Friday, October 06, 2006

"Where this hits is where the mark should be"

For the writers out there: Here's a selection that made me laugh from a book I picked up in Austin, ARRIVE AT EASTERWINE by the late R.A. Lafferty. It's subtitled The Autobiography of a Ktistec Machine , and in this passage the super-computer narrator has decided to share his wisdom with the world:

I make up half a dozen short selections of my high thought, put them in fiction form, and send them off to human editors: of science-fiction magazines, of Bunny-Boy, the magazine of the Hippety-Hippeties; to other editors. These are all good selections…

What puzzles me, what curdles me, what loads my generators is that I get these things back quickly, and with little notes that make no sense whatsoever. “Not quite what we have in mind”; “misses the mark”; “due to our present over-stock” -- things like that. In my anger I write them all back furiously. “Not quite what you had in mind? Who asked you? It is what I had in mind or I wouldn’t have written it. Misses the mark? Move the mark then. Where this hits is where the mark should be. Listen, you, I have your person-precis before me. I see that you have talent only and no genius at all. Whose fault is it that you are overstocked? Am I responsible for your inventory control? I do not ask you to publish these things. I tell you to.”

Aloysius and Gregory laughed at me. Glasser said that he understood just how I felt. Well, I will adjust then, after my anger is spent. It should, of course, be the publishing world that makes adjustments to me, but I am large-hearted. Not so large-hearted, though, as I was before receiving these affronts.

©1971 R.A. Lafferty


Gabh said...

As you already know that you've produced a work of genius, you don't require this confirmed by publication... it's enough that it exists. Congratulations!

Jamie said...

Hark! Is that the resentful muttering of an ex-editor who regrets the squandering of his power I hear echoing in the shadowy deeps of the slave-mine of Imagination?

It may be dirty, digging down here with the proletariat, but ain't it fun?

Jamie said...

Oops. Stoned again,and misunderstood... again.

Thought Stuart was reflecting a personal feeling.

But what do I know? I'd sooner play poker than write most days.

Going to bed (a winner)now.