Friday, June 14, 2013

The Word Machine

  
Despite some years devoted to imbibing various concoctions before bed so I could dream clever attributes about my characters and envision twisty plots, from hot toddy, whisky neat to Chamomile tea, the scenarios would not unfold across the landscape of my sub-conscious.  But I now have a shiny new goal to dream about.  This fall in San Antonio they’re opening the first bookless library as part of the state’s ongoing BiblioTech effort.
 
From the press release: “The $1.5 million facility in Bexar County will not house a single printed book, but will offer 100 e-readers on loan, and 10,000 digital titles accessible to readers via their home computers and digital devices, with more being added regularly.”
 
I dream then of flying to San Antonio, the plane partially flown on auto-pilot.  The instructions having been texted to me on my iPhone, I call and summon my robot car like the ones Google has been experimenting with these last few years.  The car arrives, a Cadillac CTS with a number by jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery bumping softly on the sound system.  The driverless car whisks me off without incident to the bookless library.
 
Inside are people, real people, not cutouts or beamed in via closed circuit – though maybe a few are in “attendance” like that.  We chat some.  The librarian, who is also trained in keeping the machines running, introduces me. 
I give my talk about my recent novel, an ebook exclusive, a decades spanning mystery of conspiracy and double dealing and masked vigilantes.  There’s laughter in the right parts and a lively Q & A post the presentation.  I see fingers moving across e-reader devices and I sing their e-reader cases.  Later, checking my account on my IPhone, I see that there’s been a respectable up tick in my ebook sales.
 
Sweet. 
 
I have a sip or two of whisky neat later in my hotel room, the doors of it zipping open and closed like they do in Star Trek’s Enterprise.  As I drift off to sleep, soon I’m dreaming of building an android to take my dictation of stories.  The robot will begin thinking like me as this process goes on.  At some point, I’ll just have to give her, as I’ll have designed my personal simulacrum, to look like a combination of Beyoncé and JLo, she’ll be able to write like me, with me supplying the outlines.
 
In the dream I sleep too.  When I wake, my mind has been transported into a Kindle.  N this way I project my stories like someone standing behind a large frosted glass and writing the words backwards with a marker...my thoughts the words that appear onscreen to the reader.
 
I have eliminated the middleman.  I am the machine of words.  

3 comments:

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I've always thought you were a Word Machine! I like your dream of the future.

Gary Phillips said...

Aw, thanks, Sue Ann.

Robin Spano said...

This post is like a dream. I love it.