I don't know what Extribulum will be, other than a word. Digital life requires new modes of thinking and I don't believe that those new modes are here yet, even for those of us who live our lives so intently online. The internet shrinks the physical world but it populates that smaller reality with information, details, trivia, ideas, and it's hard to sort through all that to find out what is real and useful. There isn't just one contrast: there is the physical book/ebook contrast, the pro-publish/self-publish contrast, the traditional/digital divide in the actual business of making books, and then the sun around which these orbit, which is the difference between seller/buyer and writer/reader. It's all very well to say one wants to connect authors to readers, but I don't know if that's sustainable with unknown authors or viable with famous ones.
But that's the nature of research, really: someone slams a chunk of marble down in front of you and you just kind of chip away randomly until a shape emerges, and once the shape becomes visible you go from there. I do believe that the writer/reader relationship can be at the heart of the digital revolution if people are willing to get on board with that, but the frustration right now comes from the fact that all the reading I'm doing about publishing is based in applying tradpub methods to digital publication, and all the reading I'm doing about digital distribution and artist-patron relationships is focused on non-literary genres such as music and film. Blogging, which you'd think would be at the forefront, is relegated to a niche corner of journalism or crowbar'd into traditional publishing as well-known bloggers put out nonfiction books.
Sometimes I think Extribulum is as much about me finding my place as it is about the nature of publication -- not in journalism, not in traditional literature, not in programming or distribution modes...I don't know where it is and when I try to think about Extribulum sometimes I feel very much at sea. I want to be doing, making, changing, but I don't know how. I want to be on the cutting edge, but I can't fucking find the cutting edge.
Though good may come of practice, this primal truth endures:
The first time anything is done, it's done by amateurs.
I'm not really the person who was meant to be doing this; I have neither the education, the experience, or the expanse of mind for it. But, you know, I'm the person who's trying to do it, so there you have it.
This all sounds rather depressing, but I'm not unhappy. The reading is interesting and if I'm spinning my wheels at least they're spinning at all. I've said for a long time that writing is about control and this is why so many writers are afraid of the internet, which is not controlled at all, so it's natural to be afraid. You can't write the ending to reality.
Maybe I need to be looking at this differently. Maybe I need to treat it like a master's thesis. I didn't know jack shit about masks when I wrote my thesis on that, either...