The Literary Factory
In her memoir of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Master of Dreams, Dvorah Telushkin writes that Singer once said to her, "I tell you, Deborah, you are in the fehctory of literature. You are learning more from me than you can learn in any university." Leaving aside the shear presumption of the remark, and overlooking Telushkin's distracting insistence on rendering Singer's words in dialect, the idea of the literature factory is really intriguing.
And what's your literature factory look like? Is it unionized? Does the workforce act like Gramsci seizing the factories, does the workforce seethe and grumble? Are the peons restless?Do you have a good and understanding administrator or do you have a relentless and unappeasable strawboss? Do you have labor peace, do you foment labor strife?
Is your factory in a highrise or is it in a hovel? And what's it smell like? That question brings me to a windowless office I visited frequently many years ago in which my mentor smoked cigars and every scrap of paper I took home reeked. It also brings me to the forms of mold that grow in and around unwashed cups and how some people seem to have vibrant, healthy plants and no penicillin.
My current factory has wheels. As I drive from point to point to point, my favorite music playing in the background, my mind runs around the moving factory, desperate like a hunted rodent. When I arrive at a destination or a computer, I rush to download from the day's travels and edit, edit, edit. Usually, the boss is too occupied driving to get involved in any literature work. His sole admonishments are to pay attention. I respond, "I am, I am," and continue scrambling over the dashboard and ceiling.
Sometimes my factory moves to the city sidewalk, as I walk and talk aloud to myself. It's embarrassing that in some cities and particulaly New York other pedestrians ignore my talking and give me a wide birth. As if I were a madman. Have they no respect for the integrity of actual labor?
Sometimes my factory is this beach and this very chair
I am incredibly lucky to work such a cushy factory, and I am filled with gratitude for it.
What, I ask, is your literature factory like? You can even post it in comments.