I have developed this website in the context of both North Atlantic Books and my own writing. Because I play such a large role in the creation of the North Atlantic book list and because North Atlantic is so central to my own work, I have not created my own website till now (2009). It is as though I have considered me and NAB functionally synonymous for website purposes. I am now breaking out my own component while, at the same time, formalizing the various levels of connection. Of course, one can link directly to North Atlantic (www.northatlanticbooks.com), but there are some special features of the press on this site.
I will be offering titles from our catalogue at discounts, initially my own writings but also a reading list of neglected books that we have published in hopes of bringing them more into the world. I am trying to call attention to certain projects that I sponsored and nurtured at North Atlantic and that have been very special to me, but that have fallen into limbo and all but disappeared from the culture. One of the motivations of this site was to provide a forum to rescue lost North Atlantic classics or at least bring them to the attention of those who share my interests and sense of the world. I will start with a core list and, over time, I hope to expand it.
I have also put my long, rambling history of the press on the site. Its inclusion was not automatic, as I wavered over the pros and cons of making it public. Ultimately I decided its usefulness was greater than its drawbacks. There are few, if any, combined spiritual biographies and business books of companies, so I think this is worth making available to the public.
I wrote the North Atlantic history initially for our staff and our authors, as a guide to how we developed and how we operate. It was also a way for me to deconstruct and understand my own career as North Atlantic’s originator and mentor.
In addition, I wanted to meditate on the karmic basis of some of our successes, imbroglios, and crises, so I re-witnessed and re-assessed them in chronicle form.
I am open to all and any criticisms and corrections of this history. Clearly not everyone is going to be happy with it, and some people are going to be righteously pissed off. I am sorry about any hurt feelings, but I also felt that there was no halfway. I had to do it or not, so I did it. Definitely, if I have been unfair, let me know about.
Other stuff on this site:
I have included some photographs that I have present access to. I will look for more to scan and add in the future.
I have provided the usual links to other, related sites, including those in my family: wife, son, daughter.
I have also put some of my unpublished writings on here—not all of them but a selection. For instance, I did not keyboard texts from before the computer era like The Alphabet Book. I left out all the autobiographical stories that I wrote in the seventies under the title Episodes in Disguise of a Marriage because they need more context and organization. I have, however, included Writing the Hermetic Text, which is less conventionally personal writing from the same period and which also contains some rewritten sections of my published experimental-prose books.
I have included a few pieces that two magazines asked me to write but did not publish: three “Father” stories (The Sun) and an embryology essay (Tikkun).
My five travel journals (1992, 1998, 2003, 2006, and 2010) appear in rough drafts as I wrote them, unproof-read. Corrections of facts and typos are welcome, as gradually I am rewriting and cleaning them up.
I have placed a number of things on this website that I think of as entertainments or amusements, but they can be considered indulgences too:
- A playlist of my iPod. It is hard to put together and maintain, so it is partial and does not include virtually any of my classical playlist, as that is made up more of trial-and-error pieces. After a while, it was easier to add a second list than keep adding on to the first one.
- Brief reviews of some favorite films.
- A snapshot list of my friends and my connections to them.
- A breakdown of the states, provinces, and countries in which I have spent my life (75% California and New York). People don’t carry around meters, so no one will get it exactly right. Like other personal histories, it is part mythology, part subjective recall.
The way that the website is constructed in blog format means that the most recent addition always appears as the featured item. So, as I add new material, it goes on the front page before sliding to the righthand column. Since the site was launched, I have added reading lists of both fiction and nonfiction, paeons to my main teachers, and a note about photography of the ruins of my family’s hotel in the Catskills. The “Kaua’i Notes” are also new.
The present system for comments is not well-set-up or policed, and this website is flooded with spam (hundreds upon hundreds of ads and other intrusions), so it takes a while to go through it all and preserve and approve the few legitimate ones. Be patient.