When Allen Smithee Gets Depressed

When Allen Smithee gets depressed with the world, with the fact that no one ever recognizes his work, when he feels like no one is paying attention to anything he says, he goes to the used bookstore. He likes to stand amid the stacks of books, loosely organized and out of order, like his own brain. Old binding tears apart at the seams after 50, 60, 70 years of the paper backs with discolored pages, wilted only halfway, showing how far a past reader got in The Deacons.

He likes to hold them in his hand, and smell the old pulp of a past art form. Looking at the poetry section, and the unknown names in the old paperbacks, gives him comfort. He feels amid brethren whose work flies by, fleeting, falling, into the ether. He wonders if they feel the same way, that everyone failed to understand the work that went into their pieces—that they have been branded as half-rate and nothing can overcome that.

Old histories can fall onto the floor from a shelf and he then sees the numbers, the ages of past leaders, people who have accomplished things. He could look at all the finished stories and imagine something like that happening in an alternate world. The voices will speak to him through written words, the pages can be in his hands—pliant or brittle, broken or stiff with time. It is a feeling that can empty him of all the irrational thoughts. But it is hard to explain in this medium. Maybe, he thinks, it would make a good movie.