During the strike, I was thinking that the number of hours that union management asked writers to put in on the picket line did not add up to a normal work week; and I’m more of a Neoclassicist than a Romantic when it comes to inspiration and time and words (if I’m using those terms correctly?—my Glossary of Literary Terms isn’t helping; what I mean is Maugham’s line, if it’s accurate—my Bartlett’s isn’t helping—about inspiration striking every morning at nine, or Edison’s line about sweating a lot, etc.), but still, I was thinking that there had to be not-paid-for words getting written during those hundred days, and I was wondering where all those words were going, and I imagined we might eventually read something like this:
[Michele] Mulroney has gone back to writing a play and said many friends had picked up “passion projects,” like unfinished novels, children’s books and developing screenplays. After the strike “the town will be flooded with new material,” she said.
—Melena Ryzik, “For Strikers, the Agony of Spare Time,” 27 January 2008
So now I’m wondering if the inboxes of book publishers and literary agents will be compared, at some point soon (perhaps they have been already?—I am fearful of the white noise of such a Googling!), to that old myth of what the birthing centers of hospitals in big cities look like forty weeks after a major blackout.