of the essayists are Regis Debray, George Landow, and Patrick Bazin. It was published in 1996 by the University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-20451-4
Gears and Wheels of the Dusty Cart

Amy McBay is pleased to announce her book, a western romance as yet untitled, was overall winner in the historical category in Painted Rock's 'Best Hook Contest'. Amy is at: amymcbay@juno.com ---- congratulations!

Subscriber Libby Hay Howard wants others to check out her Sacred Womanhood site at: http://junior.apk.net/~libby/ she can be reached at: libby@apk.net

10 Important Rules of Writing

1- Don't abbrev.
2- Verbs has to agree with their subjects
3- Don't use no double negatives
4- About sentence fragments.
5- Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.
6- As far as incomplete constructions, they are wrong.
7- Eschew obfuscation.
8- Don't write a run-on sentence you have to punctuate it.
9- Check to see if you have any words out.
10- Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.

Hope you got a chuckle out of that! There's a good list to subscribe to if you want to stay in touch with books, bookstores, conferences and so on. It's called The Garrett. You subscribe by sending a message to: server@nocturne.boulder-creek.ca.us and putting in the body of the message, 'JOIN GARRETT'-

There's a writers workshop coming up in July. This is in the Blue Ridge Mts. of North Carolina. 'Novel, poetry, short story, mystery/suspense, screen/playwriting, and writing for children' will be covered. Info: email: jrd@spam.blows_see.sig ---leave snail-mail address phone: (800)635-2049 web site: http://members.aol.com/judihill

IMHO- Or, The Camel Brays

The Web is in its infancy. It sucks into itself the content of its predecessor, television. That content is sex, violence, and advertising. But the web is not television. You can not 'get what you want' from television. On the web you can go out and get what you want. If it's not there you can create it. If you can't create it someone else will. Now is not the time to try and understand all of this. Now is the time to build and construct the future.

Vol 1 Issue 7 Cyber Oasis May 1997

A democratic creed relies on the savvy of its citizens. When a new challenging resource is presented to democratic people they should feel the excitement of history; the thrill of being able to shape it to the ends of their aspirations as free people.

World knowledge and experience is now accessible to anyone with curiosity. It use to be the wealthy cats who could lounge in their easy chairs, in their plush libraries, as they scanned and absorbed the powerful resources of culture. Now, the poorest of democratic people can literally do the same thing.

Culture is not a 'dumbing down' or a patronizing system. It is not advertising or political rhetoric! No, culture is simply the pursuit of what is best in ourselves at the highest level possible.

The printing press doomed the hierarchies of the middle ages. We can't predict the consequences of a new medium where all people, all over the world, have utterly new areas of exploration opened to them.

The modern reading mind is enriched by the sights and sounds around it!

Please note that I have included a 'World Culture' section with links. Have fun!
Review of a critic after seeing Christopher Isherwood's 'I Am a Camera': 'No Leica.'
T a b l e O f C o n t e n t s

1- Manna at the Oasis
2- Publishing on the Web
3- Review- The Art of the Tale
4- Writers Block
5- World Cultures
6- etc/ etc/ etc
M a n n a a t t h e O a s i s

Oyster Boy Review- definite go to--one of the best--accepts fiction submission at Oyster-boy@sunsite.unc.edu

some quality unpublished stories--use submission form with short bio--- coffehead@geocities.com

Word Watch is a weekly column on specific word usage at the 'Bank of English'- very British

Spoken and writing samples from Nobel Prize winner, Czeslaw Milosz--good introduction

Bibliomania has over 40 classic novels in HTML format- they recently added The Leaves of Grass, Collected Poems of William Blake, and The Wealth of Nations.

Worth looking at the stain-glass graphic! On-line version of literary magazine that's been around since 1892.

'The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.' Mary Heaton Vorse

P u b l i s h i n g O n T h e W e b ---------------------------------------------

What are some of the literary styles on the net? If a writer wants readers to read his material on screen it has become necessary to compress as much material as possible and to deliver that material in chunks of 4-5 line paragraphs.

Compression implies a poetic sensibility with an ability to constantly revise.

Here are some general writing tips useful on or off-line:

  1. Always use the simplest word that conveys your thought precisely and efficiently.
  2. If you think your vocabulary is shallow, then read and read and read.
  3. When you want to persuade a reader use examples rather than opinions. Examples point to objects the reader can grasp. Your opinion often gets in the way of understanding.

A few months ago Microtimes, a computer magazine, had an article on why the traditional models for making money did not work on the Internet. After some market research they came to the conclusion that users of the net/web have a negligible interest in being passive consumers. Those gliding through the web want control and they don't want to pay for access to 'content'.

The article points out that people value their privacy. On the whole they don't want to be served things up as much as know what's out there; then going out to get what they want when they want to.

On of my favorite 'on writing' books was written many decades ago by David Lambuth. It's called The Golden Book of Writing and here are some excerpts.

* 'The object of any piece of writing is to make your reader understand exactly what you have to say. And understand it as quickly and as effectively as possible.'

* 'The form of the sentence is merely the way in which mankind naturally thinks, the order in which his thoughts most easily take shape in our minds.'

* 'Your first duty in writing is to make it as easy as possible for your readers to follow your thought.' -----------------------------------------------

Here are a few exercises to help your writing skills.

  • Think of a complicated task and then write a set of directions for someone who knows nothing about the task.
  • Think of a subject and write from 3 different perspectives.

'We are doing our reading on the run, snatching time pledged elsewhere.' - Jerome Weidman

R e v i e w - T h e A r t o f T h e T a l e
'The story, when it is written well, is like strong emotion: it is alive, convincing and difficult to expel from the body's metabolism.' Thus, we are introduced to a wonderful collection of stories called The Art of the Tale- An International Anthology of Short Stories. It is edited by Daniel Halperin who has filled the pages with 81 exemplary tales of the last 50 years. It is hard to describe the variety in this collection. There are some well-anthologized stories like The Country Husband by Cheever or I Like Ed Wolfe. But, for the most part, it contains stories that haven't had great circulation. Cesare Paveses' 'Suicides' and Mohammed Mrabet's 'Doctor Safi' are stories worth knowing. The story is getting vitality from its infusion with dream and fairy-tale. If you love stories this is an anthology to put on your table and take with you whenever you want the special entertainment and wisdom short stories offer up.

It is published by Penguin Books and its ISBN is: 0-14-007949-1

'I write in order to attain that feeling of tension relieved and function achieved which a cow enjoys on giving milk' H.L. Mencken

W r i t e r s B l o c k
---------------------------------------------- T
he writer creates metaphors for the unspeakable. As the poet Hart Crane put it, "The emotional stimulus of machinery is on an entirely different psychic plane from that of poetry." You could substitute 'prose' for poetry and mean the same thing.

Crane goes on to say that the writer has to surrender, 'at least temporarily, to the sensations of urban life. This presupposes that the poet possesses sufficient spontaneity to convert this experience into positive terms.'

While the writer connects with resources on the web it is also an object in the world the writer can convert as a new human experience.

There's no question that we live in a privileged time where the world opens and we can partake of what it offers. No one person can really define for us what that enrichment is or how we get it or what it does to us when we do get it. So, for a precious moment we exist in a perfectly democratic world.

I can't commend enough the good work done by the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA).

Two brief stories from their recent newsletter should alert writers. A writer came across an article he had written for a golf magazine. It was in the archives of a golf web site. He sent the site an invoice for his typical free-lance fees plus $200 for 'time and trouble'. The writer had registered his articles with the US Copyright Office and when he didn't hear from them he sent a copy of his registration certificate. They paid him quickly and fully!

Go look at their Copyright Registration for Freelance Writers at: http//www.asja.org/cwpage.htm

ASJA also reports an interesting dialog between Hollywood producer, Irving Thalberg and screenwriter Julius Epstein. This took place many years ago but is very instructive. Thalberg said, writers are the most important people in film 'and we must do everything to keep them from finding out.'
Another technology that writers should look into is the CD-ROM/DVD one. There is much more possibility of these technologies 'replacing books' than the net/ web. I hope to have more information next issue so stay tuned. There's no question that the production costs for making CD-ROM's is coming down. At the very least it opens a whole new area of development for writers.
W o r l d C u l t u r e s
In upcoming issues I will put links to cultural resources from around the world. Try these:

- British Library Exhibitions

ULYSSES- Greek culture

ArtServe- sponsored by Australian National University

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