I’m not nearly delusional enough to think that I’ll ever earn a Pulitzer or any of those other shinny little stickers they put on the front of critically acclaimed books. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my name will never be marked anywhere in the New York Times. That’s not what I want, and that’s not just because I can’t have it. I want to write a cult classic. You know; the literary equivalent of “Army of Darkness”. Don’t you just love that movie? That question was rhetorical. This is my BOOM stick!
Anywho, I don’t have the chops to write the great American novel, nor do I have the prerequisite intellect. I have shit-tons of imagination and humor, but when it comes to all those tricky mechanical rules of syntax, my eyes glaze over and I start drooling like a zombie. I’ve got better things to do with my time and creative energy than to worry about whether or not some pompous fool in a sweater vest will consider my work to be in the confines of “masterpiece”. When I started writing, I set my sights on my subjective version of awesome. I want to write books that all the cool kids read.
But how do you do that intentionally? I’m pretty sure most cult classics are accidental. And what is a cult classic? My wife defines it as something that “is loved by retarded nerds but hated by the establishment”. As a side note, if my wife married a retarded nerd, what does that make her? I guess it fits in a way. Anybody that has ever stood on a skateboard can rattle off at least three quotes from “Army of Darkness” but the film was light-years away from an Oscar nod. There’s no accounting for taste.
I’ve had little spikes of success that give me hope. Tales of the Talisman published one of my short stories a couple years ago and Martian Lit will be publishing one this coming March. Both publications are well received by nerds. I’ve published two books so far and in total, I’d guess that at least one thousand bona fide nerds have read them. The reviews are promising. I made my first book, Trailer Park Juggernauts, free this weekend and it shot up to 17th place out of all the free science fiction books available on Amazon (at which point I might’ve squealed like a little girl). Out of all the free books that Amazon offers, I made it into 655th place. Considering the fact that they offer something like nine hundred thousand free books, I think that kicks ass. Seriously; look:
Look, I know that Amazon’s rankings are an equation of sales per a given period of time and my brief spike was due to a short period wherein my work was free. I know that whomever was in 18th place has probably had more success than I have. I also know that rankings don’t matter and I shouldn’t look at these myopic little numbers for validation, but whatever. I was in 17th place so na-na na-na boo-boo, stick your head in do-do.
When Amazon ranks your book and you make it into the top 100, they juxtapose your title right next to whichever book is in the same ranking among the books that aren’t free. When I was in 17th place, I was exactly opposite from something Edgar Allan Poe wrote. When I made it into the thirties, I was across from some author I’d never heard of. But when I was in 52nd place, I was exactly opposite Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Holy shit, there he was. If ever there was a king of “cult classic” it was he. True, Vonnegut isn’t a stranger to critical acclaim, but that’s irrelevant. Thinking I could ever aspire to be half as awesome as that dude is the ultimate delusion of grandeur, but we all need a windmill at which to tilt. Kurt was born more interesting than I’ll ever be; that guy in the Dos Equis commercials bows down to Kurt Vonnegut. His novels are timeless and inspired by real life events that I’ll never experience. Did you know that Slaughterhouse Five was inspired by a subterranean German meat locker in which Vonnegut was imprisoned during one of our world wars? See what I mean? I’m not sure when I’m going to have an experience like that but I can just about guarantee it isn’t going to happen in suburban New Mexico.
All I’m saying is that if and when some esoteric little group of nerds dubs my book a success, I will have accomplished my goal. If any one of the four books I plan two write in the next five years ever becomes a staple decoration upon dorm room coffee tables, right there next to the bong and day-old pizza, I will have attained that status I cherish so much.
Both of my books are free today. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI