A new edition of The Journal of Doctor Shamass is available here*. First published in June 1997, I released another edition of it in November 2008. The new, third edition*, is simply a slightly altered version of the 2008 edition. The scan of the cover of the 1997 edition above is of a battered zine, loaned from a friend. I will endeavour to put up a complete scan of the original version sometime soon.
I wrote The Journal of Doctor Shamass in the winter of 1996, over about a month and a half in a house in the suburb of Downer, Canberra. At the time my partner was heavily pregnant. I would sit up after she went to sleep; tapping away on what was even then an old Mac Plus with an external 20 mg hard drive rescued from a garbage dumpster in between rolled ciggies on the porch and solo games of Risk and Axis and Allies on the computer. One of the keys of the Mac was dead, I can’t remember which, probably not an essential one considering that I finished the zine, though I do vaguely remember having to cut and paste a letter or a word fairly often. I typed up the Journal at night usually between 10pm and 2am. As my partner slept I often obsessively wondered what becoming a father would mean; maybe no more nights like these, at least not for a while. I loved the cold Canberra nights, the frigid clear dark with stars and the smoke and the warmth of my breath forced out; I still love the nights and the stars above this town of state institutions.
Of the many influences on its composition I will here draw attention to the that of The Colour of Liberty, a veritable biography of Franklin Octavian Porque discovered by myself and Peter Smale one night south of Grafton in April 1996.
Sometime in the early winter of 1997 I printed up 100 copies of The Journal of Doctor Shamass on a departmental photocopier at a university campus in Canberra. With the help of a friend we ‘liberated’ the copier for other, better uses at night with fewer people around to bother or stop us. I handed them out for free over the next year or so in Canberra, and a few in Sydney and Melbourne. I intended to print up more and even write further adventures of the good Doctor, but these plans were put on hold for some time.
In the late Spring of 2008 I set myself the task of returning to Doctor Shamass. For various reasons* I was now ready to take up where I had left off 12 years before. In that time I had scratched away at some ideas for Shamass but not to any great effect—though I have since worked some of these fragments up and will hopefully release them in the next issue of The Mouth::The Anomalous. In November 2008 I republished The Journal of Doctor Shamass in a new re-set format as a preliminary for the appearance of new tales.
In December 2008 I released my first Shamass ‘Christmas Tale’. Since then I have continued to release a new Shamass tale inscribed on a card every December. So far five new tales have been released. Over the next few weeks I hope to put up these five tales on the blog.
Shamass is a kind of therapy; or more exactly a way of filling in the time. I may even keep releasing them until I no longer can.
NB. From now on all genuine, non-invasive advertising links on this site will be followed by an asterisk like this: *