Friday, March 12, 2010

Who Needs Friends When You've Got Dead Authors?

People as me how it is that I have such great relationships with famous and often dead authors; many think the answer is found only after computing a complex algorithm containing many variables. But really it's quite simple, I even wrote a book about it back in 1836.

Here are a few excerpts:

From Chapter 1: "Dead" is just a state of mind, usually the state of your mind, while these "dead" authors prefer to consider themselves very much alive. Once you can accept that they are never truly dead (as long as their work lives on and all that junk) then you'll be more likely to be comfortable striking up a conversation with one such author.

From Chapter 2: Read the author's work. Nothing impresses them more. Luckily I went to a public school where they forced me (usually while kicking and screaming) to read these authors and once you know their work it's less awkward talking to them at meetups or on the street corner (unless either of you are currently moonlighting as hookers, then it's still awkward).

From Chapter 6: Have your own ideas and opinions. Authors love stealing these even if they are not currently publishing; one never knows when one will be on top of the world again and when they'll have to use someone else's work and ideas to keep their seat as the king of the publishing mountain.

From Chapter 9: Always be approachable. Along with the concept of ridding yourself of the notion of "death" or "dead" authors, you must also be ready to be approached by one of these authors and be ready for a friendship. These people are very particular, lonely and needy, if you seek them out they will never, ever, leave you alone. Beware - they will take advantage of you at every turn.

Unfortunately, this book didn't sell too well. I think, to date, only 4 copies have sold. So over 170 years only 4 people (and not my family) thought it was an interesting enough topic to spend their money on. But where are all the people who ask me these questions? I guess they'd rather get the free advice from the internet instead of spend 4 cents.

If I were to write an updated 2010 edition of my book, I would have to include the following example of what it's really like to be friends with dead authors. Obviously we all know about Chaucer's poking issues, but here's another example of what it's like to be friends with Shakespeare. I just think it's fair to represent these frenemies with all honesty so that no one feels cheated and demands their 4 cents back.

Phone call, 3am Monday:

Shakespeare: Heyyyyy...

Me: What? What time is it?

Shakespeare: Whatcha doin'?

Me: Sleeping.

Shakespeare: Oh.

(Long Pause)

Shakespeare: So did you see the Celtics play?

Me: It's not basketball season.

Shakespeare: I mean in '72.

Me: 1572?

Shakespeare: Maybe...

(Long Pause)

Me: So I'm going to go.

Shakespeare: Wait...

Me: Why don't you call Chaucer?

Shakespeare: Um...

Me: I'm sure he's up.

Shakespeare: (whispers) He's creepy.

Me: You don't have to whisper, he can't hear you.

Shakespeare: (whispers) He hears everything...

Me: Okay, I'm going. Good night.

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