Committee By Fiat by Sue B. Walker
narrated by Sue B. Walker
The words were there in the committee, were the committee—present, but not necessarily accounted for. They didn’t know their place but were called to order anyway—stumbling over themselves, banging up against each other; it was bruising—one word wanting to speak out of turn, speak first, change position, wanting to be heard, getting silenced—like a slap on the cheek as it bit its tongue—the word “say” that might be called “novel”—words—one after another, remembering, trying to say. Could be it was “fiction”—fiction denying the authority of THE WORD—as in Alpha and Omega, The WORD that is Testament and testimony. Some, however, didn’t know the difference between the phrase: “in their place” – and “out of place” –dignifying the prepositional instead of propositional and propositional instead of dispositional—suffering the loss of “pre” and “pro” and without understanding that they were committee by number – and three is not four –misunderstanding the difference between odd and even—and odd is out, and even if they figured the odd over the even, the number was predetermined, predestined and then Richard Dawkins stood up, spoke up. He was not sitting on his hands—and words came out of his mouth and he said: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” How dare Dawkins turn those words loose on themselves, there in committee, there in their dwindling unbelief.
Sue B. Walker is the Stokes Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama and the Poet Laureate of Alabama from 2003-1012. She is the publisher of Negative Capability Press and the journal’s editor.