“still working on your novel, arthur?’ joanne asked politely.
“oh, no, i gave it up,” arthur replied. “at least for now,” he added quickly.
“for now,” joanne repeated encouragingly.
joanne in her time had been a limo driver, a masseuse, and a receptionist in a doctor’s office, amomg other things, and she was experienced in dealing with boring people, especially boring men.
“the novel, as such, is dead of course,” arthur continued. “but i thought, perhaps foolishly, that its decayed husk might still bear the weight of an unadulterated dissection of the zeitgeist.”
“yes,” replied joanne, as she eyed the plate of cookies between them. i should grab at least two, she thought, before he eats them all.
“i have been making notes on a work that, if it must be classified at all, would go on a shelf marked philosophy. i envision it as containing elements of philosophy, poetry, history, anthropology, film, and photography. perhaps even economics. of course all these categories are meaningless, and that itself is one of the themes of the work.”
“everything is communication. even the efforts to deny or forestall communication are themselves communication. censorship is communication. just communication. because that is all there is.”
“like the internet,” joanne offered.
wincing only slightly at this comment, arthur reached for another cookie. “the categorization of communication is a form of censorship, which as i say is a form of communication.”
joanne smiled. “i know you have slapped me down on this before, but will there be any kind of story in this work? like a love story?”
arthur laughed good-naturedly. “there might be. there might be. you might be surprised. i am thinking of beginning the work with a reprise of the basic memes of world consciousness.”
joanne nodded . after finishing another cookie, arthur continued. “but it is really the philosophers that i have in my sights. i have already destroyed nietszche and schopenhauer, and wittgenstein will be the next to feel my lash. and then barthes.” he paused and considered. "of course lacan and baudrillard and that ilk are beneath me. as is houllebecq, who i would not consider a philosopher or as anything at all. “
arthur went on in this way for some time and then stopped and stared into space.
“would you like more coffee?” joanne asked.
“why yes, thank you.”
the offer of coffee seemed to have awakened arthur from a kind of trance, and after finishing the coffee, and making a few remarks enquiring after common acquaintances, he got up to leave.
“well, thank you for listening to me,” he said, as he brushed some cookie crumbs from his pants. “i do go on sometimes.”
“but you know i always enjoy talking to you, arthur. come by any time. after all, i am your mother.”