I am eleven years old in this picture, sitting in the dining room of my family house in Philadelphia. Writing is the focus in my existence; it defines my identity. Since I was small, I have carried a notebook and pen with me everywhere, hoping that the books will flow onto the pages in some unstaunchable spontaneous expression manifesting itself in prose and poetry. I write by hand, and yet, I think in terms of the book format, because that is the way literature has made itself familiar to me. My desire, drive, is not to be a writer, but to write. The activity and its absorptions are addictive. My ideas of how writing is created, what it expresses, and what its forms and sources might be are gleaned largely from the exposure to the canonical works of English authors. That changes in the decades ahead as I move through different communities — of school, friends, poets, artists, scholars, book artists, and printers, designers, and finally, writers working in the digital modes.
This is a memoire about and through writing. The texts in these pages are all unpublished, and there are many of them. I wrote proflically, regularly, and in each instance of writing, with a specific script in mind about what the possibilities were for writing. This project is about what I thought I was doing in writing, the constructs that produced and constrained these works. It is an autobiography as gloss, the detailed annotation of manuscripts. In some cases they are transcribed, in others, they are attached as full PDFs. They are the evidence of a life lived in writing, now refracted through critical self-reflection. They do not tell story of their making, so that is added, provided as the narrative frame.
Each of these artifacts speaks of a moment, place, mood, attitude, passion, drive, emotion and aspiration through its physical, documentary materiality and its textual specificity. Whether they are of literary value is not an issue, they are of evidentiary value, a testimony to their own production and my history.
All materials on this site were written, drawn, and commented upon by Johanna Drucker and are subject to copyright. To enter, select from the columns below or click here to enter and move through chronologically. N.B. At present none of the links below will work.