Sunday, February 23, 2014

About The Author (Infinite Monkeys)

About The Author:

Jim had, quite literally, done nothing in his life other than finish his novel, a simple (if starkly boring) existence that led to this author bio on the inside of the back cover of the book that would go on to be a best seller:

About the author: Jim wrote this novel.

Jim, seeing this in black and white for the first time when his advanced copies arrived, felt as though it was wrong and the wrongness leapt at him from the dustcover, stared at him in black and white, again, quite literally.

About the author: Jim wrote this novel.


The truth, it is said, hurts, but this (unlike other things in this story) is not literal


The truth does not stab or cut or slice or even punch you in the stomach like your older brother did using your own hand – why you hitting yourself?—although that is a fairly apt metaphor for what the truth could do if it was physical.  The truth, instead, taunts. Or maybe haunts.

He began to read other author bios, to see what they were up to – haunting bookstores and libraries, picking books out at random.  Romance novels, how-to guides historical biographies of people he’d never heard of (and the irony of looking in a biography for a much shorter biography, if it was irony, nobody’s ever sure what irony is any more, which itself might be ironic, if you think about it, and if irony means what everybody thinks irony means,  was lost on him), and what he read amazed him:

…lives in Vermont

What the heck was a Vermont? A house? A place? He wondered.

…has a husband

Jim wondered if he should get one of those and where he might. Online?

when not writing

HUH?

…two dogs, four children, and a parrot that thinks it’s people…

Which sent him to the encyclopedia to figure out what a parrot might be and whether that might be a way to kill two birds with one stone: get a ‘parrot that thinks it’s people’ and a husband all at once. 

He was then embarrassed by his use of that old saying once he found out a parrot is a kind of bird.

This grew discouraging.  All these things and people and places and he wasn’t even sure what was what!

“You’ve never done anything?” his publisher asked him, when Jim phoned him to discuss this.  “I thought that author bio was some sort of literary thing, you know, e e cummings?”

“Who?” Jim asked.

Jim had by now finished his second novel, but refused to send it to his publisher until he figured this thing out.  He sat up late one night, typing bio after bio:

Jim spends his time, when not writing,

HUH?

Shark-hunting off the coast of

He had to look this up using Google™

Bora Bora

And (quite literally) 53 others, biographies that gave him a wife and a son and a turtle, not necessarily in that order, and sometimes their names were interchangeable so that the turtle was “Rita” in a few.  Biographies that had him living in California, and New York City, and Austin, Texas, and other places he picked out of a map that he’d hung to his wall, a map that said it was of the “United States Of America,” a country Jim sort of thought he lived in.  Biographies that gave him unusual hobbies: he was a numismatist, a philatelist,  he went herping, stargazing, he collected taws and Codd-neck bottles, he had once found an entire T-Rex tooth on a trip to South Dakota with his now-estranged brother, and as he wrote that one it didn’t bother him at all that neither the tooth, nor the T-Rex, nor South Dakota, nor his now-estranged brother were things that he wasn’t sure had ever existed.

He grew increasingly despondent when he was not increasingly desperate.  One day, standing in line at a fast-food restaurant

The author enjoys a cheeseburger now and then but does not care for French fries. However, the restaurant he goes to most frequently out of habit does not serve onion rings, and for some reason the author never goes to the other restaurant, which is not so far away

he stared at the cashier, a girl or woman who appeared to be just about 18 years old.  He wondered if she would be his daughter – she was probably too young to be a girlfriend or wife – and wondered if she had a boyfriend that perhaps he could go into business with on the side?

The author makes log cabins with his son-in-law, when not writing.

But he couldn’t bring himself to ask her that (even though he was very very close to doing just that “Will there be anything else?” she’d smiled and he’d almost said “Yeah, do you have a boyfriend who you are going to marry and does he build log cabins?” before he’d said “An apple pie, please.”)

He asked his publisher what that man did on the weekends, what life he had, whether he had ever entered an equestrian competition and finished fourth but was pleased to have just competed?

“I think you need to get out more,” the man had said, cryptically, on the other end of the phone from whatever place he lived in that Jim didn’t really believe could exist.

The author once stayed outside for 17 consecutive days, eating pizza he had delivered from time-to-time and drinking rainwater.

He didn’t learn anything and didn’t really feel the experience was valuable.  

Pumping gas one morning he saw a beautiful woman and darted over to her.

“Marry me,” he said.

“Excuse me?” she answered, backing away slightly.

“Marry me,” Jim told her.  “Marry me and move with me to an abandoned ski chalet in Boulder, which we will remodel to serve as a home for our two children, a daughter named Marie because she was born in France where you studied life drawing, and a son named Brady because he was my favorite quarterback as a kid.  Marry me and honeymoon with me on the Amazon river in Brazil, where you will be bitten by a snake and have to be airlifted out but you will survive and will have joked on the helicopter that this will make for a great toast at our fiftieth wedding anniversary.  Marry me and insist that we rescue the pets nobody wants, an entire floor of our house devoted to iguanas and tarantulas and Madagascar hissing cockroaches.   We will together enjoy cooking meals for your extended family, or sometimes travel to our beach house in Malibu, or simply live on the farm where you grew up in Kansas.”

“I think you need some help,” the woman said, not unkindly.

The End.


About the author: The author’s whereabouts are currently unknown.  He was last seen running into an airport, hand-in-hand with an exceedingly attractive woman who, it must be said, regarded him with an expression of equal parts disbelief and amusement. They were carrying several bags of marbles and clutching a brochure that said something about the South of France.  His next book may never come out.

2 comments:

Rusty Carl said...

I'm really interested in what his novels are about. I mean, he didn't know what Vermont is? Or a husband? Yes, I'm very interested in this man's novels.

The story I just read here though, that was pretty great.

Briane P said...

What, you think a guy can't just make up a story and write about it without having experienced something?

I think you're forgetting a little somebody named "F. Scott Fitzgerald." Although it's not generally known, F. Scott (or "Effsy," as his friends called him), existed in limbo for the first 1/3 of his life, during which time he wrote "The Great Gatsby." Originally, the book was intended simply as an homage to Wagner's "The Ring Cycle," although admittedly the references were somewhat oblique, as F. Scott had never heard of "The Ring Cycle" and was unaware of its existence.

It's all right there in Wikipedia.