Have you ever seen one of those to catch a predator type of shows? That might even be the name of one of them. They're this sub-genre of show, and then there are people not on TV, who film themselves as predator catchers, and put that up somewhere. The gist is that very evil people are going to be exposed as very evil people. One of the predator catchers will go online, where an evil person wants to meet a twelve-year-old boy and coerce that boy to go somewhere and get banged by that adult person. The predator catcher pretends to be a twelve-year-old boy in a chat room with the evil adult person. It goes how the predator wants it to go--or so they think--and a meet-up is arranged. This always works the same way. The meet-up behind some convenience store. Somewhere dingy. Outside a Wendy's.
The predator arrives in dirty sweatpants and sandals, with nacho cheese dip on their shirt. They don't even bother to put on proper clothes for their big, predatory rendezvous. They get to the meet-up spot, and who do they find waiting for them, but the predator catcher, and usually the predator catcher's team of guys, who are filming--documenting--the entire thing. The evil predator is caught. There it is. What can you say? You are guilty. The evil predator will attempt to make some excuse, which is facile and as obvious a desperate lie as possible, like that he only wanted to meet with the twelve-year-old boy to tell him this kind of thing is dangerous, and there are lots of bad people out there--unlike him--so do be careful. But then he'll reach into his pocket and a tube of lube will fall on the ground and off he races to his car with his hands trying to shield his face.
This is how it goes with what I call to catch an editor. People like Sy Safransky of The Sun. Paul Reyes of the VQR. Sudip Bose of The American Scholar. It's a practice I followed with Lorin Stein late of The Paris Review where he lost his job for allegedly anally raping people on his desk at work and trading slots in that magazine for sex, which, interestingly enough, a female editor at the VQR--more on her soon--told me she knew all about. Didn't report it. J.W. McCormack of The Baffler. Bradford Morrow of Conjunctions. We can go on and on. Rebecca Markovits and Adeena Reitberger of American Short Fiction. Patrick Ryan and Will Allison of One Story. Marc Berley of Lit Mag. Claire Boyle of McSweeney's. Carolyn Kuebler of New England Review. Wendy Lesser of The Threepenny Review. Ann Hulbert and Scott Stossel of The Atlantic. John Freeman, who may be the worst of the worst. Deborah Treisman and David Wallace of David Remnick's The New Yorker. Christopher Beha of Harper's.
For a long time, I sent these people masterpiece upon masterpiece, written in every conceivable style (and as someone with a publishing track record unlike anyone else's), while knowing that because those works were by me--someone who is everything to the good that these people are not, and someone who never did a single thing to these people--they had no chance. They could be understood as the best works ever received by these same people. It did not matter, because these are bigots. They didn't care about making their venue better. They didn't care about readers. The quality of each work would only increase the envy and hate they felt towards me.
So why did I send these things? Why do I send what I send to a number of people? Why make a point of doing so?
Because this is a variant on that idea of to catch a predator, called to catch an editor. I am putting down the dots--and they get closer and closer to each other--every day that will be connected. The time will come. I am not some other writer. I am not one of these writers who sucks at writing which is the only kind of writer these people put forward, for reasons that have nothing to do with their work. Those writers who can never be anything in this world beyond writers who these people take care of because of their mediocrity, their absence of ability, because they are in the same diseased, evil clique, incapable of producing anything--you could give them 5000 lifetimes with which to work--that will ever truly matter to anyone. That is not me. My ceiling is not under the ground. It's as far up as you can see. Further.
This record is thorough. My own records, as you would imagine, are as thorough as possible. I forget nothing. Every single thing is done for a reason. There is no caprice. There is no acting out of emotion. A time will come when people want answers and are going to say, "Wait? He sent you this? You could have had this for free or not that far from it? And this? And this? And this?" It will go on and on. Each work a masterpiece, each different than all the others. And then that person will also ask, "How do you explain yourself?"
It is all over for you then. You can't say, "Well, I wasn't aware of him, I mean, there are lots of writers." They're as aware of me as they are anything. They're working in concert because of that. They can't say, "Well, he does this kind of writing, and we don't do that." I do every form of writing, better, and more of each of those forms than anyone who just does that one form (poorly). They can't say, "It's not infinitely better than this garbage that we do publish which you've just been laughing at." They can't say, "He did this awful thing to me." They could try. But that quickly turns into "What was that awful thing?" There is no answer, because there was never an awful thing, and we see the things that these people do, which they accept and countenance from each other, and we will see more of those examples.
You want to make it right, try and make it right. A lot of times that's a matter of being less evil. Put evil aside. Do what ought to be done for the right reasons. But if that's not going to happen--or until it does--I am going to do what I need to do, and what you are doing will catch up to you, and everyone is going to know in a very public way that will also end any chance of a future for you.
One of the great things about this blog is that it's one of the only places in the world where people out in the world--that is to say, not buried within the closed-off, incestuous publishing community--see much of anything, fiction-wise especially, that is published by that closed-off, incestuous community, in the examples I put up here. Let's put one up now, shall we? Let's just grab the latest story from The Baffler, which J.W. McCormack wants one to believe is better than anything I've ever written. It's not like I have to dig for these things. We'll just scoop the trash from the top.
How awful is this story called "His Later Life and Works" by Reid Sharpless? Do you want to read that? 6000 words of nonsense, witlessness, with no purpose, not a single thing to offer you. Can you imagine electing to read this of your own volition beyond glancing at it in some exercise like the one we're doing right now? Like, that was something you thought you'd do one night? Or you'd read a book comprised of 400 pages of that? Voluntarily? Why on earth? You never would. No one ever would. Not a single living human being would honestly read this because they liked it. No one. Ever. And you can look at anything at a place like this, and you'll think the same thing. Want to try it? Here we go. And again. And again. Embarrassing dreck that is not worthy of Bunker Hill Community College Creative Writing 101. Can you even imagine if you clicked on a short story excerpt on here, by me, and saw anything like that? You'd think I'd been killed and replaced by a moron who was now pretending to be me. But if you didn't read this blog, you'd never see what this industry puts out there, wherever "there" is--into their sinecures were auto-fellatio and subsequent applause from their fellow self-suckers is the rage. Before you read this blog--because you don't read this kind of thing--you had no idea that this is indicative of what an industry calls great. What it awards. That to people like this, who write things like this, are given book deals, and Guggenheims, and who are written up in high circulation magazines as having one of the top ten best books of fall that you just have to read! And all of it is bullshit centered around the worst writing, of the least actual value, there has ever been. That's all that is here. It's how the entire thing works.
No one ever believes those guys who flee the Wendy's after their lube falls on the ground and they race off with their hands in front of their face. They have to change their name and move far away. Eventually they're recognized again, and they have to do it all over.
What's untrue here? Not a single word. And they know it.
If you are out there and you do not suck, and you are a decent person, and you actually care about writing and what it means to read, or can mean again, but you are too scared right now to do anything--or to do the right thing even on a micro-level--about this system despite you also knowing the total veracity of all of what I'm saying here, to you I'd say you're a very valuable person. This is going to change. It's not going to stay like this. It's rotten through and through, as you know. It's just a secret right now, or to the best that these people can keep it a secret. You are part of the solution. Don't make the choices you make because you're scared of reprisal from these people. Their attempts, if they even make them, will only serve to unmask them and put them on display for others. They are cowards. And they are not smart. And you know what they are as people and why they do what they do. Be part of the solution. That doesn't have to be some way off in the future thing. The time is now. Because this is coming one way or the other.