Freedom is Slavery

Sometimes I get scared. Not by the quotidian world or the weltgeist it offers us of the tantalizing twins dystopia or utopia.

I just get scared about what it might mean to be a writer in the not-too-distant future.

I overheard something today that made me dump the rubbish I had intended to toss into a dumpster right back into my car. And what I heard was this — it was literally coming out of the dumpster: “You’re on the way out, buddy, before you’ve even begun. The writer is on the edge of the page. He’s nothing but a doodle in the long life of the written word. Listen up, buddy, if you want to survive as a writer, once you’ve got your fist book deal, you need to ask your readers what they want next. Let them tell you the stories to write; let them dictate what characters they want to read more about, what storylines, what plots, what settings. And all you have to do is write them. It’s all about the wisdom of the aggregate, buddy. The individual creator is dead. The artist has been measured for his casket and the nails are long and sharp. Individual voice? It’s a joke, buddy. What’s a writer’s voice got to offer in the Age of Google? Isn’t it an intolerable burden to keep making your own choices as a writer? Give in. Let others decide. Conformity is the bread of democracy and how it’s spread is the butter.”

I looked frantically about for a physical body to these mutterings. Inside the dumpsters were only black trash bags, all vaguely capable, based on their shapes, of holding a human body.

I couldn’t bring myself to rip them open. I couldn’t bring myself to face the physical shape that could utter such existential pain and prophetic shivers.

I simply sat behind the wheel of my car and eyed my own plastic bag of rubbish, longing to crawl in there with the refuse and find some solace in scrap, leftovers, and the discarded material of my life.

“We are made to be immortal, and yet we die. It’s horrible, it can’t be taken seriously.” Eugene Ionesco



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