(fra César Airas kostelige (og inspirerende) fortælling “Athena Magazine” om at starte et nyt litterær magasin (på 36 sider) med et flerdobbelt nummer – vi er to tredjedele inde ca.:)
We continued on this route, spurring ourselves on. Why should we be limited by the number ten? There was, perhaps, a practical, concrete reason. It determined a minimun number of pages if we econimized drastically: three. A magazine of fewer than three pages (which is how many it would have if, at some point, compelling economic considerations forced us to bring out a single issue) would not be a magazine. A practical, concrete limit wasn’t going to hold us back, but we complied with its provisionality, and put it to the test. We found two holes int the reasoning that I have set out schematically here. First, there could be a magazine of fewer than three pages. It could consist of a single page. And, more important, a tenth of our decuple issue wouldn’t be three pages, but 3.6, since the inaugural issue of Athena would conform to the printers’ standard format that we had adopted as our norm: thirty-six pages.
So, predictably, we began to consider a first issue that would be thirty-six-fold, so to speak. An issue made up of numbers 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30-31-32-33-34-35-36. That would allow for an almost total flexibility. Why hadn’t we thought of it before? Why had we wasted our time with “triples” and quadruples” and “decuples” when there was such an obvious solution right under our noses? The printer’s “sheet” should have shown us the right form the start, from the moment we discovered its existence, the famous “sheet” that was unfolding now before our eyes, like a rose in time.
The problem was how to fit those numbers on the cover. Would there be enough room for them all, and the dashes, between the title and the date? Wouldn’t it be a bit ridiculous? There was the option of replacing them with an austere “nos 1-36,” but for some reason we found that unsastifactory. Defiantly, we decided to go the opposite way: filling the cover with numbers, big ones, in nine rows of four. Without any explanation, of course: we’d never dreamed of explaining our contingency plan to the readers.
That confronted us with a serious problem: whether or not we provided explanations, people would look for them anyway – that’s just how the human mind is made. And a thirty-six-fold issue would suggest an obvious explanation, which everyone would find convincing: that the numbers on the cover had something to do with the number of pages. As they did, in fact, but not in what would seem to be the obvious way. This connection completely spoiled the fun of the idea, which we abandoned immediately. At that point I think we felt that we’d never really been satisfied with thirty-six.
Freeing ourselves of that bad idea freed us completely. We leaped to really big numbers, first a thousand, then ten thousand, which had a special prestige because of its Chinese associations. China, with the Cultural Revolution in full swing, was much in vogue at the time.
(…) og så fortsætter fortællingen og nummereringen halvanden side endnu … ! Slutningen kan (og bør!) læses i korttekst-udvalget The Musical Brain.