Enough time has passed; the terror has settled. There’s nothing left to loot, few reasons to kill (though everyone still carries a weapon and a speck of suspicion). People have settled into townships around defunct gas stations and hotels. Those who have ceased wandering now harvest in their gardens and raise children and swoon for Shakespeare — so like and unlike our own world. After many years of performing, the Symphony has culled their repertoire down to only the Bard. As one actor reasons, “People want what was best about the world,” a sentiment that could make even the hardest hearts yearn to read a sonnet, to smell a book, to perform any gesture to illustrate gratitude for what we have.
Now that I’ve escorted two e-partners to the edge of the grave, I’m wary of this brave new world of digital publishers and readers. As recently as the 1980s and ’90s, writers like me could reasonably aspire to a career and a living wage. I was dispatched to costly and difficult places like Iraq, to work for months on a single story. Later, as a full-time book author, I received advances large enough to fund years of research.
How many young writers can realistically dream of that now?
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