SURGE first saw the light of day over two years ago, when David Tuchman recounted an attempt to salvage the disintegrating work of his college professor in “No Matter What Remains.” David updates us on the status of his project:
More than two years ago, I used SURGE to announce my intention of fully cataloging and recreating the theoretical writings of Dr. Moster, my vanished college professor. I thought if I said my words loudly enough and to a large enough number of people, it would put enough pressure on me that I could restore the corpus of Dr. Moster’s lost work, making it once again a part of our reality. In the past two years, I’ve failed miserably.
I may even have regressed. When I recorded my SURGE piece, I thought I could complete my transcription of Dr. Moster’s handwritten investigations into what he called the “leakage” of persons and events occurring in alternate universes into our own in the form of fictional characters within a few months. It took me over a year to complete this work. Towards his disappearance, Dr. Moster’s handwriting began to fade, becoming as faint as warm breath on a cold windowpane. My vision suffered a great deal of strain in those months as I tried to discern what letters the scratches on his pages formed.
The move to digital, I discovered the existential integrity of Dr. Moster’s notes was far more compromised than I’d assumed. Somehow, the earliest files I’d created were degrading. When I opened them to start drawing on Dr. Moster’s work, I found letters, words, and even whole sentences missing. Even more frightening, I saw letters disappear before my eyes as I scrolled through the documents.
In an attempt to preserve as much as I could, I went back to analog. I printed out stacks of pages and, just to be safe, scanned them and stored the files on multiple physical and cloud-based backups. Combined with my work on the OMGWTFBIBLE project, retranslating the Hebrew Bible as a comedy, this has kept me busy for the past year.
I hope the relaunch of SURGE brings Dr. Moster’s story to a wider audience and compels me to finally bring this project forward. I’m especially anxious to delve into my professor’s attempt to bring a fictional character into this reality. I’ve been able to piece together notes about an investigation into a long-argued historical debate about a mysterious man who showed up in a small California community in the 1950’s for whom there is no official record and who subsequently vanished in the night without a trace, the apparent disappearances of young British boys dating from the 17th to early 20th centuries, periodical articles that must be wholly reconstructed, and too many other stories to count. Working on this project is like trying to pick up Jell-O by hand. I hope it doesn’t continue to avoid my grasp.