Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I Lister Waxes Philosophically About His Own Segment
I Lister Here, and let me introduce tomorrow's segment:
After Chris put his story on the internet on Monday, I came into his office to talk about what I was going to write for Wednesday and found that he'd been hitting refresh on his e-mail every twenty or thirty seconds for the past five hours. "Ima," he said to me. "I don't know if I'm ever going to be a real writer."
"What are you talking about," I said. "You write six days a week or more, for hours a day, maintain a blog, and still have time to work on fiction. If you're not writing, you're reading. Is there some secret underground definition of 'writer' on the street that I'm not aware of? Or did you mean paying the bills when you used the word 'real' because I can drop some household names who struggled for years before their writing would even pay off a modest Friends-And-Family plan bill. You're only just starting."
"I dunno," he said. "How about all the normal bellwethers. That ineffable place where someone who talks about being a writer moves into that place where they're actually doing it."
"That place is shrinking in your rearview mirror, Chris," I said.
"Is it? I feel like I'm faking it. I feel like a fraud. On the best days I feel like I'm falling with style. On the worst....I feel like a fucking pretentious ass talking about 'my blog' like I'm Barney Stinsen. I mean I talk about self publication being the future (and I believe it is) but it also means I never have to get rejected by a hundred magazines per story or struggle to find my novel an agent for years without success, or do a lot of the things that have been a writer's right of passage for a long time. I'm just doing jazz hands in a medium that can't say no. These days the chasm between a person who writes and a Writer with a capital W is filled with a quagmire of half efforts and pretentiousness like never before. I mean fuck, Ima--who DOESN'T have a blog?"
"Mentioned BY NAME in the manifesto of genocidal cephalopods, though?"
"Still..." he said. "I mean they want to kill me BECAUSE I'm pretentious. So I'm not sure that counts as having 'arrived.'"
I nodded. "Thanks boss."
"Thanks?" he said. "For what?"
"I wasn't sure what kind of list to do tomorrow. I have a list of good lists, but I wanted you to look it over and pick one because my list of criteria for picking lists from the list of lists wasn't helping me choose. However, you've given me a better idea. This thing you think is ineffable is probably more effable than you might imagine. I intend to show you tomorrow in my segment. See if you feel the same way after tomorrow."
"But...that means I have to wait until tomorrow for the catharsis from this conversation," Chris whined.
"Damn, that's got to fill you with dramatic tension," I said.
[After this, I. Lister's continued pimping tomorrow's segment through interpretive dance. However, interpretive dance does not translate mediums very well. Let me assure you, though, that it was legen (wait for it.....) dary.