While living and working in Edinburgh in 2008 I set out to write one million words in 366 days... but only managed 800,737.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Compare and Contrast

103 A Medical Opinion on the Effects of a Writer’s Strike

...‘I’m thinking of calling a general strike of all writers until mankind finally comes to its senses. Would you support it?’

‘Do writers have a right to strike? That would be like police or firemen walking out.’

‘Or the college professors.’

‘Or the college professors,’ I agreed. I shook my head. ‘No, I don’t think my conscience would let me support a strike like that. When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.’

‘I just can’t help thinking what a real shaking up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems…’

‘And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?’ I demanded.

‘They’d die more like made dogs, I think – snarling and snapping at each other and biting their own tails.’

I turned to Castle the elder. ‘Sir, how does a man die when he’s deprived of the consolation of literature?’

‘In one of two ways,’ he said, ‘putrescence of the hear or atrophy of the nervous system.’

‘Neither one very pleasant, I expect,” I suggested.

‘No,’ said Castle the elder. ‘For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!’

Cat’s Cradle (1963), Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Novelists Strike Fails To Affect Nation Whatsoever

LOS ANGELES—The Novelists Guild of America strike, now entering its fourth month, has had no impact on the nation at all, sources reported Tuesday.

The strike, which scholars say could be the longest since 1951, when American novelists may or may not have voluntarily committed to a six-month work stoppage, has brought an immediate halt to all new novels, novellas, and novelettes from coast to coast, affecting no one.

Bookstores across the country saw no measurable change in anything.

Nor has America's economy seen any adverse effects whatsoever, as consumers easily adjust to the sudden cessation of any bold new sprawling works of fiction or taut psychological character studies.

"There's a novelists strike?" Ames, IA consumer Carl Hailes said. "That's terrible. When is it scheduled to begin?"

"If this situation is not brought to a halt soon, it could have serious ramifications for, you know, literary culture, I guess," said Kyle Farmer, a Phoenix-area real estate consultant and avid golfer. "It would be tragic if we had to go a whole year without a new novel from Kurt Vonnegut or Norman Mailer," he added, unaware that both authors died in 2007.

The Onion, March 15 2008

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