Saturday, May 31, 2008

i agree but i'll do it anyway

This public diary thing is, you know, pretty fucking self-centered. I was reminded of this last week when the Writer's Almanac profiled one of my favorite authors, Michael Chabon. I skipped over to his bio in Wikipedia and read this:

In a 2002 essay, Chabon decried the state of modern short fiction (including his own), saying that, with rare exceptions, it consisted solely of "the contemporary, quotidian, plotless, moment-of-truth revelatory story." In an apparent reaction against these "plotless [stories] sparkling with epiphanic dew," Chabon's post-2000 work has been marked by an increased interest in genre fiction and plot.
Now I'm not a fiction writer. I'm an essayist of blog-common proportions. But I appreciate a periodic reminder that this private/public exercise is often no more than shameless masturbatory musings.

Another bit about Chabon from Wikipedia:
Chabon's first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, was written as his UC-Irvine master's thesis. Without telling Chabon, his professor...sent it to a literary agent, who got the author an impressive $155,000 advance on the novel (most first-time novelists receive advances ranging from $5,000 to $7,500.) The Mysteries of Pittsburgh appeared in 1988 and became a bestseller, instantly catapulting Chabon to the status of literary celebrity.

Chabon was ambivalent about his newfound fame. He turned down offers to appear in a Gap ad and to be featured as one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People." (He later said, of the People offer, "I don't give a shit [about it]....I only take pride in things I've actually done myself. To be praised for something like that is just weird. It just felt like somebody calling and saying, 'We want to put you in a magazine because the weather's so nice where you live.'")
It just makes me happy to know that someone, whose work I respect, doesn't confuse credibility with popularity.

Now back to "sparkling with epiph[enit]anic dew."

5 comments:

I'll send you an internets tomorrow said...

> his private/public exercise is often no more than shameless masturbatory musings.

If it ain't good, then why do it?

...and if it is good, then why are the lights on?!

Menchuvian Candidate said...

uh, I'm sorry, but did you just come out as against masturbation? Them there are fighting words for those of us who have nothing else left, so watch it, sister.

Epiphenita said...

oh, dearie, dear, no.

i just want to be clear if self-amusement IS what i'm doing...i'm not all legs-akimbo pretending i'm teaching sunday school. or something.

and internets guy:
when i said "shameless masturbatory musings" i really meant shameless. as in leave the lights on.

Dr. Ding said...

Ah, epiphenita. Your mere mention of the term "quotidian" makes my heart flutter. And if shamless masturbatory musings is wrong well sister I don't wanna be right.

Epiphenita said...

There are few things more satisfying than being quotidian about the idea of being "quotidian."

Of course, one of those more satisfying activities has already been amply covered in these comments.