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XARK!

The fourth version of the Xark banner, circa 2008-09.

The fourth version of the Xark banner, circa 2008-09.

So what’s with the whole “Xarker” thing?

Back in 2005, when I was happily moving from one story to another, I noticed there was a pattern to my life. I would delve intensely into one topic at a time, usually for one or two weeks, and then move on to the next one. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The realization? Even though two stories might appear outwardly unrelated, whatever I learned about one topic (discovery informatics) had a way of influencing the way I approached the next subject (atom smashing), the combination of which led to me noticing surprising connections on the next story (bacterial quorum- sensing). And so on.

And one morning I woke up and told Janet that I had dreamed about this strange way of living, that the word for it was “zarking,” (as in, “He zarked from one subject to the next”), and that the underlying principle was this: There are no unrelated subjects.

Without missing a beat, Janet replied that the word would be a lot cooler if I spelled it with an X instead of a Z.

I launched Xark (alternately XARK, Xark! and XARK!, depending largely on my mood) as a group blog in June 2005 and begin to define myself as a “xarker.” That became an e-mail address, and later a Twitter handle, and now it’s practically my middle name.

There are other authors who write for Xark occasionally, though most have fallen away recently. This could change at any time, of course, but for better or for worse, Xark the blog and Xark the lifestyle are probably interwoven into my DNA at this point.

In addition to thousands of posts, Xark is the home of The Xarker Manifesto, The Xark Fiction Project, and multiple galleries, including the original XARKAGANDA and XARKTOONS collections.

Xark authors John Sloop and Dan Conover at the Winter 2007 Xark Blog Summit, Charleston, SC.

Xark authors (and former college roommates) John Sloop and Dan Conover at the Winter 2007 Xark Blog Summit, Charleston, SC.