Monday, June 26, 2006

Hodgman, Who's Hesitant to Endorse Homicide

McSweeney's dips into its archives today for a column by John Hodgman, of World Domination fame. I think I can call him an acquaintance, in the sense that he would say hello to me if we found ourselves in the same bodega, though I'm not sure if all those clever Mac ads are going to his head. (He's the PC.) Good-natured guy, so probably not.

In any case, he answers questions from readers in the McSweeney's piece, and I got a good laugh out of this exchange:
Sarah asks: I recently joined a writers' group. Twelve aspiring novelists, short story writers, and essayists meet biweekly to discuss our works in progress. During our meetings, I tend to shut myself off from the rest of the group and fester in a homicidal rage during which I imagine using my pen to stab each of my peers in the jugular. In the movie "Casino," Joe Pesci uses a pen successfully to do just that. Is my aggression a worn out cliche produced by viewing too many Scorsese movies? Which pens work best for you?

John Kellogg Hodgman, Former Professional Literary Agent: Writers groups are a wonderful way for a writer to meet and learn from his fellow artists, determine that he is smarter than them, form silent alliances against one or two especially hated colleagues, seek to become the most popular in the group, nurse a silent crush on another, prettier writer, and have his work reviewed by a collection of bitter amateurs who wish him only the worst. But I have also wondered: why should someone join an informal writing workshop when they could instead pay perfectly good money for the exact same experience at any one of hundreds of university creative writing programs across the country? But that is my question. To yours, I have no answer, as I advocate murder only rarely.


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