Discover more from Garden Scenery
What this is and what to expect from it.
A point view of the "Garden World". The "people" that dot this world, like other structures, are like other worlds. It's just a shadow of existence.
Something I am immensely tired of is the introductory post which adopts a tone of jovial, self-deprecating humility – "Well, I'm hopping on the bandwagon" / "Just wanted a place for my idle thoughts" / "Hey, it's the hot new thing, right?" (when this last one is used to describe something the writer knows perfectly well is not hot or new it's even worse). The issue is that, intrinsically, it sets things up on the wrong foot – it's the rhetorical equivalent of rolling over and showing your belly, addressing the audience as if it's both hostile and self-evidently superior to you, begging them not to judge you too harshly for daring to speak, promising you have nothing of value to contribute. Like all cheap flattery, it's grating to read, and furthermore it smells dishonest: the sort of people who adopt such a tenor are often secretly quite convinced of their own importance; regardless of if they conceal this because they find the expression of ambition vulgar or because they want to cynically manipulate their audience with false humility, it's a pathetic posture and an exhausted mode of address, which is what really makes it unconscionable. This introduction, after all, exists to introduce you to my new writing project, and to try to convince you it's worth spending money on, more or less on the merit of my prose – it would not be wise to write such a piece, I think, in an exhausted form of address. Thus I will not pretend to lack ambition, to fear my audience unduly, to deny all belief in myself. Instead, let me simply present to you what I intend for "Garden Scenery" to be.
Garden Scenery is essentially a place for any sort of writing I do that's longer than a tweet but shorter than a book. Ideally, the experience of reading it should be like wandering through a strange, sprawling garden, one whose labyrinthine design, full of high walls, secluded alcoves, looping pathways, ominous figures, strange detours, neglected corners, hidden passageways, and elaborate, inscrutable tableaux, encountered suddenly in the midst of seemingly nothing in particular at all, creates an atmosphere of vague unease which never manifests into anything definite, but lingers quietly, in the back of your mind, long after you leave ... It's also an experiment in seeing if I can actually make money off this stuff. I've been writing fiction "seriously" for a couple years now (these three pieces are fairly representative, if you're not familiar; you can also find a glossary of my work here), and in that time I believe I've acquired at least a few readers who are into what I do to enough to spend a bit of money on it. It's possible I'm wrong, of course – acting on this belief is a move of ambition, and when one does anything ambitious they run the risk of looking like a complete fucking idiot. But this is the risk you have to accept if you ever want to do anything with your life.
Here, in the third paragraph, is the pitch: unlike many substacks, Garden Scenery will have an actual schedule, albeit a very simple one; once a week, each Sunday,* I'll post a new short story, or something else capable of filling a roughly equivalent volume of thought (but usually a short story). The first Sunday of each month will be free; if you want to read the rest will cost you $5/month (or $50/year). Depending on the month, you're basically paying $1.25 to $1.66 per story, plus a freebie. This is, I think, not unreasonable. (If you can't afford this and you like my work enough you want to read it, then I'm honored; hit my DMs and I'll sort it out for you). In addition, I'll be posting reviews, essays, maybe some poems or other ephemera on an "indeterminate" basis, basically whenever I have something I think is polished enough to share. This might be happen very regularly or barely at all, depending on how much time I have and what I want to spend it on. If you're reading this because you like my writing on film, some of that will be appearing here, but I can't be sure how much or how often. I'd like to commit to something specific on this front but it's just not realistic right now.
You might be noticing that as a "project" Garden Scenery hovers a bit uncomfortably between curated, directed creative endeavor and general-purpose archive of Stuff I Do. Potentially, as I get into the rhythm, it could become obvious how to resolve this into a cohesive aesthetic vision. Potentially, also, the dissonance could grow worse and eventually implode the whole thing. Or, most likely, I'll just muddle along. In any case, I want to be clear this isn't a project I'm undertaking casually and it's not one I'm going to drop after a couple weeks. I'm fully committed to keeping it going for at least six months, and if there's any meaningful amount of interest in it I'll keep it going until the time arrives for it to be put in the ground – perhaps buried, like a sentimental child's cold and rigid pet, in the back garden.
Thank you for reading, please subscribe, first story (free, of course) coming this Sunday.
David C. Porter