copyright © 2004 by Adam Hahn

Workaday #4: The First Chapter of My Novel
by Adam Hahn

Adam is half dressed, seated at a table. Throughout this monologue, he will eat candy, drink soda, and add candy to his soda.


I am a "writer."

When I say that, the word "writer" is quotes.

I don't use "quotie fingers" to show that the word "writer" is in quotes, as that would lessen my apparent gravity.


I am a "writer." (making quotie fingers)


That did not make me appear serious. It made me seem nothing at all like a brilliant and starving artist.

Making "quotie fingers" is like telling you that I am too stupid to make my sarcasm otherwise apparent or that you are too stupid to otherwise notice it.

Both of these things are probably true. Neither should be stated.

I have consulted a style manual, which advises against placing words in quotation marks to indicate irony. It is better to state, "I am a so-called writer."

I cannot say this.

The way to be a fake writer is not to admit that you are a fake writer.

When I introduce myself as a "writer," I know that I am identifying myself as a fake writer, which I am. Whomever I am trying to impress believes I am a real writer, which is a lie.

A real writer creates fiction on paper in exchange for money. I create fiction in real life in exchange for money, food, clothing, oil changes for my Camaro, and anything else I can convince you I need to write.

An effective "writer," in quotes, finds ways to use as much reality as possible in his lies.

These are three examples of unflattering truths I have incorporated into my fiction.

Number One: I have no university degree in literature. Indeed, I have never completed any coursework in creative writing.

Of course I haven't! You can't learn to be an artist. There's no diploma of truth and beauty. So-called teachers of writing are soulless sell-outs who can only instruct their students to become bad imitators in the styles of dead hacks.

Do you see how that works?

Unflattering Truth Number Two: I am, as yet, unpublished.

Here's the lie: Only someone as naive as you could expect great artists to be appreciated within their lifetimes. Creating something new and beautiful requires rejection of everything your contemporaries are ready to accept. If I meet anyone who fully appreciates my work, let alone a publisher willing to support me, I will probably have to stop writing.

Once I have explained this much of my fiction to a wealthy middle-aged woman, she will feel tremendous guilt over reading nothing but John Grisham and Danielle Steele. If she is divorced or widowed and doesn't see enough of her adult children, it is likely she will invite me to stay in her guest room.

Lonely middle-aged women are my bread and butter. They feed me. They take me shopping. They introduce me to their wealthy middle-aged friends who are all equally desperate and gullible.

I rarely ever find it necessary to have sex with them.

Number Three: I have no close friends. Indeed, I find it difficult to build lasting relationships of any sort.

Fiction: In order to create, I must pour all of my energy into my work. I've had intensely passionate affairs, but they all ended when the characters in my novels become more important to me than the real human beings competing for my attention.

This is the part of my fiction I reserve for teenage girls with whom I want to have sex. When I am not accepting gifts from middle-aged women, I am trying to figure out which coffee shops and city parks I can use to meet teenage girls.

I tell these girls not to expect anything from me, which they shouldn't, while I tease them with the possibility of a passionate affair with a brilliant artist, which is completely fictitious. I tell them that they have a better chance than anyone else of understanding me, which is a lie, as they have been selected for the ease with which I can deceive and manipulate them.

To underline my pretense of superiority, I tell them their poetry is shit, as if I would have any idea.

I have sex with a lot of teenage girls, because I am an excellent "writer."

In quotes.


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