"Ghost Writ"—The Project

I aspired to authenticity, but I never got beyond verisimilitude. (epigram, Ghost Writ)

"Ghost Writ" began in 2013 as a personal experiment in literary form and content. It was motivated by three intellectual impulses:
  1. Curiosity about the faux memoir as a trustworthy vehicle for a personal narrative centered on the "life of a mind"; 
  2. distrust of transparency as a conscious communication tactic, strategy, and/or goal, especially in the realm of social media; and 
  3. suspicion that the tension between being and seeming to be—b/w authenticity and verisimilitude—motivates, shapes, and grounds the public discourse that now constitutes our shared social, communal, corporate "reality."
Ghost Writ: The Desert Wells Dialogues of Gilmartin Jacobsen (a fugue) emerged in September 2016 after >30 drafts. In the end, "this book seems to be what it seems to be about," one reader explained to describe her interest in the work.

Like most experiments, this one produced unexpected results:
  1. Escape from the lab. A brief chronology describes the effect: on 3/15/15 "Joshua Cryst" announced the existence of ghostwrit.net via email to 50 people I've known at some point in the past 50 years, from childhood and school friends to latter-day professional colleagues—with mixed results:  Some liked it, several found it confusing or puzzling, most never reacted, and a few forwarded the link to people not on the original mailing list. Subsequently, "Ghost Writ" the project "escaped from the lab," as one reader put it, to circulate among a much wider audience in Cyberia—as of 2/1/17 >42K unique visits, 20% repeat visitors.
  2. Crowd-sourced editingGhost Writ "the book" thus enjoyed a public incubation shaped by comments and questions via tweet, text, and email. These pointed out typographical and grammatical errors or suggested topics and language. A few discussed philosophical, rhetorical, political, cultural, and/or theological principles and problems.  Several readers argued for a POD edition. 
  3. Reader/Writer collaboration. Thank you to those readers whose comments and suggestions could be voiced by a character or characters as part of a dialogue. Their participation in the creation of Ghost Writ fulfills what Joshua calls (GW, p.6) "the ongoing dialogue embodied by this book." 
* Net the phantom referrals, web crawlers, and spammers that haunt Cyberia, nemeses of Google Analytics.