Yours, truly

Yours, Truly

The usually kindly, older gentleman inspiring [grading] this work suggested [insisted] on yours, truly injecting a bit more self into the rambling epistles forthcoming from this web address.  Ask and ye shall receive, yrs., truly sometimes says.

Not that yours, truly gives a shit about his grades, or at least so he claims, anytime he gets a chance.  (Besides, yrs., truly is confident/arrogant/pig-headed/reasonable enough to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he will receive an A in this course.  This has always been the result of any reasonable application of effort by yrs., truly[1].)  The question persists, then, of what inspires yrs., truly to expend any energy whatsoever doing something for which he has very little respect.  In fact, several of the upcoming, aforementioned epistles are likely to dig into yours, truly’s general lack of appreciation for the digital age.  Yours, truly disdains the Book, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, the Harry Potter books and movies, the Twilight Saga[2], and whatever the next goddamn thing is that society will attempt to shove down yrs., truly’s resistant throat in an unrelenting effort to discuss increasingly vapid topics in increasingly brief ways with an increasingly diffuse and numerous set of acquaintances, which set, yrs., truly is quite c/a/p-h/r in saying, we would all be better off not cultivating in favor of the pursuit of anything else (including masturbation or staring blankly at a wall, waiting for the minutes to stretch into unobserved lifetimes).

So, why contribute another drop to the ever-expanding bucket of sewage that is the Internet?  One reason, certainly, is the presence of new, young life in the household of yours, truly, and yrs., truly’s subsequent realization that in order to adequately interface with said new life in the years and decades to come, yrs., truly must find a way to open his heart a bit to the recent tech revolution.  Though yrs., truly prides himself on greater than average loathing for the petty and unnecessary bureaucratic trivialities wont to interfere with calm and consistent breath, he also recognizes that his new son is likely to spend a stupendous amount of time on a computer, and is committed to being not only interested in, but informed of and involved with, his son’s doings, a state any reasonable person would quickly recognize as an impossibility without yrs., truly acquiring a greater familiarity and mastery over the aforementioned bucket of sewage[3].

Yours, truly considers keeping a blog on WordPress as his initial foray into this unfamiliar and unwanted virtual terrain (outside of a neglected website created under duress by yrs., truly in response to insistent pressure from his publishers [link disabled]).

But that initial mention[4] of inspiration from on old is also significant.  Yours, truly’s shepherd into the world of pixels falls somewhere between the age of yrs., truly’s parents and grandparents (only one of the latter of which has not already succumbed to what sports columnists refer to as The Great Equalizer).  In other words, it is safe to declare yrs., truly’s shepherd as quickly approaching late-career.  There have been, and in all likelihood will continue to be, moments of low comedy watching yrs., truly’s shepherd [attempt to] work a computer at the front of the classroom.  Yrs., truly hopes it is not a breach of confidence to report that he recently heard loud curses echoing down the hallway as he listened to his shepherd hammer away on a frozen desktop with the vigor (and efficacy) of a Catholic nun disciplining a wayward student.

That moment in particular got yours, truly to thinking.  If yrs., truly’s own motivation was so difficult to come by (anyway yrs., truly was told that it was difficult, but thankfully did not have to birth the boy himself, and has heard there are all sorts of endorphins in the system of a laboring soon-to-be mother, the likes of which yrs., truly wishes could be packaged and sold) what possible motivation could exist for yrs., truly’s shepherd?  Said shepherd has already had a proud, mostly Internet-free, career, and could easily squeeze another few years out of the old ways before pasturing off with the other Indians and dinosaurs and things that we still wish we had.  Why bother with all this crap if you don’t have to?  Yrs., truly is unable to come up with anything salient besides the notion that his shepherd thinks it wise for yrs., truly and his “peers” to have more exposure to online writing than is currently proposed or mandated in our current MFA curriculum (which, despite his own taste to the contrary, yrs., truly considers unassailable logic), and is willing to suffer beyond the pale to provide said exposure.  And so yrs., truly’s shepherd has determined to lurch outside his own area of comfort for the betterment of others.  WWJD, indeed.  And this gesture (gesture is not quite strong enough a word, sacrifice is certainly how yrs., truly would feel about it, were the shoe on the other foot), like most sincere acts of charity, is [unfortunately] unlikely to ever resound in greater glory for yrs., truly’s shepherd (sort of like the nice guy at the bar who got roped into walking his blind neighbor home when no one else volunteered).

But, then again, maybe it is possible for something mutually beneficial to emerge from this desperate exercise.  A moment ago, yrs., truly placed quotation marks around a word that is not dialogue for the first, and hopefully last, time.  (There is no expectation that anyone might factcheck yrs., truly, but he welcomes any and all such attempts.  Quotation marks around words are usually one of the first signs of a weak mind, and besides, they disagree with yrs., truly’s aesthetic.  They are, perhaps, the only regretful moments in Charles Portis’ otherwise wildly underrated fiction.)  Imagine, if you’re able, an MFA community where the students are so lazy and disinterested that they haven’t read the work of their professors[5].  This is yrs., truly’s daily, or thrice-weekly, reality.  Hypothetically, MFAers are people who like to read, which does not give yrs., truly great confidence in the reception of his own work (though he at least now knows not to pitch it to MFAers, but as those self-same degenerates are, by necessity, the first audience for this piece, yrs., truly thinks it might be an appropriate time to recommend The Fires, or Stillness, as good starting points).

But, yrs., truly’s first recommendation would certainly be Breaking Her Fall, a novel related through the first-person perspective of Tucker Jones, one of the most fully imagined and honestly depicted characters available to us in recent fiction.  One amazing thing is that even as the plot cascades from one uncomfortable, emotionally charged moment to the next—it gives away nothing beyond the first page to mention that the action picks up right after Tucker’s daughter (only 14) has ‘performed oral sex on a parade of boys’—the novel is still somehow a strange pleasure to read, a joy really, or as another under-read, under-taught, but still way more famous novelist than yrs., truly’s shepherd described it, ‘A frank, plain-spoken, passionate novel that got its grips on me.  It is, in one sense, a page turner, and in another a true and good story of human frailty and imperfection survived.’  Yrs., truly is c/a/p-h/r in saying that anyone who gives it a chance won’t be disappointed.


[1] Not that yrs., truly has always gotten A’s, reasonable applications of effort once upon a time being pretty scarce in these parts.

[2] Look them up yourselves, or like yrs., truly, play the ostrich and pretend they don’t exist.

[3] Importantly, Online Writing also satisfies yrs., truly’s out-of-genre requirement.

[4] It has been convincingly argued that the first line of a piece should promise something to the reader, and that the remainder of the piece should be a fulfillment of that promise.

[5] Yrs., truly could not be described as representative as he is one of probably only a dozen living humans to have read The Blood of Paradise, a novel so dry that yrs., truly’s own clunky debut seems like a short stroll on a spring day in comparison.

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