• I Am a Fictional Author

    June 8, 2017

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: #99Percent, Other Ideas

    As regular readers know, my new book, Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan, is a work of fiction, by which I mean I acknowledge that I made up more of it than a typical journalist will admit to.

    “Fiction” also allows me to pretend that pathetic episodes from my own life that are in the story didn’t happen, and allows me to mock obvious real people by simple saying “All characters are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is merely coincidental” (Lawyers: Kidding!)

    Since my personal goal this time around is to involve fewer government agencies than got involved with book one, We Meant Well, I can’t believe I didn’t stumble on to this fiction thing a long time ago except for my resume.

    That said, I have come to learn that fiction writers are expected to be different. As a non-fiction writer about the failed reconstruction of Iraq, I just showed up and wrote down what happened. I could have hired a stenographer to follow me around Iraq, and just signed off on the text. Again, you mature, you grow, it’s a journey.

    Fiction writers it turns out are supposed to be characters in their own right, quirky, fascinating people you want to spend time with drinking inexpensive but marvelous wines in Brooklyn, saying words like “quirky” and “robust” (the wine, not the author.) Apparently being a fat, bald old guy with a chip on his shoulder isn’t enough to sell fictional books.

    So, some changes will need to happen.

    Though I overpaid for LASIK a few years ago, I henceforth shall wear the thick black glasses that made everyone in the 1950s look like a dork. It seems the whole thing is based on living a life of total irony, without ever letting on you actually know what irony is.

    I’ll wear only black shirts with old jeans, and a twenty foot scarf wrapped a bunch of times around my neck, ’cause nobody’s done that look. I’ll look like Yassar Arafat with a bad cold.

    Or black turtlenecks.

    Or black t-shirts. Unironed.

    Perhaps a fedora, or, when I’m feeling especially plucky, a jaunty beret.

    Tattoo in Chinese characters whose meaning I do not know. I will later learn the giant thing permanently inked on my arm actually only means “table.”

    I will use more foreign words. For example, I will use the French tableau frequently, which actually does mean “table,” to describe pretty much whatever the hell I want and you’ll nod.

    I will be seen with someone, such as Lindsay LohanMiley Kardashian Cyrus, who is edgy. (Miley, tweet me up, you got the digits. Payment in blow, like before.)

    I hate smoking but I will often smoke. A pipe for author photos, hand-rolled tobacco in public.

    I will listen only to bands so obscure that they haven’t even formed up yet.

    Sell the dog, get an exotic cat. Say “animals are so pure, unlike people, they just know love.”

    When out to dine with other self-important people, we shall order only “small plates.” I don’t know what that is– are they what used to be appetizers? Are they just tiny portions of the stuff that used to come on big plates? No matter.

    Other things I will say often: Amazing, take it to a new level, my passion, pivot, robust, my journey. I will go out for a coffee while you go out “for coffee.” I will refer to other famous people as “the new Gatsby” (I have never been able to finish reading anything by Fitzgerald but I saw most of that movie and was sober for the first half.)

    I will raise false modesty to an art form. When people ask what I do, I’ll say “Oh, I scribble down some things for people. Perhaps you’ve seen them– in a little paper called the New York Times?”

    I will refer to obscure artists as “the best ____ of his generation” not only to sound douche, but in hopes that someone will do me a reach-around and refer to me as the best of my generation.

    I will claim to do all my writing on some cutting edge Apple product you can’t buy yet, or with a special 19th century pen on hand-crafted paper, or maybe (quirky!) on a reconditioned Selectric typewriter. I will refer to the crap I write as “my craft.” I will “practice it.”

    I will refer to my fictional characters as if they were real people. Not in the Seinfeld way, but as if they were actually people I could see and talk to. Though I do something like this now when on an Everclear-Oxy bender (Law Enforcement: Kidding!), it will be cool because those characters are me, man. So tableau, oui?

    I will write blog posts like this:

    Up early. Enjoying free range, gluten-free coffee, watching the street scene unfold. Life. So much suffering– I feel it all– but you can’t get cut off. Felt a breeze, a whisper, a feeling, a kiss, in my hair, across my face. Then spilled my coffee, but f*ck society, I don’t care.

    Do cool people still say “ciao?” No? I will restart the trend.

    I will only consume products that are described as artisanal. The electricity in my green lifestyle will be generated by unionized Peruvian shamans whom I visited (well, flew over enroute to Colombia to score Miley’s blow) to appreciate their indigenous lifestyle first. I will feel a relationship to all I encounter, starting with Cyrus once she’s coked again.

    I will start saying my children are adopted, or refugees, or maybe rescues, and make them wear makeup so they look “foreign.” Sorry kids, it’s for daddy’s job. Pretend it’s Halloween. You will see photos of me mentoring third world children on one of my many give-something-back foreign tours. Nobody does this crap with kids in the U.S., so it’s important that the Instagrams have some foreign props or backgrounds. You can Photoshop that if I don’t have time for the travel, right?

    All my media interactions will be meta. I will slouch. I will mumble. I will say publicity does not matter to me, I just want to get my real message out. I will turn the tables and ask questions of the journalists. I may refuse to talk about my book at all and just focus on my concern for the dying tribes of Peruvian shaman electricity generators. Like it seems every modern male author, I will have to work into my book some faux-humble reference to my sexual prowess and/or gifts.

    I will go to rehab. Not because I need to, but because that is where you make the right connections in the business. I will say things like “the business.”

    I will often discuss my favorite writers, but I will not say “favorite,” I will say meaningful. You will not know any of them and will not have heard of their work. I will name one writer you do know, but in a pretentious way, such as “I find Ernest’s later work such a mind blow.”

    I will acquire an agent I only speak to by phone but refer to as my best friend and artistic soulmate. S/he will be one of the 2,367 agents in New York who have turned me down now through three books. My agent will wear thick black dork glasses. Um, any agents reading this, seriously, I’m still at the same number. OK to call late or early or on Sunday.

    I will be a fictional writer. You will love me for it.



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    Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      Truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.

      PS: The country COLOMBIA

      06/8/17 5:15 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      2

      Literary agents are sort of like real estate agents- Doesn’t take much to be either one but “location, location, location” does matter. Why not do the Bosworth thingee- follow someone around like Billy Idol or Joaquin Phoenix and then sell your observations to Atlantic Monthly? It’s a rough vocation with no vacations since no one wants vacations unless fully employed.

      06/8/17 9:23 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      3

      Sorry- I meant to type Boswell not Bosworth.

      06/8/17 10:17 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      4

      Peter…. Your sarcasm …. Opps… Sorry…. “Humor”…. Is improving.

      Don’t forget…. Go to the “caf”…. And sit there all day…. Acting like your interviewing people…. Rather than watching the college girls walk by…. Damn pervert!!!

      M

      06/8/17 10:18 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      5

      Ok…. Serious question…..just for a moment…

      My wife and I are headed to Europe for a few days….on our way we are stopping by Manchester and London to lay flowers….

      Rich… Want some in your name?

      John…. Already know your in…

      Chuck…. Your welcome.

      Anyone else?

      M

      06/8/17 10:22 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...

      6

      Mitch, Thanks!

      06/8/17 10:43 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      Mitch,

      Stay off London Bridge.

      06/8/17 1:52 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Talk about fiction:

      Nixon: I am not a crook.

      Trumpie: I am not a liar.

      Talk about suspension of disbelief.

      06/8/17 2:53 PM | Comment Link

    • Tim said...

      9

      Kinky Friedman or Joe Bob Briggs would be better role models.

      Laurence Olivier used to be described by interviewers as an actor playing the part of Laurence Olivier?

      Is Donald Trump in fact playing the part of Donald Trump?

      06/8/17 3:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      10

      Rich.

      Ok…. None for you.

      Understood.

      M

      06/8/17 3:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      11

      Peter…

      Btw….. Sort of know a guy….. To be Very clear, for Rich’s sake…. Not a friend…… For the sake of discussion…. And literary license… We will call him “Sue”…

      Well, “Sue”…. Middle 40’s…….He’s a a junior high school teacher…. Says he’s writing a book…. Wears nothing but black, year round….. Head to toe….365/7/24…. He’s…..interesting…..(just playing on your statements above about only wearing black…)…he has a lotus blossom tattoo in the palm of his hand…. “shows wisdom”..(huh??? Wtf… Teaches pre-high school… Wears black.. All the time ===== wisdom???….. Like kids today are not going to eat him for breakfast….. Changes jobs a lot though…)

      He’s got the tats saying…”table…sucker…idiot…sanders supporter “…
      Sits around translating the deeper meaning of “the walking dead”…. And fire-ant mounds….

      And how man could solve the worlds problems by “stop playing God,by extending his life span past 30…” ‘ four score and ten’…(yeah…. I know… He’s a teacher and does not know how long a ‘score’ is )….and how man should execute themselves at age 31…( yep…. Figure he was dropping acid while watching ‘Logan’s run ‘.

      Well……. I understand he’s in ” transition “….. Too……
      and he just loves his new boyfriend…. They are planning the marriage….. They known each other 4 days….

      Just trying to be supportive…..hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha….

      M

      06/8/17 3:57 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      12

      Trumpie has been pushing fiction since he became presidense. Give him credit, his insanity defense is bulletproof.

      06/8/17 6:59 PM | Comment Link

    • StarkNakedTruth said...

      13

      Actually PVB…

      There’s an “artist” hamlet just north of where I live and once you reinvent yourself, you’ll fit right in with the regulars.

      Black shirt and old jeans are required attire. Ditch the fedora and bring a dusty, well worn cowboy hat, instead.

      I’ll be looking for you in the Plaza.

      06/8/17 7:54 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      14

      StarkNakedTruth…

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…..

      Thanks….

      M

      06/8/17 9:43 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      15

      Peter,

      “Boomerang”, title for your next “fiction” : dumbass fat old east coast white guy runs for reelection against smart, young west coast biracial woman.

      06/9/17 7:32 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      16

      Another title suggestion, FLIPPED, how the party of Ronnie Reagan grew to love the Commies and hate the FBI.

      06/9/17 7:46 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      17

      Or you could write the unauthorized bio of “Donald, the man who would be king… if he could ever stop lying”

      Give him enough rope: Trumpie says he is willing to testify under oath about his conversations with Comey. Another reason most lawyers refused to represent him.

      06/9/17 3:40 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      18

      It appears our presidense has Comey now. Just wait until Trumpie releases the tape of their conversation…just as soon as they come back from the Russian forensic unit that deletes Trumpie incriminating statements.

      06/9/17 7:28 PM | Comment Link

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