There has been no historical moment of unqualified success for writers in New York City, but neither has there been any historical moment of writing's decided defeat. As with rock and roll's recurring themes of struggle and redemption (“long live rock and roll,” “rock and roll will never die,” etc.), writers see themselves as part of a meaningful alternative community and an enduring cultural tradition. This chapter attempts to present a multifaceted picture of that community as it existed from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s through four (partial) reflections. The first takes up the story of writing culture and of writing's internal development as reflected in the semiautonomous evolution of productive relations between writers.
The second section considers writing's relationship to its (imagined) city audience: what are writers trying to communicate to other New Yorkers? The next section reflects on writing's “second coming” as art-on-canvas, as writers attempted to bring their own unique cultural traditions into some