The cat is out of the bag. This post marks the end of Return of the Reluctant.
If you’ve been paying attention to Publisher’s Lunch, I’m happy to report that I’ve received a $750,000 advance for my debut novel, Blog Days. Apparently, the name “Return of the Reluctant” now means something beyond the blogosphere. My name is being susurrated at cocktail parties. I’m getting more blowjob offers from random strangers than ever before. Hell, even Christopher Hitchens wants to blow me, but then he didn’t bother to check my political dossier and he’s in desperate need of attention. But it’s the thought that counts. And of course, a gentleman never kisses and tells. If I had been hired by Nick Denton right now, then I would definitely inform him to go summer where the sun don’t shine. (In fact, just for the hell of it, because financial emancipation unfurls the opportunity for a certain truth, I will. You heard me, Denton! Summer!)
Anyway, after the success of my groundbreaking essay “After Blog Life,” it has been decided by certain big names that what the world really needs is a salable and poorly plotted novel about a 31 year old prematurely balding, San Francisco-based litblogger trying to figure out what to do with his life, but finding a TV movie-friendly existential direction through the plot device of a man named Cat Stigmata and several podcasts produced for a better tomorrow. The marketing people have asked me to gain weight and develop perky man-boobs for my bookstore appearances, while also making tedious references to sodomy throughout the text. Because, you know, that’s the cute and hip thing to do. Normally, I wouldn’t do this. But hell why argue with hype when there’s so much cash on the table? The good news is that, despite my criticisms of Sam Tanenhaus, the New York Times has been effectively “bought.” They’ll be covering me with at least six articles during the week the novel comes out.
If you people hadn’t enjoyed my site so much, none of this would have happened. Of course, Return of the Reluctant will continue in another form. Two women, whom I understand are both Amish and nymphomaniacs, plan to take over the site while I spend my free time blowing spitballs at the people standing in the unemployment line. In fact, I may even take some of the $750,000 and form spitballs from these George Washingtons.
But before I officially retire from blogging and become an overpaid hack (Tito Perez and Scott Esposito have accepted the positions of personal assistant and part-time pamperer, respectively), let me offer you an excerpt from one of the chapters, all in the interest of filling up the coffers:
Newtonette emailed me today. She said that she’d meet me in New York and discuss what percentages of the “litblogosphere” we owned. So that’s what all this “web log” business boiled down to! That’s why Mink Sorvo and Leela Lulumi were such good friends with her. In the end, it didn’t boil down to Technorati ratings or the emails you answered from attention-starved writers. It came down to brass balls and the deals brokered in Brooklyn dives.
I was new to this “web log” business. So I agreed to the terms. So long as I didn’t venture into New York, so long as I stayed on my side of the United States, Newtonette and I wouldn’t scuffle. There would be no Farrar, Strauss and Giroux building destroyed. There would be no Peck-Crouch style brawl captured by the New York Daily News. Newtonette injected a microscopic pellet into my neck and told me that the pellete would explode, releasing poison into my bloodstream if I didn’t leave New York within 24 hours. So I caught the next plane out of Kennedy and I fell asleep watching an in-flight movie of Uwe Boll’s Alone in the Dark.
I woke up when the plane landed in SFO and my mind was racing. I was still suspicius about Mink Sorvo. The man was everywhere, although I didn’t pay attention to what Steve Peanutsize and Justine Extra-Crispy said about him. What Newtonette didn’t know was tht I had formed a pact with Extra-Crispy: a complex agreement that made the Stalin-Hitler Pact look like an eight year old’s party invitation.
I caught on really quick. You betrayed your colleagues or you got yourself sodomized.