This new year will mark four years since the final installment of the serial fiction, Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life of An American Genius, by Pat Nolan was posted to this site (seven years since the novel was completed in manuscript). Over these last four years, parts of the novel have also been published in a number of online magazines and literary portals including Otoliths, Dispatches from the Poetry Wars, and Parole. The site as well has continued to provided announcements and composited interviews with the author on the process of reason and unreason shaping the narrative through that fictional year in the life of a neo-romantic literary figure not quite Baudelaire not quite Bukowski told as a retro pulp serial.
The entire manuscript of the serialized novel is now available as a draft pdf. The draft file has been updated on a yearly basis to remove any unsightly agrammatical growths or loose tenses that might have accumulated over time—copy editing does not preclude revision. The latest update is available here.
The longer Ode To Sunset ages in its cyber-cask, the better it gets. It has acquired a depth and complexity not obvious in a first quick reading. Sunset is the symbol of the end of an era and the beginning of another, and reflecting in that wavering light is a year in a life lived as literature. Lives of poets, loves of poets, lies of poets are embodied in the last of the baby Beat hep cats of post war heritage, an American genius all but indistinguishable from Kenner’s charlatan. Ode To Sunset is based on literature not on real life. A Year in the Life of an American Genius is not a roman à clef unless the reader wants it to be. Its subject is the literary and its resonance is an echo of all past literatures.
As a technical aside, blog platforms offer a way to track visitors and sort them by geo-national entity. In its initial offering as serial installments, Ode To Sunset recorded sporadic though predictable viewing activity: dozens of “views” for any one episode was probably average for the entire length of posting serial installments, at one point posted once a week for five weeks, but mostly on a monthly basis. That ended four years ago and predictably the visits to the site became fewer and occasional, usually from English speaking countries. Excerpts published in other online magazines and authorial links also steered traffic to the Ode To Sunset site. Beginning approximately two years ago, among accounts visiting the site were those from China and which were assumed to be random hits as are most that register only on the home page and not a specific post. A search for “sunset” could lead anyone to a serial fiction dead end. Yet a show of interest is usually indicated by someone downloading a pdf file, presumably for later reading. For a site administrator, that is always a positive sign. In the past two years or so there has been an increase of viewing activity on the Ode To Sunset site from China. Downloads of the pdf file originating from there have increased as well, rivaling downloads from Western countries, primarily the US. As a blog, Ode To Sunset, a serial fiction about poets and poetry in turn of the century Frisco, has remained interactive in a dialectic with itself in guiding the trajectory of its worldly world-wide wobble. The blog platform like the typewriter and word processor before it has become a vital tool in the technology of writing. The rules of “publishing” have changed once again. Efforts to get Ode To Sunset published through conventional means have not been successful. Assuming appreciation from “visits”, meaningless in petro-dollars or bitcoin, is at the very least some indication of attention or interest, the value of the work under consideration then is given a sort of visceral currency that crosses borders as well as bridges languages on a peer to peer basis. The author of a published book might stand at a podium/pedestal but for the “internet-tional” author the link is keyboard to keyboard. The interconnected networks of cyber space are the perfect place for the conceptual installation of literary endeavors. Short termed happenings such as magazines, galleries, and incidental blogs, and longer term presences in the form of chapbooks, collected prose and poetry, and fiction are made available as archived resource material while maintaining the purity of their original artistic intent. Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius is just such an example.