I may be dead by the time you read this, my faithful, loving audience. Be fortunate for my foresight, as I have thought to provide this glimpse into the very thing that may or may not have killed me by the time you read this. My own computer is wrapping its lecherous hands around my throat as I struggle to write this.
The truth came to light for me this morning as The Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal (1/29/03) ran a headline blazing, “Your Computer Could be Killing You.” The article explained that “e-thrombosis” may be a risk for those who sit at their computers for prolonged periods of time. Well, writers sit for prolonged periods of time. There is the possibility for developing massive blood clots that can cut off blood to the lungs, and other places I would presume. My computer! In whom I put so much trust. I should have known… I’m such an incorrigible dolt!
And I am a writer—I always knew that, as I sat toiling in front of my keyboard, I was slowly dying, word by word. I have always known my art was killing me and now it is acknowledged that I am, indeed, dying for my art. My art, along with the countless other hours spent online, hocking my grandmother’s knick-knacks on eBay or surfing for the perfect set of mammaries to serve as my digital muse. With every second I spend bleeding my words on the screen, for my loyal fans, which I hope to have someday, I am dying. How fucked up is that? I am dying for them and for my art. And all I have to show for it is credit card debt and writer’s block. How fucking romantic is that? As if it weren’t thorny enough facing the possible rejection by the public of the thoughts and memories I hold so dear in my writing (and you should too), I am risking more than just a public judgment at the hands of my peers. Now I add death to my list of critics who eagerly anticipate when my will shall expire leaving nothing but my heart and soul on the computer screen. (Mental note: be certain to save more often in the event of a sudden aneurysm.) That’s a new angle I can add to my middle-class, white-bread life. I finally have a struggle! And it’s death by computer!
Ah, but the double-edged blade I hold to my own throat now reflects clearly the fear in my own eyes. As I finish my unwritten masterpiece I race towards Death, yet in Death, my posthumous fame will do me no good, unless Heaven, where I will surely be going, has a sense of humor. In death, I won’t be able to reap the rewards when my masterpiece is optioned and made into a box office bounty. Why do I have to die as I write? I suppose I could use a pen and paper but my hand cramps after only a few paragraphs. Instead, I face my own Heart of Darkness as I let my addiction lead me to Death’s humble door. For art, I must remind myself; it is for my art.
As you can imagine, the knowledge that I was risking my life for you, the reader, took some time to come to terms with. I wouldn’t change a thing though, as this passion lives within me like the gluttony that has a hold on Anna Nicole Smith. However, since I am dying day by day, perhaps sooner than I had anticipated, please purchase my book and read before it’s too late. Contact my publishing house and ask them to sponsor our book club. Here’s a question: How did the author find the courage to beat Death down long enough to type his last breath into words? And then save the file as well? (Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it, but if you’d like to send me advance orders, feel free to do so.)
This writer faces Death and treachery in his own circle. I have overcome much in the writing of this book not yet complete; I look Death in its newfound electronic eye daily; I risk abuse and rejection and now I have two intimate friends I can no longer trust—a computer at home and another at work. So which one is it? Which one is the traitor bastard? I’ll unplug it without a second thought and never look back. God, I hope it’s the work one though, and then I could just sit at my desk all day and get paid to read. Maybe I could even get an exemption note from my doctor, which I could make copies of and circulate through my human-resource department. Can I sue myself for making myself work in such dangerous conditions?
However, the work part is all semantics. The real issue is: I am a writer and you must read my book because, chances are, I’m dead by now.