Winning the award, I felt like some ruined Fitzgerald character lolling on a luxury liner in the rain-his inheritance has finally come through, but it’s too late. He’s a broken man. In my acceptance speech, I talked about why, when I’d dedicated Wetware to Phil Dick, I’d used Camus’s quote about imagining Sisyphus to be happy about his fate of repeatedly pushing his rock to the top of a mountain and watching it roll back down. The idea is that I see Sisyphus as the god of writers or, for that matter, artists in general. You labor for months and years, massing your thoughts and emotions into a great ball, inching it up to the mountain top. You let it go and-wheee! It’s gone. Nobody notices. And then Sisyphus walks down the mountain to start again. Here’s a beautiful passage about this from Camus.
“Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.”
As so often happens to me, nobody knew what the fuck I was talking about.