The Best Text Message I Got This Week
I bet you thought this was going to be a text in which Stephen Colbert invited me to come on his show or something. Nope, nothing like that. Just a noteworthy text from a friend I’ll call Xavier.
I had texted Xavier to thank him for giving me some advice about the book, and for introducing me to a couple of people who ended up being characters. I said I wanted to show my appreciation by sending him a signed copy. This is our exchange:
Xavier: Would you please inscribe it with an impoverished limerick about an impoverished man?
Me: Book was a TON of work, but I think it turned out pretty good.
Xavier: I’m sure it’s very good. In my experience, there are very few people who can start with nothing and create something of that magnitude. Many people who think they’re good at creating things are actually good at a sort of broad editing, starting with scraps and bits and molding and adding to them. To pull something out of the emptiness requires enormous will, strength, and endurance. It pulls back, like it wants to stay formless. It plays tricks and writhes and attempts to circle back in on itself. It stops you at points, be it 40 percent or 99 percent, and hopes you’ll lose attention long enough for it to sneak back into non-being. To wrestle that fucker all the way out until it’s its own thing—a complete object—is remarkable. Independent objects carry heritable traits. In the case of a book, people will read it and be inspired or dismayed or whatever their reaction. Couples will read it and talk about it over coffee. Book clubs will talk about wealth. Aspiring creators will have new ideas. In some minds, it will link disparate concepts that needed linking or change their opinion and votes on regulation. All creation shares this gift of inheritance. You’ve done this. It’s now it’s own thing. Now is the next hard part, which is giving it a sort of free will. Allowing it to be in whatever context without you. Anyway, you’ve done a good thing Brother. Go for a swim.
Me: What an amazing message! Too kind, but thank you.
It is amazing, isn’t it? But I’m not quite ready to let the book go feral yet.