THE BOOK I WILL WRITE by John Henry Fleming is a serial novel-in-emails about a would-be writer named John Henry Fleming who is desperate to publish a book. THE BOOK I WILL WRITE is a work in progress; readers are invited to make comments and influence the outcome. Fleming has been exchanging emails with an editorial assistant and a senior editor at Knopf, as well as with an agent. He’s been kicked out of his apartment, and is living at the library following a kidnapping episode with The Zeppelin Society.

#53  we are considering more ram

To Mr. John Henry Fleming,

You could have written the requested letter for The Zeppelin Society. If you had done it on the original requested schedule, no harm would have come to you or to our Z3000 prototype and our rival would have not gone to war with us.

Instead of writing the letter, you did nothing. You would not write any words. Why? I thought you were a writer. This is what I was told. This is what Viktoria Luise observed of you in the library.

Fine. So you played tricky. You made us wait. You were holding out for something. For what I don’t know. Are you in with our rival? This is not what we’ve observed. So what is your purpose? Are you making your own zeppelin?

Now, by fault of your own, we must reconstruct our Z3000. That is okay. I have in mind certain improvements. Enough improvements that the model might rightly be called the Z4000. And you can rest knowing you will have no part of the glory that you might have had had you written the requested letter.

If you had written that letter quickly, you might even not have noticed that we were holding you against your will. It would have been best if you had simply embraced your fate.

Viktoria Luise is taking it hard. She still feels kindly toward you in a sisterly way. She worries that our rival will take advantage of your stubborn will and pit you against us or against the government or possibly against yourself. No good can come of any of those opportunities.

By my calculations, you are likely to be out of money, and life is hard for you. The Zeppelin Society headquarters has been repaired and we have for now resisted the storage building manager’s attempts to evict us. Vik went out and bought a space heater and holiday lights that will stay up all year. She is thinking of hanging assorted fabrics on the wall. There’s a man who sells them out of his van. We know him through our motorcycle travels.

I am inviting you to consider The Zeppelin Society your temporary home. You would not be asked to write things. But if the writing spirit guides you to write things, and those things concern zeppelins and take the form of a letter to the FAA, that would be most welcome. At no point would we chain you to a seat or a computer. Vik thinks the problem was not enough RAM in the computer memory. We are considering more RAM.

You know we come regularly to the library. You know that all you have to do is show yourself and we can give you a ride to headquarters.

You see how I’m making nice. All is swell. Vik approves.

Also, I would like my knife back. It is special to me. A gift from someone who died. Not from knifing.

Yours in the Air,

Hans Ziffermatt
President, The Zeppelin Society