Friday, November 20, 2015


          One way and another, I’ve written a fair number of things: poems, essays, stories (some of them complete), and more than enough chapters for a series of novels, if only most of them weren’t first chapters. I have a muse, but she grew discouraged, put her wings in storage and took a teaching job somewhere in the Midwest. We talk, sometimes.                

          Perhaps 8 or 10 people see what I write -- some of it -- since every editor on earth can find it in his heart to refuse what I submit. For a while, when I was sending lots of things off, the pace of rejection grew so furious that I began receiving rejections for things I hadn’t even written yet. This disturbed the time/space continuum, which banged on the ceiling with a broom, so we slowed down. I once earned money as a caricature of a writer, an appeals lawyer, writing (with fair competence), prose which turned to dust once a case was over.

          Say you’re a fictional character and you’ve sat down and made a cold assessment of yourself. Honesty compels you to admit that you have more melancholy charm and wit than Prince Andrei, a more seductive air than Emma Bovary, and that Sancho Panza and Chita, working together, wouldn’t make half so delightful a sidekick. In your mind, you can read the reviews, perhaps panning the book for the most part, but forced to pause when it comes to you: “But Z! What a triumph! This character leaps off the page, pummels you about the head and shoulders, drinks your whiskey, kisses your wife and runs off with  your wallet! Not to be missed!” Why would you come to me, instead of someone whose stuff makes it into print?

          This is, more or less, what I’ve been trying to say to Melanie Beck, who insists I write about her, despite my being ill-equipped and reluctant.

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