Exhibit 17.14

There was a question asked in the comment section of the last post. Shockingly it was not ‘Who is Julio Pimental?’ but instead a sincere question about writing. I am much more qualified to answer the question about Julio Pimental, but, sadly, these things aren’t up to me.

The question:

Do you think that if one is an aspiring writer and his or her writing style is more like that of Meg Cabot (author of The Princess Diaries) than of anyone else, he or she should abandon all dreams of literary greatness and resign himself or herself to a life of prosaic high school teacherhood?

Anonymous in Albuquerque

Okay, so I made the name up. Still, while I could have passed something like this onto Anders Landers (who would be equally adept at fielding the Julio Pimental question, by the way), I decided to answer it myself. It’s a good question.

My answer:


Well, I would say there’s no dichotomy there. Teach high school. Don’t teach high school. Write literary fiction. Write popular fiction. None of these things (even the last two) are really mutually exclusive.

Nor are they necessarily things one should ever have to resign oneself to. The only bad choice, at least as far as writing is concerned, would be to do something that doesn’t interest you (a different, smarter person would probably substitute “make you happy” for “interest you”).

The rest of it just stuff (stuff to pay the bills, stuff to satisfy your ego, stuff to keep you busy, etc.) Most of the time the writing is just stuff, too, but if you’re writing what you want to write, it will at least be your stuff. And if it’s your stuff, you’ve found a way to put a little bit of yourself into the world.

I have no doubt most people find something similarly special in their lives (more than a few from teaching high school, no doubt).

It’s a good thing though, the only true thing, really, and it exists outside of publications or conceptions of “literary greatness” or even whatever one does for a paycheck.

You do that, you’ll be alright.

Thus ends the first installment of my new favorite segment on this blog: Adam Peterson answers random, anonymous questions.

I’m not in any way being facetious. I enjoyed this.

So that was my answer. I thought I’d post it because, like I said, it’s a good question and I didn’t figure anyone would ever see it in the comments. I also know others probably have answers they’d like to share. Okay, I don’t know this or even suspect it, but it seems like the thing to say.

Feel free to ask your own random, anonymous question on future posts. If you don’t, I’ll just keep writing about clowns.

I’m still sad about the clowns.

3 Comments / Posted in Answered Questions, Julios, Writing

Exhibit 17.13


* Did you know The Cupboard has a blog? I’m always the last one to find out about these things. It’s right here. We’re still trying to figure out what it will be (other than awesome). I haven’t written anything for it but that’s only because Dave hasn’t told me how to post. I’m not certain, but I think he wants me to stay away lest I make everyone sad or post black-and-white photos or randomly name drop Kansas City Royals.

* I would do all of those things if given the chance. You’ve probably noticed.

* I have three Flasher pieces in the new Salt Hill which you should pick up here for reasons that have nothing to do with me and everything to do with it being a beautiful book. There’s a lot of fantastic writing, too–and then my lucky pieces which are mostly notable for coming from a manuscript I keep forgetting about. If you’re curious, in these pieces the Flasher “is asked for change,” “tries to be a nudist,” and “tells a joke.” That nutty Flasher.

* I think this is the end of the Flashers. This despite me presently recapturing my love for writing the word “Flasher.”

* Speaking of The Cupboard and flashers–okay, not really–Mathias’s volume is coming out so, so soon. Mathias would also like you to know about this.

* You want to click on that link.

* Uninteresting work note: Every so often I’ll listen to an album on a co-worker’s iTunes, usually something new that I want to check out or something I’m surprised to find (Temple of the Dog? Sure, why not). This is fine and good and why our iTunes are linked together in the first place (it is not, despite what I initially believed, a contest. If it were, I wouldn’t have had to make my own “Office’s Best iTunes” trophy).

But then these albums end and I’m at the mercy of whatever the alphabet says is next. This is a problem because it usually takes at least 20 minutes for me to figure out that I’m hearing something new.

I guess I’m trying to explain why I’m currently listening to Smash Mouth. It’s important that there be a reason for this. I need you to believe me.

Especially you, Julio Pimental. You most of all.

2 Comments / Posted in Journals, Julios, The Cupboard

Exhibit 4.16

Countdown to GRE Literature Subject Test.

Days left until test: 2

One sentence long plot synopsises of fake Restoration-era comedies:

The Turn of the World, or, The Good Daughter
Mrs. Tinworthy, a widower, wants to marry her daughter Rosalind off to the wealthy but aged bachelor Count Fritzhughes whose second oldest son, Bensen, has been secretly having an affair with the rosy-cheeked Rosalind with the help of her maid Benvolia who, unbeknown to all but Mrs. Tinworthy, is actually the deceased Mr. Tinworthy’s sister and rightful heir to the Tinworthy fortune which Bensen is actually after when he proposes marriage to Rosalind, an act which causes Mrs. Tinworthy, fearing an impoverished life for her daughter, much consternation until Count Fritzhughes unexpectedly proposes marriage to her, thus securing the Tinworthy’s prospects.

The Orphan Child
An orphan discovers he is actually not an orphan at all, marries.

The Tinker of Piazza
Don Julio is the father of three daughters (Maria, Sophia, and Isabella) who he has, with some success, engaged to three rich but clownish suitors (Fernando, Leonardo, and Gizzeppi) and everything is fine until a poor metal worker, hired to repair the candelabra which is to be the centerpiece of the wedding banquet, arrives and begins to seduce the daughters one-by-one while also winning increasingly large sums of money by besting the suitors with his cleverness in a series of challenges organized by Don Julio who is trying to embarrass the tinker in order to win back the hearts of his daughters for the rich suitors yet ultimately comes to see the hollowness of the suitors who are thrown from the house so that the tinker may choose his bride from among the sisters though ultimately he chooses only the repaired candelabra which he takes back to his beloved Chastia as a sign of their love.

2 Comments / Posted in Julios, Not Popular, Tests