‘What a disaster!’ It’s Wednesday morning, I’m staring at the US election results on my laptop. For the next couple of hours I’m glued to the news. Eventually I get dressed and head into the office.
‘What time do you call this?’ The Nymph is not amused.
‘I have been thrown off balance by the US election results,’ I mumble.
For the next half an hour I organise my desk. Then I check on facebook how my friends have reacted to the elections – tears and rage and sadness and incomprehension everywhere. I find it difficult to focus. Peirene, on the other hand, exudes intense concentration this morning.
‘Aren’t you disturbed by what has happened in the US?,’ I finally ask, while I begin to put our stationary in order. That’s at least something I can do without much thinking.
She shrugs her shoulders absentmindedly. ‘I am. But so what!’ She continues typing. ‘Brexit shocked me more. That was my wakeup call. The American election has merely confirmed that the shift is taking place all over the Western world.’ The Nymph now stops typing and glances at me sternly, her eyes appearing huge through her reading glasses. ‘You and I,’ she then continues, ‘are part of a social group that has done well over the last 30 years. We settled in London, educated ourselves, set up a publishing house. You yourself tell me that you feel lucky that you weren’t born in your grandmother’s or even your mother’s generation. Right?’ I nod and she adds ‘There are many fellow country men and women who clearly don’t feel that way. I like to understand them better and then see where we all have to adjust our thinking in order to progress together towards a more inspiring future.’
‘That’s a tall order.’ I sit down. ‘And how are you intending to reach that wisdom?’
‘The Cut, our Brexit novel. It will give me some insights.’
‘No pressure on Anthony as the writer,’ I say sarcastically. I pause for a moment. ‘And me as the editor.’ I swallow.
‘Anthony is up to the task. As for you – it depends if you will now finally get down to work and stop wasting your time clicking through news channels and social media.’
By Meike Ziervogel
Image by Monica H., creative commons.
This blog was originally published as part of Peirene Press‘s series Things Syntactical. The Pain and Passion of a Small Publisher on 14 November 2016.