Sunday, December 09, 2007


It's a good turn out today. The Christmas rush kicking in. People scrambling to find their loved ones that special gift. She ought to be flattered. But she can't shake the feeling that it's not her work they value but the fact of her, here in the flesh, the possibility she represents of taking back a book signed by its author. Any author would do.

Here they come, the supplicant, the names of their loved ones on their lips. Ordinary names - John, Harry, Sue - made special through an alchemy of prerogative, the authority of the author. As though all her work had been just for them.

Is this how God feels? she wonders. Then thinks, no, it is not like that. It is not she who is making these names special. She is an obedient scribe, a clerk legitimizing what already exists. It is the people standing in line, those who have waited for hours just to see the beloved name scribbled on the page, who have done this knowing the delight it will bring John or Harry or Sue to possess her trivial autograph, who are the moment's true heroes. As she sits there, mechanically signing her name to what was once her book but is now part of someone else's story, she wonders how it feels to be so loved, so cherished.

Wonders also if she could use this in her next book.


Space Bar said...

Wonders also if she could use this in her next book.


This, taken to extreme, is Camera Buff.

scout said...

i was wondering the other day, how much of an author's book remains their's once it's on a bookshelf in someone else's room.

i can understand them "owning" it when they're actually writing it. it's their child, their story, their labor that no one else can ever steal. but once they let it out into the world, it's impossible to know how much of it still belongs to them, and how much of it builds from there and becomes something bigger for someone else.

and of course, what sue or john or harry love this book for might be what the author wrote it for - the subconscious attempts at making sense of their own world - but who's to know?