A few years back I published a little book called The Warhol Gang. It follows the misadventures of a man who works in neuromarketing, getting his brain scanned in response to imaginary products, until he begins to lose his mind. He starts going out to accidents at night to get a dose of reality, where he falls in with a group of anti-mall activists. Things get crazy from there.
Almost everything I wrote about in The Warhol Gang existed at the time, just not in any meaningful scale. I wasn’t writing realism so much as I was trying to write the headlines of tomorrow — somewhere in between realism and sci-fi. As it turns out, I got a lot of it right — although that doesn’t exactly make me happy. Neuromarketing is a growing field, we’re increasingly live streaming terrorist attacks and political protests, we’re obsessed with the viral video — and we have sermons in movie theatres. One of the scenes in The Warhol Gang features our hapless narrator stumbling into a cinema in the middle of a religious service broadcast live on the screen. It’s the closest he can get to a real spiritual experience in his world, and he tries to get closer to the screen for a moment of communion. When I wrote the scene, I wondered if I was pushing things a bit too far. But I wondered that about almost everything in the book.
Today I checked out my news feeds and came across an article about people attending church sermons in much larger numbers than I projected in my novel.
So it turns out our son Ronan was born with a heart problem and will need a bit of surgery to fix it. The good doctors at B.C. Children’s Hospital will be performing the procedure in January. We set up a monthly donation to Children’s after our older son spent time there. I encourage anyone else reading this to donate to Children’s or one of your local hospitals this Christmas season. I’ve been in enough hospitals recently to know they all could use the help — and the doctors and nurses really do perform miracles every day. Now go give your loved ones a hug.