I’ll never forget when Philip Roth quit writing.

“I did what I did and it’s done,” the award-winning novelist announced in a 2014 interview. His reason for abandoning the writer’s art? “There are no readers left.”

“The concentration, the focus, the solitude, the silence, all the things that are required for serious reading are not within people’s reach anymore,” he averred. “Now it is the multiple screens and there is no competing against it.”

Like the sexually frustrated Alexander Portnoy of Roth’s most controversial novel, the virtuoso novelist came to view his writing as onanistic without a true partner as audience. After his last book Nemesis, Roth spent his final years riding the brake pedal downhill toward his 2018 death: swimming, watching baseball, and taking walks through Central Park with friends.

I am not an American literary institution like Roth; not an octogenarian at the end of a successful career who can swear off the future. Beck & Stone feels kinship with Roth’s complaint but refuses to wish our audience me ne frego, no matter how dependent on screens we’ve all become.

We’re taking the opposite approach.

In Created, this bi-weekly that you’ve affably chosen to invest five precious minutes in reading, we hope to bring out the best that a culture of arts and letters—driven by design—has to offer. My editorial hopes and aspirations go beyond informing our clients and advertising our work. I want to offer you original thought, earnest inspiration, and instructive humor.

I hate the word “content.” It’s ubiquitous in the world of communications, but it connotes the worst of literary drivel. Content fills space. I want to create space.

Created is our way of showcasing the artistic philosophy and passionate determination that underlies our client work. Beck & Stone is not simply a vendor providing deliverables. We are a tight-knit coterie of professional eccentrics, distinguished artists, dangerous tacticians, and accomplished visionaries. We’ve built ships and righted them. We’ve learned from—and taught—some of the foremost decision-makers, public figures, backstage builders, and intellectuals of our day.

We choose to offer this value—our personal braintrust—in the form of a brand consultancy because we understand the 21st-century headspace. We all have brands. We all inhabit digital reality. We all grapple with beauty and truth obscured by the modern medium. We believe that this new frontier must be understood and tamed for art and culture to persist. And we want to help you do that.

I’ll end here with a final quote from Roth, from a 1963 article in Commentary: “The concerns of fiction, let it be said, are not those of a statistician—or of a public-relations firm. The novelist asks himself, ‘What do people think?’; the PR man asks, ‘What will people think?’”

Beck & Stone has no illusion that Created will be winning any literary awards. But at the awards dinner, we hope to sit pleasantly between the novelist and the PR man—not leaping off the cliff of consciousness into the cold and unexplored domains of language, but not a slave to trends or a timid vendor plagued with “data-driven” anxiety.

We just want to steal your attention every two weeks—provide some laughter, some wonder, some anger, some awe. Many thanks for reading.

Andrew Cuff is Communications Director at Beck & Stone where he leads institutional clients in communications consulting and brand tactics. Created is his editorial project. He and his wife (also a writer) have made their home in Latrobe, PA with their four children.