James Russell thought about [no edits]

writing that book, the one they told him to write, the one they said would sell better than any other novel he wrote before and better than any out there right now, but he had a hard time even thinking of the first word.  And shouldn’t  have had to, right?  If they knew what would sell, he thought, why couldn’t they write it?  Or have someone else write that mainstream muddleheaded bland character smut, and attach his name?  No, he thought, he didn’t want to be associated with that, at all.

“So this isn’t for you, this kind of story?” Ron asked.

“No, I just don’t even know how I’d start,” he said.

“Well just think about it, just think about it,” Ron added.  James left his office wondering what that meant, ‘think about it’, and what was there to think about?  He’d think about it, about writing something so putrid they’d drop his other book options.  And he didn’t want to write fiction anymore, really.  He wanted those essays out there.

The next morning he brainstormed and took rushed notes for some essays, then to that novel they wanted him to write, then just laid there in bed, enjoyed his coffee, read the times.  It was a new year and he wanted to be a new him, new in some way, new ins a shape that made it more exciting, life, he wanted more.  Yes, he published, but he didn’t.  THEY published his book and stuck their vulture gestapo editors on it.  And it was his topic, to start, about a teacher that tried to maintain his full-time post at a high school in a string of pink-slippings.  It was his story, his, his life, but they didn’t care, they turned it into a love story, one of the books you see in the checkout stand, or on some “best seller” rack, a piece of merchandise.  They reduced him.  They devalued him.

The first essay, about the workplace, how a job is inescapable– leviathan needed, right?  He thought, but then he didn’t know what to think.