It is somewhere between an honor and a horror to introduce you, the anonymous audience, to The Hermit's Journal.

It is the admitted function of an introduction to, in some way, prepare the reader for that which follows. In this case, I am conscious of being a buffer zone, a not necessarily neutral space between the forces of author and audience poised on the brink of interaction. The phrase "police action" comes to mind, though I am unsure whether the association is motivated by an urge to protect you from the text or the text from you.

To attempt to explain The Hermit's Journal is to miss its point.

"Being shown is not the same as discovering for yourself." (pg. 7)

The Hermit's Journal provides a style sheet for an internal dialogue_a method of recording scraps of insight from a journey into introspective anarchy. Anarchy because the text insists, both in its content and its context, that the individual, the end-user, is invested with the power to author_with authority. Introspective because of the personality involved. Miller works to define the parameters of personal computing_of computing the personal. With enough of Boulder's influence to keep the esoteric harmonies chiming in the margins, he challenges traditional notions of form, context, genre, and ideological boundaries. Miller makes no compromises. He is wholly arrogant, wholly humble, wholly whimsical.

The text assumes metacognition, moving randomly between levels. It is a study of simultaneity, of plurality, of consciousness. It is not only the product, but the process, of participating in the/a game through the generation of autonomous text. To miss the context is to misinterpret the content_to give it more emphasis than it desires. The imaginative punctuation, the rawness of the voice is not a detraction, but evidence of The Hermit's honesty. In struggling for a cohesiveness both in voice and in form, Miller exposes his self both shyly and defiantly. There is no authorial benevolence. The driving force behind this work is the pleasure it brings the author, not the audience. Being privy to the guilt, the doubt, the ecstasy arising in association with that pleasure puts the reader in a relationship to the author that feels at times voyeuristic, at times intrusive, at times erotic. And yet ... and yet:

"If I can do better helping you do better, then
so much the better." (p. 8)

There can be little doubt, when you've arrived at its end, that despite its cynicism, despite its hedonistic agenda, The Hermit's Journal speaks to a part of us that is capable of caring for ourselves, and for each other, deeply and without greed.

The fact that The Hermit's Journal has published outside of institutional/industrial practices is neither insignificant nor unintentional. The author has written free of censorship, free of surveillance, exposing by the absence of external control the presence of the internal. This is unalienated work. As such, it is both exhilarating and frightening. Beware the politics of the intensely personal.

The inherent danger is that you are either seduced or you're not. It doesn't matter which. Both intimate and calloused, The Hermit whispers provocatively in the ear of our commonality.

T. McDill


Copyright ©2004 Michael Miller. All rights reserved.