A popular proverb in LOGO says, “FD 200 BK 300 FD 100.” But sometimes you can simply type in “HOME.” That’s more or less how litblogger Edward Champion feels today, as he asks aloud why he isn’t more famous than Kate Braverman.
After all, his 2004 San Francisco Fringe Festival play, Wrestling an Alligator, was hailed as a failure, Champion says, by the evil demons who live inside his right shoulder. His less well-known 16mm film, Servant of Society, was shot while he was a film student and never completed. Meanwhile, his blog, Return of the Reluctant, “is unknown for the collection of ravings that it is.” Champion has tried to write novels and short stories for years, only to collect rejection notices for the ones he has actually bothered to finish and put in the mail. He can’t even get regular work writing in newspapers, much less low-paying websites. So why isn’t he better known?
“I’m just another blogger,” Champion says. “I don’t think people understand my sense of humor, much less the occasional personas I create. But it’s probably because I’m just not that good of a writer.”
He’s dressed in a T-shirt that one might imagine on a teenager and jeans that don’t appear to have been washed, with a ratty wool coat as a carapace. He hasn’t bothered to shave because, he tells me, “the Los Angeles Times is run by a bunch of assholes.” He’s balding and he’s a bit tubby and he knows it. And aside from the occasional lay now, he hasn’t had a girlfriend in a while. When I ask him how long, he says it might have been the last time he had to pay taxes.
“I’m 31 years old. Surely, the world must understand my genius by now!”
It’s the lack of recognition that keeps Champion going. Well, that and the free books. The man blogs prolifically with the vain hope that someone will eventually hire him.
“There is not another blogger in the United States who sits between Cory Doctorow and Jason Kottke, next to Derek Powazek and Nick Denton. I have the most literary stature, certainly, of any assclown with an Internet account,” Champion says — a view that certainly isn’t confirmed by his Technorati rating.
“I was a total Internet addict,” said Champion of his initial foray into blogging. “The problem is that I can’t say no. Others tell me I have hubris. But they’re just jealous that I’m so ambitious.”
When I asked Champion if he was interested in drugs, he showed me a framed certificate that he had obtained from a correspondence course. The certificate read: “LITERARY BLOGGER.”
“You see that!” Champion shrieks. “That’s accredited!”
But I’m already out the door. I’m going to string up the editor who gave me this assignment.
“No,” Champion screams as I run to my car. “I’m a member of the LBC!”
Champion stands in front of my 1982 Toyota Corrolla. He does not budge. I beep my horn at him and Champion begins jumping around like a loon, cackling maniacally and begging me to put on the straightjacket. I throw him an early draft of David Mitchell’s latest novel and he then begins groveling for it in the street. I leave Champion in the dust, watching him lick the paper in the rear view mirror.
I’ve been a reporter for too damn long.