Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Tale of Two Writers

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times,
it is the age of Dispatches from Tanganyika, it is the age of the Squawk Radio,
it is the epoch of the National Book Award, it is the epoch of the RITA Award,
it is the season of the artfully written press release, it is the season of 404 Page Not Found,
it is the spring of Jamie, it is the winter of Ann,
we writers have everything before us, we have nothing before us,
we are all going direct to the Bestseller List, we are all going direct to the Remainder Table--
in short, the present period is so far like the past period, that some of its noisiest authorities insist on the numbers being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison to last year's numbers only, so that the chains might order to the net...

(skipping all the boring parts)

...There is a guard of righteous sundry (but not disgruntled) critics riding abreast of the Lifestyle Sunday supplement book review page, and faces are often turned up to some of their blogs, and they are asked some question. It would seem to be always the same question, for, it is always followed by a press of people to feast with relish upon clever disgust for the author's oft-slammed book.

The critics abreast of that release, frequently link to the author of it. The leading curiosity is, to know all the dirt on that damned idiot who wrote the awful piece of crap; yet the author blogs without mention of it, pausing to converse with a mere unpubbed writer who comments on his blog regularly about the biz. He has no curiosity or care for those eager to savage his book or bite off his head, but always speaks to the girl. Here and there in the endless electronic web of the internet cries of cowardice are raised against him. If they move him at all, it is only to a quiet smile. He cannot easily comment, his hands being tied by his publisher, who is busy promoting the possibly faux past of a fourteen-year-old multiracial trisexual SlimFast and Lunesta addict who just reported on Oprah that she is sure she is pregnant by her sixty-year-old lover who has herpes, you know, the bad kind.

At the front of the very unhappy spectatorship stands the ARC seller. He did not review the author's book -- he never reads ARCs -- but doctored his earnest hatchet job from one written earlier by another while he went off to auction that which is not for resale. He looks for the author in comments to one hatchet-job: not there. He looks at another: not there. He already asks himself, "Has he gone and deleted his blog?" when his conscience clears, as he looks at the author's blog and finds said fool there exchanging ideas with the mere girl.

"Yo, Moneybags," IMs the ARC seller's friend, Anon. Anon is an avid blogger who maintains three anonymous blogs, writing as a literary agent, a novel editor, and a paperback-reading housewife named Norma who daily wrestles with shingles, chronic fatigue syndrome, and romance novels written by women named Emma, the latter of which s/he believes are all penned by one fat, balding ghostwriter in Topeka named Chuck. "Where is Everywriter?"

"On his blog, talking to some unpubbed wannabe."

Anon types in the unhappy face, and "Are they talking about creative, artistic nonsense?"


Anon rushes over to the author's blog and immediately posts this comment: "Down, Everywriter! To the hatchet all who publish! Down, Everywriter! I say your book stinks! My friend, the ARC seller, says it stinks! That skank girlfriend of yours probably stinks, too!"

"Hush, hush!" the ARC seller IMs him, timidly.

"And why should I, citizen?" Anon wants to know. "I'm entitled to my opinion. So are you."

"He doesn't know I got $400 for his last book on eBay. Let him be at peace."

Anon takes one of his favorite things, offense. "Shut up or I'll write a hatchet job on you, you mercenary little bastard."

(skipping more boring parts)

They said of the author, about the night he quit publishing, that his was the peacefullest blog entry ever beheld. Many later belligerently added that he sounded a little sublime and prophetic in his post out of desperate self-defense, nothing more, because the weakling couldn't take any criticism, ya know, and what a pity it was that he could not write books as well as that blog entry, because his last book REALLY SUCKED (but noted that, if offered a muchly-deserved book deal, they personally and surely would not.)

Everywriter quietly exited this life of publishing without a word or a bit of fanfare, for while everyone was having fun at his expense he had invested his advance in biotech stock and earned enough money to pay off all his debts and put aside a nice little nest egg for retirement. He then secured a pleasant day job that had absolutely nothing to do with publishing, and lived under his real name, which no one knew. He met, fell in love with and eventually married the unpubbed writer, and together with her lived in unharassed bliss, during which they wrote only for each other and then burned the manuscripts, just to be safe.

(Available for purchase soon on the Everywriter Goes Postal at BEA alternative ending!)


  1. Anonymous1:37 PM

    Such literature... are you sure that you are a paperback writer? I am so glad I found you while looking for old Beatles records on vinyl. Well, not really. I followed a link from Shannon Stacey's blog and now I read you every day.

  2. But I know all the fat, balding ghostwriters in Topeka, and none are named Chuck!

  3. Interesting marketing ploy. Publish everything free on the web; make us buy the ending. What's an ending worth?

    At $6.99 (mass market cover price) with only the final chapter published, production costs would be much less, shipping costs would be much less, and think how many you could face out on a shelf? You might just have something there.

  4. Quite a fable to be sure. =)

  5. ...his was the peacefullest blog entry...

    Oh... S.!! peacefullest???

    *Editor Jaye runs screaming out of the room suffering from lexicon shock syndrome, comes back, looks at the screen - it hasn't changed - pulls hair out in disbelief, grabs the heart pills and goes to have a lie down, making sure she's snuggling up to Jack - Mr Daniels to you - (he's the only one who understands, you know, how devastating 'alternative and creatively bent' word usage can truly be to editors).*

    That... that... word will be echoing in my head all day now.

  6. I don't know the people you're talking about, if this blog is even about real people, but I laughed like hell because of its pure entertainment value!


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