[rumori] Notice

Andrew Lander (andrewlanderAThotmail.com)
Sat, 30 Oct 1999 06:43:54 PDT

I finally got this piece from the July 1999 Harper's Magazine scanned in by
a friend:



A. I I

"Notice, " by Ken Kalfus. The story appeared in the April issue of Law &
Politics and is included in Thirst, a collection by Kalfus published by
Milkweed Editions. Katfus's collection PU-239 and Other Russian Fantasies,
will be published in September by Milkweed; the title story appeared in the
March 1996 issue of Harper's Magazine.

Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. No part of this paragraph may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, oral, or telepathic, including photocopy, recording,
transcription, tracing, hot type, cold type, mimeograph, ditto (in school,
the copies, made between classes, would be handed to us while they were
still warm and moist, their ink bearing a thick, intoxicating fragrance that
would compel us to raise the sheets to our faces and think, so this is what
blue smells like), teletype, telefax, telephone, semaphore, skywriting,
whisper, sťance confession, FTD, floppy disk, hard drive, RAM, careful
longhand on rare vellum, silk screen, or any
information-storage-and-retrieval system without written permission except
in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles, reviews, profiles,
commentaries, biographies, musical comedies, halftime shows, and literary
prize announcements. Requests for permission to make copies of any
substantive part of this paragraph should be sent to the author (who really
does have this happy memory of ditto ink's alcoholic vapor, which, when
inhaled deeply, as if we were sampling the air of a lush field, would induce
a wicked giddiness, among the other exalted effects of printed matter), who,
quite frankly, would be flattered to get mail of this sort and would
consider such requests in a favorable light as, the above sentence
notwithstanding, he seeks to have this paragraph communicated in all
languages and by all technologies, not for personal or proprietary reasons
but to bring another facet of the whole that exists to general awareness.
Just drop me a note. My e-mail address is 72754.2514ATcompuserve.com. Except
in cases of obvious satirical intent (an exception that applies to this
entire paragraph, which resembles the device that provides copyright
protection but is without that protection itself), all the characters in
this paragraph are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living
or dead, including the author, is purely coincidental, or at least
unpredictable. Between what we describe and the truth lies a poorly marked
border, and in a writer's desperate wanderings he will occasionally cross
that border and then, unawares, meander back. (I'm not quite satisfied with
the above description of ditto ink. There are other details: the paper
soaked up in the blue, plumping and softening the letters, as if it too were
slightly intoxicated by the ink. This lightened the color of the letters,
slightly empurpling them, a transformation that defied simile until I
witnessed the rush of twilight one summer morning a few years later. I never
saw the ditto machine but imagined it as a handpowered, gracefully
constructed device with a few large levers. The sight of thirty adolescents
pressing warm inky sheets of PRO against their faces as if engaged in some
cultish ceremony never seemed remarkable; a girl I had known since
kindergarten, traveling with her on frequently intersecting paths without
ever quite having a conversation, might pull the paper away with a sigh of
such explosiveness that I would be momentarily excited and a little in love,
and then frightened, reminded of her inscrutability. In our suburban and
earnestly innocent school we dared fate with jokes about needing our
narcotic "fix" of the ink, and in April and May we crumpled tests and
assignments from October and November, months that seemed like a much
earlier, more promising, forever lost part of childhood. After a couple of
seasons the bottom of my locker bore a faded, uninspiring scent, which was
mostly a function of memory. The memory still resists full description.
After such failure, of what use is a copyright?) This paragraph contains the
complete text of the hardcover edition. Not one word has been omitted.

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