“I don’t mean to push you, Elie, not at all… and it would be hard to do from this remote grave, even if I wanted to — but any thoughts on draft two of my book?” said the skeleton of my father from the lush green graveyard just north of Peekskill. “I’d hate to see all this work you’ve put in become another albatross around your neck. That albatross necklace must be getting pretty heavy by now.”
Heavy enough. It keeps my neck strong, anyway.
“To the cutting room floor with this bullshit. Just a question, Elie. 1,200 pages is a lot to go through. The other night you had the perfect ten second gem of a memory to include, but you didn’t write it down, and now….”
Over the years I’ve largely lost that once ingrained good habit of jotting everything down, particularly things that came to me out of the blue, things that seem perfectly obvious when you think of them, then are prone to disappearing completely.
“Well, those things happen as we crawl toward the grave, I suppose,” said the skeleton, motioning around him at the graves, his and everyone else’s.
I have a sort of plan, and Sekhnet endorsed it the other day. I need to buy several reams of paper. We got a new printer that supposedly gets amazingly economic ink mileage. I have to put the manuscript on an external hard drive, take it to the farm, print out the whole bloody thing. Then work with pages themselves. I’ve never seen the fucking thing on a page, only a screen, like the one I’m tapping on now. It’s impossible to flip pages here, only scroll. There is a metaphor there for our modern digital world, scroll only.
“Yes, these algorithmically aided young geniuses, with the world’s assembled information a click away, never flip through books, through indexes, through a card catalogue. They get exactly what they are looking for when they search, every time. Specific information, delivered refreshingly free of context. The human brain seems to be changing in accordance with this streamlined information/opinion delivery system. I think it’s a good idea to have actual pages to read, mark up, re-order. Get to it, man.”
I’ve got to find an external hard drive here formatted for the Mac, copy the current pages and selected pages. Something has been bugging me the last week or two and I need to get it written out, out of mind on to page, put those black symbols onto this nice white screen.
“Use your symbols, Elie, and don’t let my story meet the fate of Whippie the Slave Dog, and your brilliantly simple animation non-profit” said the skeleton, with the proper note of poignance. Whippie was an inspirational character and her story would have made a beautiful children’s book, in some alternative universe.