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A Case Of The Bookworms

By Tom ďPresident of the Tom Waters Fan ClubĒ Waters   
March 2, 2003

Writers are an odd, superstitious, egomaniacal, paranoid, explosive bunch.  I could tell you that Iíve never used my writing for a pickup line, a free meal, an excuse to be moody, or as a way to distinguish myself from the madding crowds, but Iíd be a bald-faced liar.  That some important bard once said that writing is the business of lying is beside the point.  In the seven years since possession by typewriter, Iíve been through more literary circles than a lab rat on amphetamines.  Itís been quite a lightning round of Chutes and Ladders, from working on underground papers that were six feet under before the print went cold, to college news, literary magazines, summer guides, quarterly supplements, community monthlies, and anything in between that you can think of (that doesnít pay).  Like a freak show, each subset has itís own frightful features, and every genre has its own angle-representative.  What follows is an appendix of the Hemingways and the hacks Iíve tangled with.  Keep in mind that my own ingredients contain the worst of all of these.

Pioneer Man is the self-professed innovator who believes (in his mind) that he will single-handedly deliver what will be The New Original Fiction.  Like nothing before he has created something so phenomenally, ingeniously, individualistic that heís a bit nervous to even show you a sample.  If you stick around after the brain-fellatio wears off, you find out that the enlightening goods arenít much more than crappy haikus that a six year old would make a spit-ball out of after writing or self-revealing short stories without and ending. 

Collaboratrix is so engrossed with so many projects that he only has time to sketch one out for the two of you in the future.  Between novels, childrenís fables, sonnets, and a four-way workshop tone poem relating the metaphor between ovulation and public drinking fountains, this guy is very psyched to be juggling so many ideas.  That you never see a finished product is of no consequence, but heíll assure you that once the screenplay for a spray cheese documentary is spell-checked, heíll run it by you.

 Altered State is firmly entrenched and moved by the works and writing ethics of  a) Hunter S. Thompson,  b) Allen Ginsburg, c) pick your junky.  What they fail to realize is that if they ever read one of their guruís works while in a remotely lucid, sober state,  theyíd find it to be misguided, jumbled, ping-pong-balling pap!  After tearing my hair out by the roots through twenty pages of ďNaked Lunch,Ē I threw it into the river.  Writing isnít so much a profession to these barbituate-gobbling gonzos as it is a means of flash-frying a stalk of brain stems and trying to riddle through what happened the day after. ďDude!  I wrote like this on coke, I wrote like this on pot! I wrote like this on absinthe!Ē  Well, put Ďem all together, edit the boring parts, and maybe we can fill up a cocktail napkin using a marker.

WriterMan is drier than a cork in a dehumidifier.  He just up and decided to be a writer.  Heís been going to school for six years and reading digests and thinks that it might be a nifty way to live.  Though heís never written anything before, and has nothing presently although heís going to one of the best literary schools in the country, heís sure that the Great American Novel is forming as he speaks.  After all, books canít be that hard.  Just whip one up like a deviled egg and they strap it onto the best-seller lists, right?  Youíll find a lot of these guys in life.  They should have a nametag with one of those coupon disclaimers at the bottom: cash value-1/20th of one cent.

Sensitivity Squared is apt to burst into tears if you criticize his spoken-word homage to the season finale of ďCheers.Ē  This guy represents every single stereotype thatís been hounding poetry for the last 200 years.  Melancholic over super-market checkout girls and melodramatic about bus stop chivalry, S-S reads his cathartic transformations in either faux-Shakespearean  trills or an ominous, haunted baritone (give me a moment to remove the sarcastic tumor from my armpit).  Since Iím not a big java slugger, Iím lucky enough not to see these phonetic amoebas on the coffee-house circuit.

 Saving the best for last, you have me, the prototype and culmination of all thatís delightful about our dialect.  Since I know Iím great, I donít feel the need to constantly reaffirm it to complete strangers.  Iíve won a comfortable number of awards, have an impressive backlog of work, and after finding my writing voice and taking lessons, Iíve uncovered four more octaves.  Nobodyís ďlike nothing ever before,Ē but itís pleasurable just to put an original spin on things.  If and when I break into larger publication, I dearly hope that most of the literary leeches and bottom feeders have tapered off.  Because if they havenít and thereís one attached to my nipples, Iíll blowtorch the bastard off.



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