The box came via the Post Office on a Thursday morning. The return address carried no name just a P. O. Box in Ventura California. It contained a sealed envelope and a dozen big ringed binders filled with neat handwriting. The envelope was addressed to me and marked "Personal and Confidential." It contained the following:
I suppose this is a surprise to you, but, for the life (or now death) of me, I couldn't find anyone else in the world to take it. You are the only person who ever paid me to write anything, my only editor or publisher. I suppose that you can throw it out, I know how hard it is to publish things. However, I had the idea that you might one day revive The Blue Review and, since for almost four years I was a contributor, I would hate not to be a part of that. The binders contain the miscellaneous writings of Dorian Taylor, the name by which you knew me. It is quite an improbable name and actually the name of the hero of the novel Top Forty, which you will find in the third binder. I am not going to give you my real name, because I have always rather despised it and, if by some miracle my writings find their way into the public eye, I would prefer they be under the pseudonym I created for that purpose.
In Yard Sale, the novella in the first binder, I wrote the following:
"All human endeavor resolves itself into group activity. The artist who paints alone in a garret cannot exist alone. In order to secure what he needs to paint, canvas, brushes and the like, he has to know a merchant who sells these things. Having painted, he must then sell his painting. In order to do this, he needs to know gallery owners. So it is with all things within society. It is never enough to be good, or even great. One must be both able and willing to join a group in order to enter society. Van Gogh, arguably the greatest painter of all time, at least the most expensive, was never able to do this. It was left, therefore, to a group of people to discover his paintings, and sell them, after the impediment of his physical presence was removed from the scene. Because Vincent did not cultivate the acquaintance of gallery owners, he painted beneath the glass floor. He could clearly see other painters of lesser talent and greater social skills, exhibit and sell paintings. He saw, but did not understand. Painting is incidental to success in painting. The social skills required to convince gallery owners to display and sell paintings are the prerequisite. The curious feature of this is that the best artists are often anti-social. This leaves any thoughtful person to imagine that the best of art goes out with the rest of the trash just before the estate sale. More than likely, this is the case."
Since I have always been a bit unconventional I decided to change this formula a bit and send my artistic production to the only person who ever seemed to like it. You are, of course, invested with all it's rights etc. The only favors I would ask is that you dedicate any book to Valerie, with the poem I have included as the first page in the first binder, and that you credit my writing to Dorian Taylor.
From 1997 to 2001, I edited a literary ezine called The Blue Review and Dorian Taylor had been one of my most popular contributors. I hadn't heard from him (or her) since I stopped publishing the ezine and I honestly know nothing about him (or her). The box was a total surprise, and a wonderful one. Whoever Dorian Taylor is, or possibly was as the letter seemed to indicate that he (or she) is no longer with us, he (or she) was a very inventive, interesting and enjoyable writer.