top of page

Re: "Show Me Your Knees"

Tuesday 9/15/20

This person is correct. It's a big part of what is happening and why things are where they are. But damn, this is a special story.

"'Show Me Your Knees'--perfectly written, beautiful, emotional--what an amazing fucking story. This is the thing that no one else can achieve in this business, but they try and it's horrible. It's like a fat guy telling you he's in great shape because he's wearing a tight black shirt. The takeaway, as always, is these others simply don't have the ability to do what you do and that should just be an understanding--no reason for them to be bitter, angry, and to try to side step you. It's a crime that they behave this way. It's genius vs. trying."

I think this reader said that well. There are other things, too. Sometimes it's just total ignorance. These people can be the least qualified of all readers, those the least equipped to have a meaningful, powerful reading experience. To have a life experience. I remarked to someone else the other day that when film was invented, there were audience members who ran. They were freaked out--they didn't understand it. Often--as in, just about always--so-called literary fiction--a term I loathe--has to be pre-packaged drone formula. Which ultimately does nothing for anyone. But doing anything for anyone isn't germane in the context of this industry. But it needs to be. That is the entire point.

A lot of publishing people do not read. What they do is look. They scan. They want to see a reference to a 1920s abstract German painter. A hallmark. The nauseatingly boring MFA factory tone. They don't think--or, again, experience--how the words add up, how the observations stack, they don't feel power as it draws in upon them, they are not laid out--as with a punch to the emotional solar plexus--you might say, because in many ways, for them, this is no different than inspecting a train schedule. Scanning the times. Looking for the same old, same old, a perfunctory checking that the rote, the to-be-expected, is present.

And then, of course, there is the resentment. But there are not more powerful stories. Which should be all that matters.

bottom of page