Knowledge shouldn't have to pass from one brain to another in such an inefficient manner. It should be -- and will be quite soon, if our engineers and future prognosticators are to be believed -- that the brilliance of one mind should not be locked in this bone vault. That, once an idea is conceived, it should live free in the minds of any who should decide to allow it entry.
These words. I'm so tired of laboring over their meanings, their shapeliness, their physicality. Tired of thinking about the medium and the message. Tired of trying to translate thought into speech into text -- only in hopes that someone wants to stare at a screen or page to endure the same process in reverse.
They called today and told me that my book is not to be published. Three of them. Mort, the editor who had requested the manuscript and spoke enthusiastically over salads not more than two years ago. And Angela the Marketing Director, who told me that she already had the perfect cover in mind. Also, for reasons that became apparent as the call proceeded from abject disappointment toward something like a pitiful effort to cheer me back up, the Manager of New Initiatives. He introduced himself as Gregory.
They talked about releasing my terrorism book in a kind of online serial, paired with original art by a Brooklyn-based illustrator, who would make the concepts more palatable for the general reader.
"This is a work of real scholarship on the effects of terrorism on the national psyche," I said. I don't know why I said it. My indignation had no place on this particular call. It should have been shouted into a pillow, I suppose.
"We get that. Really we do. But we also think that your work has -- how did you put it Angela?"
"I think I said that there was a liveness to it," Angela said, over-loud, into the speaker. I wanted to strangle both of them.
"And this is Gregory," said Gregory, "we all agree that this liveness will play exceptionally well with the online readership that we're already building."
I sighed quietly enough that I believed that they wouldn't hear it. And stared out at the oak trees. I had opened my window despite the heat and humidity. The air conditioning in the office had nearly frozen me down to my bones, and the summer air was a pleasant balm against the dry and frigid climate of the Administration building.
"I will accept your decision," I said. "If you'll allow, I'd like to give it some time to think about the online publication."
"Yes, yes, of course," Mort said. "Take your time, and thank you for considering it. We really do think that it is the best thing for the work."
"Right," I said.
The breeze hurled up. A storm would come that afternoon. One that would keep the humidity down in the evening. I could already see the night sprawled out in front of me. The crickets on my back porch. One cigarette. Slipping easily into dreamless sleep. I wanted it now.