Jay Miller can be reduced only to the Joycean: sootynemm, a Finnegans Wake-ification of pseudonym, and cognate of what francophones refer to an online alias by, un pseudo. In short, an autological word. Voco, ergo exsisto.
Jay Miller is the machine: the tapper, the backspacer, the returner.
With each new industry Miller engages in, the docs he tackles impact him, leading him to the creation of something new, infinitesimally more nuanced, that engages back with the world at large.
And with every new project, a profounder understanding of the rabbit hole scope of writing discourse: software, cybersecurity, health insurance, pharmacy operations, pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing, industrial engineering, aerospace. All these hundreds and thousands of words, manuals and user guides, translations and ads, in a worldwide pulp mill churning out thousands of new works of fiction every year, makes for a lot to reckon with: who would we be without words, a word by any other name?
Writing on contemporary Canadian literature since 2011, Jay Miller tempers his production, cocking a furrowed brow at the sort of lightning-in-a-bottle theory of writing, while fully leaning into the whims of curiosity, heading wherever it leads.
Miller's pride clearly thrives on the variety of his literary input, more so than his output, having edited, curated, funded, promoted, participated and shared in the pursuits of so many more people undoubtedly than have read his work. On-the-grid but low-key, like Réjean Ducharme sans the novels.
Miller's debut chapbook, Virtual Lands: MS-DOS Series, celebrates his characteristic joy for montage and mise en scène, like the poetic equivalent of an I Spy picture book.
Each poem exists as a distinct overture, each game discussed evoking a variety of contexts from seemingly dissimilar recesses of the internet and personal memory into a cohesive whole: scraps of community wiki pages from decades-old fanbases, snippets of podcasts, audio transcription from a neglected YouTube video in French from the floor of a gaming convention, and emails with the clandestine developers present at the dawn of PC gaming.
Indulging the author's nostalgia of MS-DOS games and the Windows 3.1, 95, and 98 operating system user experience simultaneously, encapsulating temporal, technological and emotional dimensions, reveals pithy reflections and quiet contemplations throughout.
You are not just reading this About page. You are not just a user, not just a visitor, of this website.
Visitor, what a circumlocution!
Jay Miller is not just a nom de plume.
From an ontological perspective, Jay Miller is a walking epistomological sorites paradox.
You are engaging with the assertion and validation of knowledge, experience, places, things, industries, work, words, docs, fleeting moments, vignettes, gestures, flourishes and facts, forming new relations to the words on your screen and recreating the instance in which they were composed, to bridge the divide between you and the I beyond the third-person subject pronoun of this text, you and him, Jay Miller and sootynemm.