by James Grady
Outside where your world now shelters race the streets of our gone yesterdays that made sense. ‚Wasn’t that you knew what was going on, was that you could feel the walls around you, the floor beneath your feet.
Those yesterdays left on a midnight virus train from the minds of Albert Camus, Stephen King, Edgar Alan Poe, Kurt Vonnegut and zombie movies.
Movies, what will we do now to fall in love with the magic that only comes from seeing movies together, strangers sharing a cinematic train.
This is not the show we thought we bought tickets for, but this is the show we paid for. Snow white Antarctica melts into the ocean. The canals of Venice are clean. The streets of San Francisco are empty. TV is no longer a wasteland but they say the neon lights are broken on Broadway. No eyes visit Picasso or Edward Hopper or Gerhard Richter. There’s opera sung from Italian balconies, there are ballets in the bare shelves of supermarkets and les cafés de Paris blow empty.
It’s like all the songs are right and all the songs are wrong, and what will Adele and Bruce, Roseanne Cash and Richard Thompson, what will Billie Eilish and Young Thug rap and rhapsodize about this tough tomorrow come today, and when next will you get to stand in a stadium to shout along with them to thus be in their song that sings your life? Tomorrow will only row after row of empty seats be rocked by Ludwig Van’s number 9 dream? Will lonely streets be the only places hip to the future Coltrane’s kind of blue horn? Call Bob Dylan and Billie Holiday prophets as everywhere drive black limousines for the dead.
What, too, of the poets? Tomorrow where will they be read?
OK, yeah, where the hell are they read now as the scribes of facts scramble to swim in the deluge of data.
What about guys like me, prose-slingers packing bullets of fiction still blasting away hoping to hit readers or hell, at least a publisher? Most of us don’t gun for the money. We’ve got voices screaming in our skulls and the respect for how lucky we are to hear them clicking our fingers across keyboards. How will we dodge the rockets of our brave new world to do what we love, what we must?
As I sit here in my loft office looking out at the trees budding outside my window, notremembering loves I let down, the should haves, the could halves, the whoops’s and the wow’s, smelling my own coming end, warming & worrying for my family, my friends too many to name, I throb facts while pondering what fictions can we create beyond the Blade Runners and Mad Max’s we already know and many millions of us haven’t heeded since 1984.
But maybe, just maybe, maybe Baby what we need to do is awaken a new voice of authorship that resonates these broken history realities for all of us, then all the other currents of how will swirl as they should in our river of fictions.
Plus, like always, what we fiction prose-slingers have got to do is find the truth amidst the facts and then lie like Hell to get our readers there.
Where the Hell „there“ could be is looking grim for all of us, for me, for you.
What I fear I see is your clicking factory job in a screen on a rickety table in an apartment you can’t afford. Not Much simmers on the stove. Or maybe you’re a mule for delivery orders filled in a warehouse by exhausted worker bees. Gigs to get, gigs to gone. You’re Part Of The Process. Important enough. There are meetings elsewhere. Closed doors. Password Authorized Only. Offices for only the lonely up top or the lost down below. It’s a one-way town where there are those few who keep getting more power and more money and those oh so many who are kept right where they are or worn down to worse. There are upgrades that don’t. There are the guns and the got-to’s, who gets away with what, and nobody lets you see into their eyes. Your screens click you. And the cavalry to keep you safe is commanded by another orange haired ME! clown.
We authors don’t really want to see such rough beasts of things to come.
You don’t want to see them either, fact or fiction.
So what the hell are we going to do?
That’s both the question and the answer.
Rilke knew that fear of the inexplicable requires us to choose, to be Camus‘ rebel saying YES! to the best we can do, to choose to do what should be done, to drive the clown out of town and to run this place for the flesh & bones & bravos of all of us who are just trying to push our rock up the hill.
That doing is being what authors like me call heroes. Steve McQueen alone in the street. Marylyn Monroe anywhere. That’s who we all gotta do-be do-be do from now on, because tonight is Jungleland.
James Grady’s first novel Six Days Of The Condor became the iconic Robert Redford movie „Three Days Of the Condor“ and inspired the Soviet Union’s KGB espionage octopus to create a secret 2,000 man spy agency to mimic what Condor did, complete with a phony cover name on a brass plaque at the front door of the spy group’s Moscow headquarters. Grady’s gone on to write more than dozen crime, espionage and thriller novels, three times that many short stories, and work as a muckraking investigative reporter in Washington, D.C. after Watergate.
James Grady in Deutschland: Die letzten Tage des Condor.Bei CrimeMag hier: Interview mit Sonja Hartl: „Eigentlich war Condor niemals weg“
Anne Kuhlmeyer: Ver-rückt? Eine Frage der Perspektive.
Alf Mayer: Notizen vom täglichen Wahnsinn.