I’ve been writing fiction for a really long time, though not without hiatus. I occasionally go through crises of faith with it, because both market-wise and creatively, this is probably one of the worst periods for fiction in America, possibly ever. After The Baby was born, I found my worldview and my time so altered that I felt I couldn’t write it any more. I didn’t see things the way I used to, and I also lacked the acres of time needed to get into a fiction “groove”.
That’s the biggest reason why I channeled my literary ambitions into this blog, because it satisfied my desire to write and didn’t require me to lock myself in a soundproof vault for 12 hours. For a long time, fiction was such a slog for me and with so few avenues for exposure, I simply had no desire to write it any more. It was quicker and much more enjoyable to write funny ha-ha’s here.
Lately, for reasons too varied and arcane to get into here, I’ve decided to dive back into fiction. I’m working on a novel I’d all but abandoned a few years ago when it hit the 100 page mark, because I think the idea behind it is still relevant. I’m trying to power through an admittedly sub-par first draft so I can revise it and hopefully finish it some time early next year. I’ve been feeling really good about it. I’ve received lots of encouragement. I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel.
And then I read this and felt like throwing the whole thing in the garbage. Because when the fiction world can still stomach a vile specimen like James Frey, do I really want to associate myself with it?
For those of you don’t want to read the whole article or don’t enjoy vomiting, I’ll give you the gist of it. It’s a piece in New York magazine by Suzanne Mozes about Frey, who you may remember from such frauds as A Million Little Pieces (the “memoir” that turned out to be largely made up). What’s he been up to, other than not acquiring any sense of shame? He’s established a company called Full Fathom Five.
The firm specializes in YA fiction series, on the principle that if you sit a thousand struggling, desperate writers in front of a thousand typewriters, eventually one of them will write the next Harry Potter. It is the fiction equivalent of a veal pen, and is as much of a shell game as anything Bernie Madoff ever cooked up.
Continue reading A Million Little Pieces of Crap