Part two of Jessie Mac’s interview of me, in which I reveal I want to be a monkey.
Dear Mr. Palahniuk:
Would it be hallucinatory for me to say you are my favorite author?
I am writing to see if you would be willing to read and possibly even blurb my debut novel, Numb, which will be published by Harper Perennial this August. I think that there is a lot in the story that you would connect with, and I would love knowing that you had simply read the book. A blurb would make me choke.
Since I am writing anyway, may I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your body of work. Twenty novels is quite an accomplishment. That you have twelve means you’re almost there. I have noticed a disturbing thread that runs through most of your work however, and if you don’t mind my pointing it out, perhaps having it raised will benefit you as you move forward with other books.
In short: your plots are very standard. They say it’s not what you do, but what you do with it, and I do believe that is true. But how many times have we read about an insomniac acting out through a delusional second personality, or a porn star trying to hit the record for most fucks in an afternoon. If I recall, you recently published a book in which the plot revolves around a 13-year-old boy named Agent Number 67 who is sent as an exchange student to live in America but who is really a sleeper agent sent to execute a terrorist attack on the US. Yawn. Not that it wasn’t nicely written. It’s just I think that if you pushed a little further, a bit more to the fringe, you’d find some really fresh territory. Something to think about.
Thanks for your time and consideration. Please give my best to Tyler.
PS. I don’t want to alarm you, but I believe your name is misspelled on all of your novels. Isn’t it “Check” Palahniuk?
There are ten copies of Numb being given away at Goodreads. Go now, and win win win.
I’m here to help.
Dear Mr. Vonnegut,
Would it be unstuck of me to say that you are my favorite author?
I am writing to you to ask if you might read and blurb my debut novel, Numb (forthcoming from Harper Perennial in August). It is the story of an amnesiac who can’t feel pain, his rise to fame, and other commonplace events.
To receive a blurb from you would be no small reward for the work that went into writing it (you have no idea how many Mad-Libs I had to complete before I finally had a novel-length text completed). It is obvious that writing a novel takes an investment of time, but I find that it takes an investment of self as well. In fact, while I am on the topic of investing oneself into fiction, I hope you will let me comment on your work.
I wonder if your fiction might not have gone to the next level if only you had invested more of yourself into them, really injected yourself into the narrative in some way that made the reader say, “That’s him, that’s Vonnegut. That’s the author of the book I am holding.” For instance, in Breakfast of Champions, you have a moment in which the “author” of the novel being read appears and worries about the quality of the book. You do something similar in Slaughterhouse Five when a prisoner of war, one with shall we say “latrine-based” issues to deal with, is revealed to be the “author” of the book. I am certain that you worked very hard on both novels, but what if, and bear with me on this because I’m going round the bend here, what if these “authors” in those books were in fact YOU. Imagine how that would have blown the readers away if they were introduced to the idea that the AUTHOR OF THE BOOK THEY WERE READING WAS APPEARING AS A CHARACTER IN THE BOOK THEY WERE READING. That tingling I’m feeling right now means I’m either onto something huge or that my dandruff shampoo is working. Too bad you hadn’t thought of that. Something to think about.
Anyway, thank you so much for your time, and please do let me know where I might send you a copy of my book.
PS. I have just now learned about your recent passing. I hope you won’t let this keep you from reading my book.
I was thrilled when Candace Ganger asked if I might donate a prize for a fundraiser to benefit women in Ghana (funds will help with microloans, community improvement and education). I was happy to throw a copy of Numb (signed if you like) and a critique of up to 50 pages of your writing. You can read about how to enter the contest here.
Today I’ll share another letter sent to an author in the hope that I might get a blurb. Asking for a blurb can feel like begging, but that’s only because it is. Part 1 was Tuesday, and though I still haven’t heard from Mr. Auster I think we should carry on. And so, part two…
Dear Mr. Pynchon,
Would it be ungainly of me to say that you are my favorite writer?
I am writing to ask if you might be interested in reading (and possibly blurbing) my book, Numb. It will be published by HarperPerennial in August 2010. Numb is the story of an amnesiac who can’t feel pain, his accidental rise to fame, and his pursuit of his past.
I’m sure you know the value to a debut author of a kind word attached to a well-known name. If you were to extend such a courtesy I would be forever in your debt. Few authors are as well-known as yourself, and fewer still have the fanatic fan base which you inspire. However, this brings me to a topic I hope you don’t mind me raising. I am concerned that you are over-exposed. This stems from two sources: the breakneck pace of your publishing history and your constant presence in the media limelight.
First, I don’t know if you are aware of it, but you barely let one loaf cool before you pull the next from the oven. Inherent Vice trampled on Against the Day‘s heels which trod upon Mason & Dixon which tribbled Vineland which thraggstoned Gravity’s Rainbow that truglaugged The Crying of Lot 49 what slugwormed V. All this in only forty-seven years. Mr. Pynchon, please slow down. We need to catch our breath.
Second, have you heard the one about the narcissist’s parrot? Its cage was a fucking mess, and it was half-starved to death, but it still wouldn’t stop talking about itself. My point is: let someone else get a word in, will ya? You’re an amazing talent, and you’ve written more about, well, everything, than most authors could do in ten lifetimes, but do you have to do so many interviews? Do you really need even more face time on Leno? Wasn’t dating Oprah enough, did you have to sit in the audience every day for six months just to wave copies of your books at the camera like that? Thomas, enough.
Please let me know if you would like me to send you a copy of Numb, and thank you so much for your time.
PS. Please stop calling me.
I never tire of this.