From the Editor
by Dan Boehl
In this guest-edited issue of …might be good I sought out writers who just-so-happen to be friends, gave them a lot of leeway on the material they turned in, and what I got was what amounts to be a meditation on the notebook, the place where the personal meets the outside world like no other, representing emotional, intellectual and artistic expression in its purest form.
Most editors/curators/gallerists promote their friends. Though many would not admit it, I think, because to own up to this is to reveal partiality, cliques and subjectivity, where tastemakers want to bronze themselves in an armor of impartiality, openness to new voices, and objectivity. I became an independent publisher of poetry because many good writers I know had trouble getting their books published by established presses. So, I sought to remedy that, but then I was publishing friends or friends of friends. That is the way it is. Like the notebook, publishing is where the personal meets the outside world, and that world is full of our friends.
The notebook used to be pretty simple. Ten years ago, I used a ruled spiral with a black cover. Then I got a moleskin. Later I signed up for Gmail and used it to record my thoughts at work until eventually I was writing emails as notebook entries. I harvest text messages. And now there are myriad other kinds of notebooks. Google Reader is my favorite new notebook, aggregating news feeds, Twitter, Tumblr. With it I can look at 300 images posted by other users in 12 minutes, collect my favorites, share, and read all my friends’ notebooks in the form of blogs.
Like the quote from Lee Lozano’s notebooks that I chose as the title of this issue, “What I am waiting for is some kind of fusion between art and life,” social media has expanded our forms of personal expression to the point where we share every thought, dream, desire, hardship and love openly and with many.
See, the thing about a notebook, and something that many people do not realize, is that it is always kept with a kind of audience in mind. That audience usually is just the audience of one, the person keeping the notebook, but even then there is a contract with the reader. Katie Geha’s review of Lee Lozano’s Notebooks 1967-1970 is a perfect example of this. Lozano was cataloging her own thoughts and feelings, but inherent in the record keeping is the thought that someday someone will revisit the small moments that constituted her oeuvre.
In his conversation with Jules Buck Jones, Sampson Starkweather explores Jones’ desire to publish a book of his work created during and inspired by a 2009 summer residency in the Everglades after a show of the work fell through. I consider Jones’ book, Everglades, to be a notebook like any other attempt to share the inner artistic workings of one’s mind. In this case, there are no walls, just the glossy pages of his notebook.
And speaking of walls, Claire Ruud creates a meditation on the walls she noticed in her visit to Chelsea last month. The meditation is itself a kind of journal entry: associative, personal and questioning.
Kurt Mueller presents an artist pushing the boundaries between the artist and the audience. Olivier Otten creates quirky and disturbing interactive videos that show us how the experiences we have online, though they seem personal (one person, one screen), in the end are anything but personal. They are social interactions dictated by the coder and the viewer.
So, Dear Reader, dear friend, I hope you enjoy this guest-edited issue of …might be good. We made it for you, for your edification and your pleasure.
Dan Boehl is a workshop fellow in the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. His chapbook Les MISERES ET LES MAL-HEURS DE LA GUERRE is now available from Greying Ghost.