Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mama, Don’t Let Your Boy Grow Up to Write Fiction

(Before I begin the usual cynical, curmudgeonly, angry dispensations known as “Bookfraud,” I want to thank everybody for their extremely thoughtful wishes regarding Baby. I’m touched by your kindness, and if you sent a check along with your wishes made out to “Cash,” it would be perfect.

Really, much thanks. Wife is touched as well.)

No man is a hero to his valet, and no father is a hero to his week-old son. At least when it comes to changing diapers.

I’ve learned this and quite a bit more in the seven days that have marked my fatherhood. For instance, feces can come in a delivery method known as “projectile.” Also, I’ve been taught the valuable lesson of what breasts are really made for; I liked my prior ignorance, however.

During one's initial days of parenthood, everything besides Baby disappears besides the side of the road — news, blogging, writing, eating, showering, etc. The weird thing is that one doesn’t notice, much less mind.

Baby, if astronomy is destiny, has a good literary pedigree, being that he shares his birthday with Vladimir Nabokov. It’s also one day prior to Shakespeare’s birthday, and even though Nabokov hated Shakespeare, being 1/100th as talented as either of these giants would make Baby very talented indeed. (Not that I’m going to push him to be a fiction writer or engage in any other type of parental abuse).

There are other literary parallels with being a parent. For instance, a week after Baby is born, Wife and I are still excited, yet everybody else remains exponentially more excited. This has been much like my experience writing and trying to publish a novel. Once the reality of writing the damn thing hits you, you’re not psyched as you once were, but everybody else around you is thrilled, because they don’t have to work on it.

Nabokov: every writer's daddy

So I present to you a list, the cheapest, most down-and-dirty means of producing a blog, which, if you are a close observer, I have not done in the past week. I have good excuses, which are that I’m still upset about what K-Fed is going to do after the divorce, that Sanjaya got the boot, and yadda yadda yadda let me sleep i just want a few good minutes of rest god kill me now if this gets worse

Top 10 Reasons Having a Baby Is Like My Experience in the Fiction-Writing Business

1. The baby cannot communicate what he wants, except in the crudest, most elemental ways, much like an editor.

2. When he does not receive what he wants, be it nourishment, sleep, human contact, attention, or warmth, Baby gets agitated and becomes inconsolable, much like a writer.

3. Baby gets constant attention from all sorts of strangers who make unreasonable demands on his time, much like a literary agent.

4. When Baby Bookfraud is upset — when Wife and I take off his shirt, or he’s demanding to be fed, or he smells my breath — his face scrunches up into a lobster-red ball of agony, his mouth open to full width, chin quavering. He screams at about 120 decibels, demanding that his incomprehensible yells be taken into account by the world at large, giving him the perfect temperament to be a literary critic.

5. Everybody wants to see and hold Baby, but nobody wants to take care of him in the middle of the night. Everybody wants to read and hold my novel, but nobody wants to say how much it sucks.

5(a). Codicil to number 5: Every day after the baby is born, you love him more. Every day after you finish a novel, you hate it more.

6. Trying to console Baby is rather like trying to explain a story in workshop. One might as well be negotiating with the sidewalk; no matter what I say, he simply cannot understand, and neither will those chunkheads who simply didn’t get my fiction in grad school, not that I’m bitter, for that would be a terrible example for my newly minted son.

7. The baby’s whimpers, groans, and grunts are largely indicative of nothing more than gibberish. My novel’s similes, metaphors, and allegories are largely indicative of nothing more than gibberish.

Role model

8. In his estimable opinion, there is nothing worse I can do to my son than change the diaper, despite the fact he was wailing because he needed someone to change the diaper. This circular logic is quite similar to the publishing business.

9. I seem to be constantly checking on my sleeping newborn, as his stillness sometimes scares the bejesus out of me. I am constantly fiddling with my novel, as it’s crappiness scares the bejesus out of me.

10. I’m doing the best I could.