I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge, you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center. Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first. That’s Finnerty talking in Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano. Although an engineer, Finnerty is the quintessential artist. He’s brilliant, outlandish and capricious, and an outsider in an alternate world where machines rule people. So he quits his job even though it pays “like a television queen with a forty-inch bust” and lives outside the system.
I live outside the system. I have no office to slip into, no paycheck to cash at the end of the month and nobody I can call a colleague. It’s not as dystopian a world as Finnerty’s, but I’m on the outside, and I’m dangerously close to the edge. I don’t know when I’ll tip over, but I see them – those big undreamed-of things. And now what? I have to take a giant leap and grab them before they disappear.