She told [eight-year-old] Download he had to keep his Brain Nozzle on standby. “Read a little,” she said, “and then every once in a while try closing your eyes and entering the mind of the author.”
“What's an author?” Download asked.
“It's someone who's not you who wrote the book.”
“But I'm special,” Download said.
“I know you are,” Ruthie said.
Roger Conover, editor of MIT Press, told an anxious Q'er at his talk here last spring that people in publishing love to work themselves up about the apocalypse, that their own Imminent Doom has always been a favored conversation topic. Maybe it is essential in all the arts—we have to / can't help but believe the art is dying, irresistibly (and maybe grandiosely) drawn to the anxiety of immortality. Which is any art-maker's secret impossible hope.