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Photograph by Aaron Siskin, 1952


I got stones in my pathway
and the road is dark tonight

Robert Johnson


As the current Jargon Society intern, Lord Nose has asked me to write a small piece for this newsletter, describing my time here and what this press means to me. As a young person with an interest in books, both their content and quality of construction, I have an abiding interest in Jonathan Williams’s pursuit; Jargon books are not only exemplary for the words captured on the page, but for the page itself.

Usually at table, after dinner, drinking the last of a bottle of wine, talk turns to the state of publishing, the rigmarole and politics of academia that prevent truly outstanding artists from coming to light. We need presses like Jargon, if for no other reason than to give people access to work that falls outside the canon.

As an intern here in Highlands, I have the wonderful opportunity of experiencing Jonathan’s wisdom and humor quite near the point of exhaustion. I can only hope to have half as much energy and initiative to engage new projects when I am his age, provided current administrative decisions allow me to reach Jonathan’s age.

And it is exactly in times and conditions like the present that the need for art can be greatest felt. If forced to choose between books or duct tape to ensure my survival, Jargon would win. For the survival I am interested in is the survival of the mind, of the ability to be able to respond to the stirring in the soul which literature can create.

It is early morning here in North Carolina as I write this to you. I am enjoying a cup of coffee as I watch the light begin to illuminate the remaining snow on the mountains across the way. I hope that in the years to come, regardless of my location and the daily morning rituals that location demands, I will be able to reap the benefit of garnering the energy and passion of books, written and published, by men and women who serve as alternatives to the mass-produced culture at large.

As Robert Johnson said, there are stones in the pathway. The road is dark tonight. The Jargon Society is a light by which we can navigate in troubling conditions.

Whit Griffin
Skywinding Farm
Valentine’s Day, 2003

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