Concerned by our lack of book sales, and vaguely worried about our place in the world, my trusted editor and I sat down for a serious conversation.
“Amble,” says I, leaning back in my chaise to accept a little more of this unseasonably courageous March sun, “we need a pop hit.”
Amble, in button-up Western shirt, faded blues, and desert-dusted cowboy boots paced to the smooth river-lime parapet, looked out over at the yawning end of the Hudson, and then spun quick and deft around to lean back on the wall that kept him from falling three hundred feet to his splattered, asphalt-crumbling end: “What for?”
But you see, we do need one! Because without it, the copyright holder within which our activities are circumscribed will never have the requisite time and energy to develop our endeavors in a meaningful way.
As to the fate of the nation and world, we currently have much to cluck but little to proclaim. We’d like to help, especially if we could still goof off quite a bit in the city sunlight while the seagulls hover over the Staten Island Ferry, which always churns the bluegray sea like a plow does turf, pulling otherwise hidden delicacies up to surface.
What’s a man, fictional or real, to do? Everything inside says, “seize this life! enjoy it! be happy!” But then no, because that’s not quite everything, something else says, “be kind, help, don’t worry so much about yourself!” Apparently wisdom learns that these two voices point towards the same Way, but oh for the spray of summer sun on your healthy skin! Someone to talk to and put your arm around. A place to come home to. The time to think.
Anyway, “Pride & Prejudice” is far and away the most downloaded book on Project Gutenberg. It must be doing something right. So we’ll right it again, insofar as we can. Perhaps, if we’re respectful, kind, and gentle with this established gist of plot/character/world, but also allow for the fact that that book already exists, and so we’ll have to wander off into other textures without losing sight of the essential elements, we can create a new book that is popular and good for writer and reader, and from the writing of which we’ll learn about life, art, self, other, and the Light between and through it all.
We’ll need a guest author. A fictional person who can move in all the requisite worlds.
“Jane Calamity, are you ready for this?”
“I am. Who should sign the preface? You’ve written it, but I’m the author.”
“I don’t know. Let’s all three go for a swim. I’ll turn us into orcas and splash us into the cool woolly waters off Patagonia.”
Somewhere Sometime Wall Street
Skullvalley after Whistletown Building
Isle of Manhattos