One of my options.
I wrote this in May. I think. It’s a little diddy I came up with when I was trying to figure out how to get a job in the UK. (This was before the Home Office and the Border Agency effectively broke my willwith their catch-22 regulations and requirements, by the way.)
Of course, if anyone reading this in the UK needs a good writer on staff for anything, and would like to sponsor me for a work permit, then, please, let me know. Otherwise, I’m working on getting a job in the US – and it’s going surprisingly well – and trying to figure out if I could handle living in Nashville after being in England. (England, for the uninitiated, is a land where the streets are a reasonable size and would not double as a landing strip for a Boeing 747.)
At any rate, this was one of the two things I wrote that I consider in the vein of David Sedaris – just not gay.
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They want this to happen
A while ago, I had a column in the University of Tennessee’s The Daily Beacon. It lasted a semester, and I was kind of surprised when they said they wouldn’t need me around for the Spring semester. I had what you might call a cult following. (Occasionally, someone who looked like they should be in an art class came up to me and said they thought I wrote some funny stuff.)
My columns were essentially nonsequiturs. I didn’t have any desire to report on campus politics, and whenever I talked about what was going on in the Outside World, it was done through heavy satire and a very sarcastic tone. In my defense, the editor never told me that the column had to be about anything. (Never told me anything, now that I think about it.)
No, what concerned me was pop culture and its prevalence in our lives as students. A couple of years before I went into college, my brother made me watch Red Dawn. It was two years before I could talk about it, and, when I finally got over the shock, I found that the only healthy way to express my feelings was via newspaper column.
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This paves a pivotal role in the story.
It just occurred to me that I haven’t put up a link to a story that I actually had published last year. (That’s right kids, if Aaron can do it, so can you!)
“Rocks and Hot Dogs” was a story workshopped in one of my Writing Fiction classes that, a couple of edits later, I blindly submitted to a magazine called Danse Macabre. About a week or so later, I got an e-mail in my inbox that told me that they would publish my story. You can find it here. Hopefully I’ll be able to have more posts with this header in the near future, but, well, that’s up to the editors of websites, isn’t it?
Anyway, here’s the first paragraph to whet your appetite:
Douglas Roth hadn’t written a decent word in over three months. Pages and pages of overly dramatic narration, self-serious commentaries on the human condition, concerned paragraphs dealing with failed relationships and various types of cancer were easy: Everyone on the planet Earth at one point or another suffers from an existential funk or has the extreme misfortune to experience or know someone who is diagnosed with a terrible disease—that’s why his four stories from the past three months had been snatched up almost immediately after he put them in their envelopes. Douglas, though, had always strived to write about something Rare. These Rare things came in a flash of inspiration, usually in disjointed phrases that made no sense and took either a tremendous amount of coffee, tremendous lack of sleep, or tremendous amount of booze to make sense of. Generally, these Rare things were nonsense or had no relevance to anything going on in the modern world and were thus called trite or nonsensical by literatis, but Douglas loved each of them like children and was continuously surprised when someone came up to him in a bar expounding a theory about one of his stories. It seemed that his readers were much, much more intelligent than he was.