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.
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.
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
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
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.