Write a Novel Not for Humans

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What if I want to make art, but not for humans? What would a novel look like? And do I need to have in mind a particular sort of non-human? Cats? Stones? I think I like stones better. Not as companions, but to make art for. A novel for stones.

First off, it wouldn’t have words. That would save the blank first page anxiety. Probably wouldn’t have pages, although it might. Rocks do tend to layer up. You see? Not such a strange idea—when you stop to think about it; I mean, rocks have written the history of our planet, right there for us to read—and they didn’t have us in mind when they were writing it. That’s getting close to what I mean—not having in anything in mind. Except it not being for humans.

How tiresome. All this art and poetry for humans, like we’re the only things in the universe that matter. But maybe that’s what we are… we humans. A novel in progress. A work of art for everything and nothing not-us. A kind of dance, actually. Yes. More like a dance. Or improv theater—one-of-a-kind and never-again. If only we’d stop doing it as though it were only for us. If only we knew how.

Looking at it that way—in the larger picture, removes me from the question, takes it out of my hands. All well and good that this is a project for all human kind, but what about me? That’s where we all end up, isn’t it? What about me? Pretty much sums us up, don’t it? Humanity… one big multi-act circle jerk.

Doesn’t mean we don’t matter, that we’re not important. Every single one of us. Think of the millions and millions and millions of micro-organisms dependent on us. On our staying alive. When we go, they go. Some—someplace else, some, forever. Like us. Every man… and woman… every gendered or genderless human—is an island. A densely inhabited island of things that are not us.

Maybe I could write a novel for them?

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