My profile on the moon

| No Comments

So I was hanging out in the newsgroups at when my friend the gifted writer Mark Bourne made some kind of self-effacing throwaway comment about the relative modesty of his own accomplishments in comparison to my fiction sale to Salon.

Well, I couldn't let this pass unremarked, and pointed out that he had been anointed a priest in the Eternal Annals of Canonized Literature with a Capital L when his science-fiction story "What Dreams Are Made On" was reprinted in one of those giant English literature compendiums used as textbooks in high schools and universities, Literature and Ourselves: A Thematic Introduction for Readers and Writers (published by AB/Longman). I mean, for chrissakes, his story is sitting there in the same section of the book with Louise Erdrich, Ray Bradbury, Woody Allen, and Mark Twain. And those are just the writers in the immediate neighborhood.

Mark's response was typically droll and to-the-point:

Uh-huh. My audience of bedraggled, bitter, befuddled, beer-breath college freshmen assigned to read my story for class after last night's Zeta Tau Delta annual Breasts&Booze Bacchanalia. Oh, yes, this Canonized Dead White Eurocentric Male will be reeeeaallll popular compared to your larger, more awake Salon readership. Hell, Salon is my browser's home page.
I had agreed with Mark earlier that writing is far more about getting ego-strokes than either art or commerce. He turned that back on me, challenging me to be a man and own up to the immense boost my ego must have received.

So here's what I said:

All right, all right, I'll stop scuffing my toe in the dirt. I fucking rock, and I'm impressed as hell with myself. It's all about the the egoboo, and commerce is more important than art. My wife is having a hell of good time telling people at Readercon that it was 62 minutes from submissiong to acceptance, and I can't get the shit-eating grin off my face. I'm chuffed as all hell, and I don't care who knows it. As I walk down the streets, adoring critics trails in my wake, whilst editors and agents sweep the street before me clear of the tiniest particles of dust lest the sole of my shoe be tarnished with the least mark of uncleanliness. My fans at their own expense are importing blocks of the finest marble from Italy to lay one atop another in New York Harbor until a pedestal rises from the water that itself will dwarf the Statue of Liberty, not to mention the solid gold statue of a benevolent Me at my vintage Underwood that will top it by the year 2015. High officials of our government soon plan to introduce a bill in Congress that would rename the Moon to Shunnworld, and early support indicates that it will pass handily. (Opponents of the Bill will be summarily executed.) Now I shall drop to the stage and do one-armed pushups.

At least, that's how it feels. It's pretty darn cool, I'll admit.

If I were writing this again, though, this time I'd put in the part about how my laurel-wreathed profile is being carved as we speak into the surface of the moon so that at full phase my benevolent, matinee-idol visage will gaze down on the earth like a Caesar from a giant Roman coin hurled blazing into the night sky. I do declare, that's what I'd say.

[ original post: ]

Leave a comment

Featured Book

William Shunn

About This Entry

This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on July 14, 2003 9:19 PM.

Rattle them bones was the previous entry in this blog.

I hate it when that happens is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.