oЯange was the new Apple, with a difference. Wizzie wanted to call her new computer Pomegranate, as it had a unique, multi-faceted system, light-years ahead of the competition in the market. Yet, she feared too many syllables in the word might not be a catchy brand-name for the customer, so she settled with her second choice. oЯange had many slices of the fruit inside, as well.
Wizzie was a computer wizard inspired by life. Something simple she heard or saw made her think of a new programme. The inspiration for her new project had come from a writer friend. To keep up with the current trends in the literary world, promotional work consumed her days, instead of writing. Also, hundreds of notifications from many writing and social sites which she received daily, drove her to distraction.
Over a drink, in the Pub one day, she expressed her feelings. “I need a computer that records my thoughts, not my words. Thoughts travel faster than the words we speak. When I began to write, I naively borrowed my brother’s portable recorder to document the ideas in my head. The end result sounded like gibberish, missing the nuances in the train of thoughts that get lost when you try to decipher them into words. I soon realized what I was really after was to record my thoughts rather than the ramblings coming out of my mouth.”
“Why would you need such a system?” Wizzie asked, with a pensive look.
“I need the computer to access my reflections, to edit, make comments, suggestions, critiques on the general ideas, plot structure, characters, dialogue and overall content.”
“But it would be the computer writing your book, instead of you, wouldn’t it?”
“Not at all. The ideas are mine, but compiling them together in an original and effective manner, eloquent and literary, and making sense out of the content is the task of writing. Meanwhile, there could also be an administrative task of lesser importance. Dealing with the daily notifications, deleting mails, or acting upon them. Tweeting, returning reads and comments, liking and following, friending and unfriending. Making forum posts, writing flash-fiction and flash-poesy, etc.”
“Hmm,” Wizzie said, rolling her eyes, “what would you be doing, meanwhile, as the book is being written and edited accordingly, and your promotion duties are taken over by the system?”
“So much, ” Jane sighed, “so much I cannot do right now. Reading tangible paper books I have no time for currently. Doing housework, going shopping, watching films that inspire me. Exercising, work-outs, eating and cooking properly, the list goes on …”
“I think you have inspired me for a revolutionary idea. You could be right, you know. I’m going try a new approach.”
After they parted, Wizzie went home and sat at her desk. She thought of the fifties and the bitten, poisonous apple rumours said had killed Alan Turing. The man had a vision that inspired Jobs. Maybe, this was all she needed to come up with a ground-breaking technology.
She worked on the programme with Jane for about a year. Jane was her trial study, as her software accessed Jane’s brain through a silicon chip planted at the back of her neck. Processing her thoughts and deciphering their intricate trails was a major task that needed fine tuning. As thoughts are multi-layered and come from all directions, while Jane contemplated on the book, she was also generating many other brain waves on her sex life, issues related to her digestive system, and her supermarket shopping list.
Wizzie developed a thought filter system whereby all thoughts not related to the book were put into the spam folder. Sometimes things got mixed up and the thoughts ended up in the wrong folders. Jane checked the spam and edited the manuscript, accordingly. Finally, they decided to use a prompt when she was thinking of the book. “Book” or “No book.” It worked when she did this consciously, but when unconscious ideas crept up from all her neural pathways, the programme did not perform so well.
When it came to the administrative jobs, the programme was a star. In one year, her Twitter followers increased to one million from one thousand. The computer followed everyone and liked everyone’s Tweets and Facebook posts. The Jungle rating for her self-published work joined the ranks of the top one hundred books, leaving Jackie Collins behind. She had offers from agents and publishers who wanted to take her on board. Jane was at a loss whether to go with the publishers’ or the agents’ offers.
She arrived at the Pub in a frenzy. “Let’s sit outside, I need a smoke.”
Wizzie relented, despite the freezing weather.
Jane lit her cigarette with shaking hands, and took a gulp from her malt. “I don’t know what to do. Publisher or agent?”
“The agents charge a commission on your work, don’t they? Why pay them? Go with the publisher.”
“But the agents find better publishers, also for future work.”
“I’d still opt for the publisher. The way you’re going, you’ll be more famous than the Shades lady.”
“You think so? Yeah, maybe you’re right. It’s your oЯange that made me who I am now. I should pay you instead of the agents.”
“No need for that. What are friends for? Everyone wants to buy my system now. I’m already rich. Enjoy oЯange, while you can, there’ll be many other blockbusters in the market soon.”