August Highland



INTERVIEW WITH AUGUST HIGHLAND VIA KAGABLOG (MAY 13, 2012)
BY ARYAN KAGANOF

(Aryan Kaganof is a South African film maker, novelist, poet and fine artist. He runs a blog called "Kagablog".)


ARYAN KAGANOF: Something is very definitely going on and its name is August Highland. A phenomenon. Or should I say a vast collection of phenomena. Because "prolific" does not even begin to describe August Highland. He has more than 80 personae - each of which has an authentic, full-blown style of his or her own. He has published more than 100,000 pages of hyper-text on various web sites of his own creation and design. He has invented five new genres of literary fiction. He is currently working on extrapolating his literary theories into crossover forms in other disciplines, incorporating music, fine art, graphic design and architecture into the forging of entirely unknown territory for which there is as yet no critical lexicon; words fail us in attempting to describe what August is up to. Perhaps he will invent these for us as well. I wouldn't put it past him. Oh yes, and in between all of this fearless innovation he has the time to organize world's largest literary quarterly on the web, the Muse Apprentice Guild, with more than 2 million hits per year.

I'd always thought of myself as quite a busy guy until I connected with the extraordinary Mr. Highland. We did this interview by e-mail over a period of four weeks. It took so long because I needed time to think. August had the replies in almost before I had sent the questions to him.

What struck me after a few days of browsing through your many sites was the extraordinary energy that you must have. Were you a precocious child? Difficult to get along with (for your less intelligent contemporaries)? Did you have an imaginary friend? Lots of them?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: I was not a precocious child at all. I did not display any extraordinary talents or qualities that set me apart from other children. The only trait I had that was uncommon (though not uncommon to other writers and artists) was that I always felt like an outsider. I felt this as early as two-and-a-half years old. I thought I was an adult who was smaller than all the adults around me. During the first week of kindergarten I was walking by myself on the grass during recess and discovered a hole in the chain-link fence. So I climbed out through the hole and walked the three blocks home. When my mother asked me what I was doing home and how did I get home I told her that school was let out early and that I walked. Then I went to the kitchen and ate an orange. This typifies my experience growing up. I did not want to be around other children. I had no friends my age and didn't feel a need for any. The happiest moment I had in school was in first grade when I was tall enough to reach the top shelf of the bookcase where the teacher (Ms. Canary) kept all the books that she read to the class. I took the one that was my favorite and brought it to my desk to read. I remember Ms. Canary caressing the back of my head when she found me reading her book at my desk. I fell in love with her at that moment. She was the first woman I loved besides my mother.

I was very difficult to get along with. I have two younger sisters. I repeatedly tried to kill my middle sister by kicking her playpen over. And I tortured my youngest sister. I beat them up all the time. Then my dad beat me up. To this day my sisters and I do not talk. My dad has stopped hitting me though.

I was also a thief. I stole from grocery stores and department stores. Usually the things I stole were gifts I wanted to give my mother. I loved my mother very much. She was everything to me. So I stole things that I could give her. She gave me so much and I wanted to give back in return. She always took me back to the store from where I had stolen the gift and made me return it to the manager and ask him to forgive me. I was never caught stealing. They didn't have video surveillance in those days. But all the store owners knew my face. And they were always nice to me even though I was a petty criminal.

I never had an imaginary friend. Instead I had imaginary father figures. My father worked 14-hour days. He left for work at 4am and returned at 6pm just in time for dinner and immediately fell asleep on the couch after dinner. Snoring in his underwear.

I found my surrogate father figures in books. Beginning in the second grade, I read every biography of great men that I could find. Men like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln. Also lengendary figures like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. I idealized historical heroes and tried to model my life on their lives. For example, I would turn off all the lights in my bedroom and read using a candle. I was trying to emulate Abraham Lincoln. My parents took the candle away when they found out I was playing with matches. The next day I stole a flashlight from the hardware store.

Even though my father was absent he gave my mother complete freedom to do whatever she wanted. She bought me every book I ever asked for and took me to museums and took me with her to her ballet lessons and her painting lessons. She took me everywhere with her. She even took me to her girlfriends' houses and I would sit there and listen. Being around women so much only served to distance me from my peers even more, especially from boys.

ARYAN KAGANOF: As I delved further and deeper into the labyrinthine complexity of your site two names kept on springing to mind: Joyce and Ballard. Care to respond?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: I can answer this question in a very telling manner. When I was 19-years-old and spending everyday indoors doing nothing else except reading from morning to night my parents became very concerned about me. I had already been in psychotherapy with eight or nine different therapists because of depression, anxiety and nightmares. Summer arrived and my parents devised a plan. They decided to send me to Club Med in Tahiti. My mother convinced me to go by tantalizing me with images of half-naked native girls in grass skirts. So I went. I brought two books with me. James Joyce's Dubliners and Frederick Wheelock's Latin Grammar. When I got to the island I associated with no one. I spent everyday wading fifty feet out into the glass-green water which rose no higher than my ankles and stood in the sun reading my latin grammar book or Joyce's short stories. The transgender bartenders kept flirting with me and I was still pretty naive and almost found myself in an awkward situation from which I was rescued by a very lovely tahitian girl to whom I lost my virginity on the same secluded strip of beach where I spent my days studying my Joyce and my latin grammar.

Although I know longer read Joyce and haven't for 25 years I am still faithful to Latin. Virgil is my favorite writer.

ARYAN KAGANOF: Is your writing medium-specific, that is to say, could this kind of writing have been conceived of without the internet? And could you now yourself ever consider going back to the kind of writing that we knew before the internet?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: My literary work is absolutely medium-specific. There is no possible way in which I could produce my work without the tools and resources furnished by the advent of the internet. I have written seven traditional novels (traditional in the sense that they were written the traditional way without utilizing internet-based tools.) I could never conceive of myself writing in the pre-internet style again. This would be like trying to climb back into the womb. The internet has birthed me.

I do not use the word "birthed" arbitrarily or colorfully. The internet is a technological mirror of our psyche. The internet is an evolutionary medium for consciousness and social and cultural growth. The internet is anything but mechanistic and artificial. Mechanistic is our jobs. Artificial is the food we buy.

There is no appreciable gap between the author and the internet. The process is very grounded and organic. There is nothing virtual or cyberspacy about it. This is a romantic view of the internet. The internet is strictly a facilitator, enabling me to finally produce the work I had always conceived of but never had the specific tools which I needed in order to realize my ideas. The greatest modern inventions in history have been created by Guttenberg, Edison and Ford - and Bill Gates.

For me as an author writing in the 21st Century without incorporating internet tools into my literary work would be equivalent to using candles to light the home instead of light-bulbs and traveling using a horse instead of driving. This sounds like the life of a devout Amish follower or a fanatical and delusional follower of the Unibomber manifesto.

ARYAN KAGANOF: Let's look at the issue of locality versus non-locality. If we take a writer like Robinson Jeffers. His work is unthinkable outside of the context of the Californian coastline. The rhythms of his poetry have everything to do with the landscape he lives in. Similarly the greatest South African writer, Herman Charles Bosman, writes from the Groot Marico bosveld or the Groot Marico bosveld writes from him - the two are inextricably linked. You live in San Diego. But your writing, which is clearly medium-specific, would appear to be coming from non-locality, from no-where? Is there a techno-spatial geography that is operating on or out of your writing? Or does locality play a less important role for you, and perhaps for all web-connected writers in the future (ie. now)?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: San Diego has a neutral atmosphere. That means it does not as a city carry around a strong cultural air or attitude. Los Angeles for example is very heavily influenced by the entertainment industry and it is difficult to escape the pervasive commercialization of that environment. San Diego does not have a centralized mentality. Everyone here is invested in living their own lives and rearing their families. There is not the over-riding feeling here that everyone is invested only in career and ambition for celebrity-hood and excessive material wealth.

I have traveled around the world and lived in many place in the US including the east coast. I don't think I could work as productively anywhere else. Everything I need is here. Also there are no distractions to pull me away from my work. San Diego is a conservative city and does not accommodate the more colorful pleasures that some cities afford. I am easily sucked into those colorful pleasures. I know this from having lived in New York and from having grown up in West Los Angeles near Hollywood. I have a very addictive nature and if I am in the right (that is to say "wrong") city I have a very hard time with impulse control. Living in San Diego is for me like being a writer-in-residence in a comfortable art community that has pleasantly maintained grounds and offers all the necessities a writer needs. I have all the essentials here. All the unessentials are unavailable which for me personally is a perfect situation. All of my energies are channeled into my work and do not get dispersed or diffused.

About a "techno-spatial geography". I would agree that I thrive in the new geographical terrain that has formed in the trans-continental ether. Because San Diego has such clear culturally atmospheric conditions the techno ether saturates the area through very clear receptivity. A city like San Diego has the perfect social climate to admit technoculture frequencies without any filtering or noise. It's like when you are trying to dial into a shortwave radio and need to make locational adjustments to gain the clearest access. San Diego is positioned in an ideal geo-psychical position which provides clear access to techno-spatial transmissions.

ARYAN KAGANOF: There seems to me to be an analogue prefiguration in literature for your project; at least in terms of the personae. In the work of Fernando Pessoa. Indeed, his major project, The Book Of Disquiet, consisting of thousands of loose pieces of paper in a trunk, demands of its reader a complicity in the ultimate narrative formed by forcing the reader to create the narrative in terms of the route he or she takes through the material (which is undirected by Pessoa). One could say the same for the traveller who goes through your site(s). There is a collaborative narrative constructed every time one surfs through the many possibilities you provide. Was Pessoa an influence? To what extent are you concerned (if at all) with narrative?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: Narrative is not solely a contribution that the individual reader makes to my literary work. I deliberately assemble the thematic material and present it in a particular fashion using different literary devices and techniques in order to create a narrative that is open to interpretation depending upon the way in which the reader interacts with the contents of the narrative. Another way to state this is that the finished product that I present to the reader is a pool of information which the reader processes in a way that is unique to that reader. Pessoa in Book of Disquiet bases his major oeuvre on a different conceptual model than me. He makes the ultimate demand on the reader. He delivers the data to the reader to sort through with minimal assistance by Pessoa himself. I participate more intimately with the text and with the reader by deliberately selecting a group of themes and the manner in which I am going to present the thematic material to the reader. In one project I will present work that is very dense and compressed. In another project I will present the material in a rhythmic style. In another project I will incorporate the use of unconventional punctuation to propel the reader forward through the text at an accelerated pace. In another project I will employ devices that interrupt the flow of the narrative and will interpose auxiliary material into the narrative stream. In another project I will utilize devices like repetition and looping to reiterate narrative threads and confer upon them more importance than other threads in the narrative.

I have a very great interest in the readers of my literary work. I want to communicate. But I am not interested in communicating to the reader the same material that a writer like Hamsun or Proust or Joyce or Beckett is interested in communicating. I am not invested in writing about me. I am more interested in writing about the reader. I know that the reader and I share a common experience by virtue of our inter-relatedness and inter-connectedness. I choose thematic source material that touches upon fundamental experiences. Themes like sexuality, military action, spirituality, love and human relationships, the environment, politics, the media, our human feelings, our everyday concerns that are universal to all human beings like money, family, mortality, happiness, meaning, friendship, self-understanding, work, play, etc. I know that by the way I structure my literary work and the way I interact with the source materials and how I modify these source materials, I am presenting literary work that a reader will relate to in the same way I relate to it. Our reading of the text will be different from each other and the experience of the text will be different and the meaning of the text will be different from each other, but only superficially. On a meta-cognitive level or on a metabolic level or on a cellular level or collective unconscious level our readings of the text will have a very unified correspondence. I am not concerned with writing about me. I am concerned with writing about the terrain which I share with the reader.

ARYAN KAGANOF: I looked you up on google. Became worried that "August Highland" is a persona too. Thousands of entries for Scottish national games! But isn't that one of the problems of having multiple personae: that the audience begins to doubt the sincerity of the material?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: When doing a search on August Highland it helps to use quotations around my name to reduce the number of search results that are generated by google. "Metapoetics Theatre" is name I have attributed to my work involving the use of mulitiple personas each of whom produce literary work that is a subgenre of one of the four genres I have originated; they are "Hyper-Literary Fiction", "Microlinear Storytelling", "Next-Gen Nanopoetics" and "Genre-Splicing". Metapoetics Theatre is a literary performance in which the multiple personas play an explicit role. Metapoetics Theatre endorses multiple personas which are an active element in the concept of this literary production. There has never been an attempt by me to disguise the personas or present them as genuine individuals because this would run counter to the fundamental tenets of Metapoetics Theatre which openly presents each member of my simulated literary movements as another extension of myself. There is also a disclaimer in the Muse Apprentice Guild, which is the International Literary Quarterly I edit, that none of my personas appear in the Quarterly. My literary work and editorial work are two separate ventures.

ARYAN KAGANOF: Moving on to the "Muse Apprentice Guild." How do we know that all 600 writers featured are not further extenuations of your multiple persona project?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: The Muse Apprentice Guild is an non-profit organization promoting the international world of letters; it has 35 contributing editors around the world and is the largest and most widely read International Literary Quarterly on the Internet with an annual readership over two million readers.

Here is a quick history of the muse apprentice guild: The next issue (appearing august 31) is the first anniversary issue - on august 1, 2002 the first issue came out with 60 writers including both emerging and established writers - the number of writers tripled in the fall issue and i turned the m.a.g. into a quarterly - by winter there were 500 writers and the m.a.g. had expanded into an international literary quarterly - by spring (the current issue) there were 600 writers and 4,000 literary works - the m.a.g. now has 35 co-editors around the world who act as liaisons presenting contemporary literary work from their respective countries which i publish in the original language with or without english translation - the annual m.a.g. readership has grown to over two million readers making the muse apprentice guild the largest and most widely read international literary quarterly on the internet.

My own literary work (Metapoetics Theatre) is presented under the aegis of "Culture Animal" which is my own literary production company. The M.A.G. and Culture Animal are connected only because I operate both projects. But the connection stops here. There are no hoaxes in my work.

ARYAN KAGANOF: There is something dizzying about what you are doing. It leaves one slightly worried, the ground is shaky and what we know of our critical facility, what we have been trained to validate our sense of proportion, of what is "good" in literature, is radically undermined. You must be aware of this process in your readers. Is it intentional? What is to be gained for literature by so radically undermining the status of the author?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: Concerning the criteria we use to judge what is "good" in literature I recommend that readers read the essay by Professor Harry Polkinhorn in the Spring Issue (2003) of the Muse Apprentice Guild entitled "600 Readers?"

At this point we may be in a position to formulate a way to assess the quality of writing or art that is more honest, less dictatorial, more open-ended, a way suitable to our historical period, rather than having to labor under the confusions perpetrated by standards from the past that no longer fit our current realities. In this expanded view whose investment is decidedly not in creating a forced, arbitrary, and deceptive sense of value by starkly limiting the writing it deems worthy of publication, that is, works with the laughably bogus principle of so-called rarity, good writing would be that which gives the reader the most immediate and moving sense of the fullness of the writer's self. This leaves open what "fullness of self" can mean. As each of us spends a lifetime becoming who we are, uniquely as selves here at the brief, fiery living edge of history, those who are more completely accomplished in this task will manifest that state more immediately, which will flower from their lives in all ways, whether in their personal relations, their artistic creations, their stance in the world.

ARYAN KAGANOF: In an interview with Andrew Shelley you talk of a writer's onus to contribute to "the historical timeline of civilization." Is this not an extremely conservative, linear conception of how civilizations run their course? Is not the very notion of the literary canon, "tradition" an inherently flawed one, based on phallocentric imaginings of the recta linear form of time and being? Surely the real subversion would be in rejecting the concept of the timeline altogether?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: About the western literary tradition, the canon, the lineage. The lineage of the western literary canon is both linear and cycling. I think of it as a spiral. We continue to return to the same point but on a higher ring in the spiral. So the canon is not purely linear nor non-linear. This paradigm extricates us from the intellectually limiting view that compels us to choose antithetical positions, one being the old-school traditional linearist and the new school subvervise deconstructivist.

ARYAN KAGANOF: You describe a process whereby the reader is invited to "infuse the work with his/her own metaphors." Does this mean that the writing is analagous to a join-the-dots-drawing? You provide clues towards an intellectual region or an emotional tone, and the reader labours to complete that tone in whatever pitch they choose? Can such a piece of writing ever be said to be finished? Are you against the notion of closure? Against ending things?

AUGUST HIGHLAND: Addressing the reader's need to connect the dots or to labour to input meaning into my literary work, I want to say that I don't perceive of my work in this light. I perceive it in the light of a different analogy, the analogy of a relationship or interaction. It takes two people to have a relationship. They bring to the relationship all of their self. They also concentrate all of their self on a subject or issue. My literary work is the subject or issue. The relationship is between me and the reader.

I don't believe that things end. Things are never finished. There are only changes in the state of a thing.

ARYAN KAGANOF: I am fascinated by your use of Jungian concepts in terms of the self/selves that are always archetypally at play within the writing. Please would you elaborate.

AUGUST HIGHLAND: Archetypal psychology arrived at the pinnacle of Jung's contribution to the understanding of the psyche. This was his most important contribution to the understanding of the self. Freud introduced us to complexes. Jung fathomed the psyche uncovering the archetypes. The complexes are personal. The archetypes universal. They are part of our genetic structure. They are engineered into our DNA. The individual self or ego is a construct through which the archetypes are expressed in ways unique to each individual because each individual has a unique set of complexes originating from his/her life experiences. No two people have the same life experiences and so the archetypes are never expressed the same through different people. What makes us different from each other is our complexes. What makes us alike are our archetypes. I was in Jungian analysis for ten years with an analyst who studied under the first generation of Jung's students. Jung's contribution to humanity has still not been fully recognized. His concepts are soul-healing and flowered in response to Hitler, Hiroshima, and the Cold War when evil was globally pervasive. He committed himself to the mission of healing the traumatized collective psyche while writers and artists during this time were producing work that reflected the psychological casualites of this period of history.
Beckett is an example of this and Ballard another. Barth another. These writers are engaged in desconstruction and the isolation and fragmentation of the individual. This is because evil in the world was so globally prevalent. Their work was seeded by destructive acts performed by ignorant and criminal leaders. Their literary works are the dark flowers that blossomed in decaying societies.

But now we are rebuilding. Now evil is localized. The superpowers are allies and working together to eradicate evil which is isolated in the form of terrorism. This has happened because our consciousness has evolved and we are becoming more and more aware of ourselves and accountable for our actions. This evolution of the psyche brings into focus the face of evil. Evil is one of the archetypes. Now that mankind as a whole is becoming more conscious, the face of evil is becoming more identifiable, something we can confront and engage with in an open dialogue.
All the personas in my work are representative of the pantheon of archetypes which form the bedrock of human consciousness. I don't believe at all that the novel or that the author or that God is dead. What is dead (numb) is the awareness of the thinkers who made these statements. The author is alive: his/her role is now one of administrating or managing the multiple voices of the archetypes. The novel is alive: it's role is now one of engaging the reader as an active participant in the literary work. God is alive: his/her role is now one of revealing himself/herself within each individual as that individual's consciousness evolves and he/she becomes steadily more mindful.

If there is something dizzying about my work that leaves the reader feeling shaky and worried it is because the reader is confronting the enormity of space. I have produced in one year over 100,000 volumes of literary work. The author is not dead: he/she is immersed in space. The novel is not dead: it is a portal opening onto space. God is not dead: he/she is space. Space accommodates all the archetypes, supplying them with an infinitely extensive stage on which to enact their roles. The internet furnishes me with the raw material which I fashion into literary work that is an ever-evolving epic in which the archetypes describe their patterns in the space-time continuum of human consciousness.

ARYAN KAGANOF: Your writing takes off where Deleuze & Guattari's mille plateaux left off. It slices between everything that we already know. It is itself -generically, formally, technologically. But what does it communicate? What do you communicate? Beyond the obvious jouissance of creation that swells from every paragraph (where one is still able to speak of para-graphos at all).

AUGUST HIGHLAND: It is very difficult for a writer to purely abandon the sensual or palpable jouissance of creation when working with words for which a writer by nature has a passion. But this is not my primary aim in the production of my work. It is desirable that the jouissance emotes a response in the reader for this is a form of beauty and communication in itself. But beyond this I have a greater purpose that informs my work. All of my work is monumental in scale. Monumentality in symphonic works and in floor-to-ceiling works of art on canvas is not the exclusive domain of music and painting. Literature has always been a mass production medium. Now I have made it a "massive" production medium by creating tens of thousands of one-of-a-kind literary works. By myself I can out-produce the entire publishing industry. And what I am producing is not cloned and disposable reading material but original, irreplaceable literary works. The value of literary monumentality and originality is one value I am communicating. The other element that I am communicating in my work beyond the expressiveness of language is "structure". Each of my collections are modeled on a structure/set of instructions/design/formula. The structure of the literary work is what is of primary importance to me. I am a literary architect designing literary structures for the mind to occupy and contemplate. The most interesting dynamic in my work is the convergence of monumentality and structure. This is the fulcrum powering my work because on the one hand I am producing 1,000-page literary works, while on the other hand the structure of the work is identifiable on the very first page or in the very first paragraph. So there is a macro- and a micro-communication co-existing in my work. This is not unlike looking up at a mountain and then kneeling down and picking up a pebble and seeing the mountain in the pebble. The mountain is comprised of an infinite variety of pebble configurations. This is the essence of my work. Each volume is a mountain made up of a infinite number of configurations that all can be reduced to one structure or model.

Meaning is not transmitted alone through connecting words together in narrative form. This is one structure that has dominated literature and handicapped it while the affiliated arts continue advancing and outpacing the world of letters which traditionally lags behind by several decades. This is not the case anymore. I replace the narrative model with new literary structures and forms which replenishes the world of letters and delivers it from constraining doctrines. At the same time I am not rebelling against tradition or abandoning tradition. I am not abandoning conventions and writing subversive material. I am creating new conventions and expanding tradition; I am giving tradition new directions in which to grow and thrive. There is nothing revolutionary or underground or experimental about my work. I am simply creating new literary models that are viable and communicative through new structural design.

I will give one example of a recent new genre I originated called "Next-Gen Nanopoetics". One project in which this literary form is represented is called "COW Gallery" or "California Online Writing Gallery (www.cowgallery.com). "Next-Gen Nanopoetics" is my first poetic project. What I have done is replaced rhyme and meter with truncated textstrings (abbreviated phrases). I have formulated a schematic design for this project that is based on three phrases that are repeated in the same sequence for each stanza. The sequence is a-a-b-b-b-c-c-a. This comprises the stanza. There are intentional deviations from this sequence thoughout each work but the stanzas always revert back to the primary set of instructions. Here is an excerpt from one of the six series that is called "Nominal Quiescent Current"

Nominal Quiescent Current #0001 (excerpt)
Cow Gallery
going on with.
going on with.
make a greater
make a greater
make a greater
pointing out before
pointing out before
going on with.
which, instead of
which, instead of
a Druid curve; an
a Druid curve; an
a Druid curve; an
Still the man
Still the man
which, instead of
as a result of
as a result of
liked
liked
liked
great book like
great book like
as a result of
and security as
and security as
how a particular
how a particular
and security as
heart. Stooping
heart. Stooping
tight pussy. I want
tight pussy. I want
tight pussy. I want
beforehand with him.
beforehand with him.
heart. Stooping
some means or other;
some means or other;
turned
turned
turned
virtuous
virtuous
some means or other;
Whether it was the
Whether it was the
there was truth in
there was truth in
there was truth in
I feel as if I
I feel as if I
Whether it was the
fit." fit." and returned,
and returned,
and returned,
he is recovered, but
he is recovered, but
fit."
(Footnote:
Or were
(Footnote:
Or were
(Footnote:
Or were
'Unless there is
'Unless there is
has she at
has she at
has she at
not have any
not have any
in the spiritual
in the spiritual
she edged nearer to
she edged nearer to
she edged nearer to
I do not apprehend
I do not apprehend
in the spiritual
might mean a
might mean a
is just; and such
is just; and such
is just; and such
mountainous tract

As you see the stanzas conform to the a-a-b-b-b-c-c-a scheme with some interruptions in the pattern. The persona for this project is Alexi Waterhouse. Alexi has produced six series with 1,000 volumes in each series.

Now that you see how structure is the most essential element in my work it will not be difficult to approach any of the other more dense and opaque projects like "Voice of the Village" or "The Hyper Age" which are prose projects. This material at first appears impenetrable and without laws (random). Nothing could be further from the truth. All of my work is based on clear laws and concise structure.

ARYAN KAGANOF: One question that also could be asked is, "Is your work meant to be read?"

AUGUST HIGHLAND: The simple answer is yes. There are a few exceptions to this. But the simple, unqualified answer is yes. How then is my work meant to be read if structure is the raison d'etre for my work and if that structure is identifiable on the very first page of one of my books? But since this question was not asked, I will save the answer for another interview.