So I have finally picked up my copy of Dave Eggers's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and am reading it. I am doing so because Master Fob is also doing so and liking the book and thinking I should read it because "it often makes me think of you [meaning me] . . . because of your zany style that Dave Eggers approximates well."
But see, I don't like Dave Eggers.
I'm not sure when I decided I don't like Dave Eggers. I believe I first heard about him in PRINT magazine, in an article about Eggers's line of books under the McSweeney's name. That article changed forever my ideas about book design and I wanted to be published by whoever that guy was.
Or I might have first heard of him when I first saw AHWOSG on the shelf when it was new.
Not sure. But I didn't make the connection between the two for some time.
By the time I ran into his books on such things as Squid and Giraffe, I was both delighted (because I loved their concept) and repulsed (because they were Eggers).
Eggers . . . .
And what of his book I'm reading now? It starts being playful, right on the copyright page.
Hey-- I wanted to do that---
The acknowledgments are more than a sterile list of names.
Now wait just a second----
And his tone swings wildly from breathless to absurd lies to pain.
He even has a humorous story involving a believed-to-be-stolen wallet and getting the cops involved.
And he had the galling nerve to publish his first.
See. That's what the problem is. I hate Dave Eggers because he's like me, and he dared to become successful by being me.
I've spent the last some years fighting publishers because my book Byuck is "zany." But even before I sent it out, I scaled it back so, so much. And it was still too zany!
But compared to AHWOSG, it's practically zany-free! Why can he get away with it when I can't!
It's not right to hate someone else because they are successful. I know this. I'm glad I've figured out why I hate Dave Eggers because it's a crappy reason and I need to knock it off.
He's a good writer.
I like his book.
Nice job, man.
And it's not like I'm a horrible failure. I finally found a publisher for that book and it should be out later this year.
But it's still unnerving. Because what if he is better at being me than I am? What right then do I have to be me? For heaven's sake, the man's make-crap-up tendencies are deliriously like mine and he handles booksignings the way I intended to. It's weird. It's an outrage!
I want my soul back, Dave!
Actually, since I first started writing this post (delayed do to death of computer), I have successfully overcome my former hatred. The man's a mean writer and I appreciate that. And the more I learn about him, the harder he is to hate; he seems like a pretty nice bloke. He certainly doesn't seem like the sort of person who would hate someone for succeeding by being like him.
And hey--he used to live just up Marin from me. Maybe he would like to cross the bridge every other week and join Fob East Bay.
We certainly have openings.
Man, if you sign Dave Eggers on, maybe I'd even join your little writing group. I mean, wow. Dave Eggers. He sure does zany well. Doesn't he go by Theggers or something online? Thdave?ReplyDelete
It's good to hear a little more about your book and other authors that are out there. Now I'm going to have to go track down his work and most definitely yours.ReplyDelete
it's always good to hear about other authors and books, be it good or bad.
Don't hate him. Use him.ReplyDelete
I do believe that you should make sure to point out that editors have liked Byuck and its zaniness. It's merely the illiterate, tasteless, spineless financial persons who don't like it.ReplyDelete
HEY...marketers aren't stupid.ReplyDelete
We're vapid. Get it right.