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The landscape of literature has undergone a seismic shift, akin to a building vanishing in a tornado. For eons, the Literary Industrial Complex reigned supreme, a structure founded on the shoulders of writers– novelists, poets, playwrights– supported by a myriad of elements: agents, publishers, critics, and magazines, culminating in lavish cocktail parties on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

This complex wove a community, thrusting some writers into the limelight while relegating others to obscurity. It dictated the literary stars, the celebrated, the mediocre, and the forgotten, distributing accolades like PUlitzers, Nobels, and National Book Awards.

But now, apathy reigns. The authority once held by the Complex has shifted into the hands of weary political figures. What remains is a mere semblance dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion– a trifling gesture amidst the chaos.

Gone are the days of Mailer, Capote, Roth, Pynchon, Bellow, Baldwin, Kerouac, Burroughs, Vidal, and DeLillo, once the darlings nurtured by this apparatus. Brilliant authors like Lindsay, Van Vogt, Spinrad, and Cain were steadfastly ignored.

What remains in this vacuum?

The answer is disconcerting:

No. Surely not.

Are we relying on those who once cherished novels, delving into pages with fervor?

Indeed. That motley crew.

And the writers … shall they wield their own torches, since there’s no one else to champion them?

Precisely.

They will publish on platforms like Substack, unabashedly, in plain sight?

Yes.

It appears perilous. Almost suicidal– entrusting READERS to form their judgments.

Precisely. These readers aren’t guided by the Industrial Complex; they aren’t puppets under control. They’re autonomous, each forming individual opinions.

But can this thrive? Mustn’t it fail?

Success today pivots on superficial facets– skin color, attire, political rhetoric. It pivots on conforming to prescribed ideologies. There might not be a literary apparatus, but an APPARATUS persists, dictating thoughts.

One must comply.

Should they?

I know a Substack writer– sharp, astute– yet he adheres to a familiar liberal stance when discussing certain topics. HE’s aware it’s a facade, a duty to the ‘Eternal Victim’, appealing to like-minded readers.

That’s his response to the vanished Complex– endearing himself to The Group.

Yet, the true challenge for a writer is different now. It’s about taking risks, standing firm, seeking individual readers– the unindoctrinated.

I’ve encountered many online, free from the conventional mold. Even at 40, I ‘d have scoffed at the notion, seeking validation from established publishers. But deep down, I was a maverick, unwilling to be corralled or instructed on what or how to write.

That stance was mine, unequivocally.

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