Vladimir Nabokov,

Look here. I’m sitting on the toilet, reading a collection of short stories written by the modern literary “greats” — acclaimed MFA creative writing graduates from the University of Iowa and Columbia that no one has ever heard of outside the self-serving microcosm that produced them — and I’m going to venture to say that the shit I’m currently taking has about as much inventive, exhilarating literary worth as the works of these authors. Now, before you dismiss me as a trash-talking charlatan, read the words that follow and judge me by them alone. You can always count on a naïve, dilated asshole for a fancy prose style.

I once believed that it’d be impossible to create a great work of art without some form of enhanced enlightenment; I’m past that now. Presently, I realize that the drug I actually need is whatever natural prescription of Vigorous Life allowed you to write so ecstatically. I need to stop laying on my Tempur-Pedic bed like a depressed worm with no purpose and get up and look at how infinite the sky is and sleep with beautiful women and cry like a baby (preferably separate from sex) and write like the truly insane person I am.

See, I’ve sat in the dreaded writers’ workshop. I’ve felt my eyes wander from the “devastating” piece my classmate wrote about some problematic relationship — his style imitating the same short stories I’m currently debating wiping my ass with — and drift toward the window as I contemplate how I need to take my author headshots before I lose too much hair.

Listen, Teach: I’m never gonna kill my darlings. I’m a writer, not a murderer.

Oh sagacious Vlad, how your writing has plunged deep into the chasms of my temporal lobe, unlocked that perfect pattern of neurons and allowed me to create without inhibition or worry of repercussion. You are the reason I sit here spewing this spontaneous shit. You are the reason I’ve become possessed by this demon called Confidence into thinking that I can actually become one of the greats.

Now look over there: it’s my poor Greek mother reading this article, mouth agape. She’s shaking her head and mumbling about how she’s failed as a parent. She’s joined a faceless Greek Chorus in a back and forth zεϊμπέκικο dance and started shouting at me about hubris and humility.

Listen, Mommy: Hubris is detestable — of course it is — but it’s most definitely not when my pen is to the pad. If I’m not Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Vonnegut, Kerouac and Nabokov all in one, then I am absolutely nothing.

Of course, there is a chance I might not live up to my lofty ambitions! Of course there’s a chance! But since it’s equally possible that tomorrow I might slip on some good ol’ Michigan ice and instantly become a vegetable, I think I’d rather live in this world of solipsized arrogance and see where it takes me.

Now, my word, here comes all the people that hated me in high school to sit me down and slowly coach me through some PowerPoint slides on how much of a douchebag I’ve been historically. “In the grand scheme of things,” they yell at me, “nearly no one in the world is going to read this column — except for maybe a brave psychoanalyst intent on deciphering your madness — just like no one is ever going to read the novel you someday plan to write, you self-absorbed piece of shit!”

Listen, Fuckboys: I say screw any literary world that exists without me in the center of it beaming like the balding, five-foot-eight gift from God that I am, worshiping all of God’s beautiful gifts on Earth and capturing them in prose so that people can laugh and love and make reading & bliss synonymous, before and after my heart stops beating.

I hope you know that I’m not going to die with all of these words still in me.

A Fellow Lunatic

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