After leaving the premises of his new place of employment, Jona couldn’t decide whether he should celebrate or head to the hospital to donate his organs. Half of him felt pleased to have received the job and the various compliments from Brett; half of him felt riddled with confusion, shame, self-loathing, uncertainty, apathy and anger; and half of him felt artistically inspired, though unsettled by the discovery that he had three halves.
In the end, his inspiration won out. It was at that point Jona fully understood why so many of the great writers in history had kept their traditional jobs. It wasn’t to keep them from going insane; it was because the feelings of degradation that arise whenever a creative mind goes on payroll actually serve as a catalyst for artistic overcompensation. Faced with the frightening prospect of lifelong employment and doubles tennis, true free spirits fight back wildly against the inertia with the only weapons they have at their disposal: Originality and pretentiousness. The more menial and insignificant the job, the stronger the desire to produce something authentic, something that reeks of fresh, singular experience, something that captures even the briefest flash of existence without attempting to explain everything in definite terms.
Jona was now more intent than ever to get Notes on an Orange Burial published. He spent the entire weekend touching up many of the existing poems and even working on a few new ones to add to the collection. He edited and wrote with a fury, foregoing sleep and stopping only occasionally to turn on the radio and heave breakable objects across the room upon hearing the score of the Twins game. Despite these brief interruptions, Jona remained in a poetic zone—a place of blissful torment and whispering rage where blue and crimson phrases bled out of him for hours on end. Had the rhythm and tone of his words been translated into actual visual images, they likely would have taken the form of an Egon Schiele oil painting, or perhaps a bag of plums that had been trampled by a quarterhorse.
When Jona felt fatigue starting to set in, he thought about the various motivational posters he had seen displayed throughout the telesales center, and within moments he was filled with renewed shame and disgust that fueled his creative efforts.