Part IV: Picasso's Brush
Following the success of my Harry Potter post, which had incited the anger of both Gryffindors and Slytherins alike, I was thrilled to have what essentially amounted to a viral three-peat under my belt. Still, like the great number 12 himself, I wasn't satisfied. I still had that hunger, that drive; what weeks before had been a stupid way to pass time and practice writing had become a defining part of who I was. I needed to blow up again. I had to.
I knew that my fourth post had to be something different. The previous three had all in some capacity dealt with ungrateful and at times terrible boyfriend, and I knew that I needed a new angle. But what? A quick reflection on my college days brought back recollections of my ultimately fruitless times spent in creative writing workshops, and suddenly, I had my inspiration.
Alexander was in the 12-person creative writing course that I took my junior year. While everyone in the class took fiction writing far more seriously than they should have, Alexander was by far the worst. He believed himself to be the next Pynchon, locking himself in his room even on Friday and Saturday night as he labored over a Word document in a vain attempt to unlock the human condition. He also happened to live on my floor.
When it was his week to turn in his piece for discussion, he submitted an 82-page "first chapter" written in the maximalist style of DFW's Infinite Jest, which he had admitted to me he had never actually read. The professor had him give it to the class two weeks in advance so we could digest it properly, and I never read a word of it because fuck that. Throughout those two weeks I often bumped into Alexander in the hallway or the bathroom where he'd inevitably ask me how the reading was coming along. I always told him that I hadn't gotten to it yet because I was busy with other work, but I'm sure he could tell from my bloodshot eyes and cinnamon whisky breath that I had other priorities, and I could see the disapproval in his bespectacled eyes.
I'll never forget the day his workshop finally came when, after I added nothing to the discussion, he singled me out in front of the whole class and asked me if I had anything to contribute. I didn't, of course, and I could feel my face turning red as I sputtered out a sentence something along the lines of "I think everyone else pretty much said what I think."
Looking back, I probably should have just read his piece. But as every writer knows, writers are the worst, and I didn't want to give him the satisfaction. If you're reading this, Alexander, sorry for not reading your piece, but thanks for the inspiration.
I am a creative writing major. I've always had an infinity for storytelling. I was writing dialogue in the first grade and by the time I graduated high school I had penned hundreds of pieces, most of which were roman á clefs in the spirit of Hemingway. A lot of people counseled me against majoring solely in creative writing, but it's my calling.
I'm in a year long creative writing thesis course with nine other students. Admission to the course was selective, and the coursework primarily consists of workshopping creative writing pieces with the rest of the class. Four of the students are poets which can often prove burdensome to the rest of us as they have very little grasp on the conventions of fiction.
Anyway, earlier this week it was my turn to be workshopped. I turned in a 59-page piece that I had been pouring my heart into since the summer, the first chapter of a novel based loosely on a girl I hooked up with during my freshman year. Thematically, it focused on the transience of romance, self-medication, powerful sex, and time. I was really excited to hear what the class had to say.
To start, my professor praised my control of language and use of metaphor. Other classmates lauded the dialogue which has always been a strength of mine, and the only hot girl in the class described it as "raw," so I was riding high.
Then Luke, a sporty douche who writes shitty poems, spoke. He basically tore my whole manuscript apart. He said he found the structure (á la Proust) confusing, the cunnilingus descriptions gratuitous, and the protagonist self-indulgent and unlikeable.
I obviously took offense to this, and asked him if he had actually read the piece or if he was just a "feeble-minded twit." The whole class gasped at this, and he told me I was out of line. After class, the professor spoke to me and told me that if I wasn't able to take constructive criticism then I shouldn't be in the workshop, and if I insulted another classmate again he would fail me. I realize I probably could have chosen my words better, but am I really the asshole here? Luke went out of his way to bash my story in front of the whole class, and it was hurtful to watch something so deeply personal be ripped apart.
Despite my concerns that the post may have been a little too on-the-nose, it nonetheless duped an amazing amount of people, many of whom were keen to point out the difference between "affinity" and "infinity."
Naturally, many of the initial Reddit comments did in fact call the post out for being satire. Many unsure of whether or not to take the post at face value called for excerpts from the piece, which I was all too happy to provide.
For some reason, a lot of people found this more offensive than the original post.
Needless to say, it was another fulfilling journey, even earning me a feature on @menwritewomen and a retweet from Dana Schwartz, creator of the parody @GuyinYourMFA Twitter account, from which I undoubtedly drew inspiration.
The icing on the cake, though, was that some loser even took time out of his day to make this:
Once again, thank you Alexander for being the inspiration behind all of this. I couldn't have done it without you. I still don't feel bad about not reading your piece, though. We were English majors, dude. We already had more than enough to read.
Three days later, I was back shitposting again, and this time I turned to the Animal Crossing community to stir up some trouble. Check out the post that was so bad it was featured on Polygon: The Shitpost Diaries V: More Than a Game.