It’s amazing the way people will read a book and though it affects them intimately, personally, and they carry away from it images and phrases, bywords and material to think about, affecting their behavior and their plans, even their funhouse dreams, they continue to think of the author of that book as someone who wrote not to them, but to fulfill his own ambition. They assume the author in fact must be self-satisfied, not doubtful about what he has done, and is deriving personal and public rewards in quite hefty doses–probably the admiration and praise of a coterie of his associates, and basking in what must be a growing popularity. It never occurs to the reader, who has taken so much away from the book, that the author wrote it for them, specifically, and certainly not that they, the unknown reader, are in personal debt to that author–and might direct, at least in their thinking, a thank you for his labor and sacrifice. It never occurs to the reader that the author is the one in the lonely, deficit position–that quite contrary to this readers assumption, the author is not fulfiling a personal ambition, but has only awkwardly performed, and stumbled forward with his book, because he felt a moral calling, to supply others, unknown others, with his own creations, simply because of the nature of the content of them–those creations. What am I saying? That the author is harassed by unique truths that will not let him alone, until he writes them down, finds the time, puts them in a palatable form, and nudges them out of doors, even. This thought does not flicker in the mind of the consumer. Ah, the reader is a glutton alright. And a task master, alright. A slave driver, a bully and tyrant, and the reader expects there to be books for him to . . . eat. And the writer, who is he? Well, the reader could care less, the writer is better off unknown, not living on this street, dead–if the truth be told. It is amazing and unbelievable the things the readers of books say about their authors, and what lengths they will go to make sure the profile of their authors does not resemble, well, normal people like themselves; and, further, someone must make sure that these authors do not have palpable, but have strange, legendary, impossible biographies. Even though these readers have taken all instruction, all scenery and landscape, all dialogue! , from these very books they have lapped up and stored for reference in their brains–but no, the author is some different kind of creature who is propelled by personal ambition, who probably is reckless, selfish, ignores his own security and safety in life even, so wrapped up in his own pursuit of his private worth, his proof to himself–yes, the author is a monster of ambition, with appetites for self-fulfilment way beyond the normal person who can only look on and marvel and be entertained, if not enlightened. The products, I mean the books, are packaged and sold and handed around among the normal average everyday people who have fed off these products just as much as they feel they need or have time to, thank you. And I am quite satisfied with my position, in this society, thank you too. It is just an expression of amazement, and that in itself becomes another spinning bauble, multifaceted. I am just reacting to a scene in the bar last night that is still tearing at me; I originally sat down to write something else, of course–something about how the mind of a child is a plurality of voices, some ancestral . . .
But, around eleven o’clock last night up at The Krown (as the regulars call it) I found myself soliciting and bragging about my writing, telling this fetching young woman: “I really have something for you,” which did not sound absurd at the time, because it was a sacrifice I was making, really. This girl was about to burst into tears, and I was providing what you might call a . . . palliative. I was some kind of answer– she seemed to have precisely a kind of literary deficiency. Sound far-fetched? It is what I go through all the time. Thinking that I have something for someone to read, and it is an act of kindness. I was not a pushy fellow, but really I just know I have this talent, a kind of sympathetic suffering ability to get to your unresolved thoughts, like a friend knows your whims. Because I am intimately acquainted with your emotions, I wanted to say. Then just in time my voice came back, I got the cadence, like suddenly I heard the music playing behind the bar, and from the walls, and I was able to drawl something like, “well, you know”. The high pressure moment got tamed, and subsided–but I still wanted to say: it is not for me I want to you read this, it is for you. I wrote it for you. How can I make that clear, when it is me saying it! Her eyes darted up. “Tell me, do you ever break out of this talking about what you are talking about mode? Sir!” she said with those eyes. Hardly ever, it sometimes seems. “In my legendary youth I wrote detective novels,” I informed her. I am not exaggerating, it seems like every young woman I talk to in this place is about to burst into tears–but this one especially, and now she was smiling. It seemed to me like I had hardly said anything, but standing next to people often works, for consolidation of the mood, to put it in a fairly hifalutin manner. It’s important work supplying the human race with instructions, by innuendo, on how to behave. Life is so . . . surreptitious, isn’t it? Practically speaking, it is impossible, this job–I mean the logistics of this job are just impossible. You never know when people are going to require patching up and immediate loving and quick consolation–but then I think, proudly, I have this indirect method like supplying sentences which have just the right cadence, that can lift her up, while the words themselves are almost always vanquished. Only to return, hooked up in the language. Of course the very same people can’t get to it–obviously. You are like at least a generation behind already! The standing still world is in perpetual free-fall. What is beautiful is always in ruins.