The Nonexistent Novel of a Fool
Roughly 13 years ago, I told family and friends that I was almost a published writer. That my best-selling novel, a roman à clef Kill Bill-esque-with-elements-of-American Psycho-and-The Belljar-book will blow everyone’s minds. I told would-be fans to wait for it — and that I would be signing their copies, lavish them with free passes that would come with all the celebrity-ness of a budding literature star. Of course, I would tell them while chuckling on my own moxie and larger-than-life ambition.
Fast forward to the present, year 2018, I can shamefully say that my best seller has gathered more cyber dust than actual human fans. Somewhere in a vast and distant virtual realm, my .doc file is still stagnating with badly-written sentences and terrible story lines. I imagine that it is slowly dying without purpose while decaying in adverbs and each time it gets a chance to emerge in the bright screen of my laptop, it weeps with disdain at the additional clichés I excitedly type on it.
“It was a damp, dark Saturday afternoon when I remembered I had bills to pay. As I lay on my bed listlessly wondering about how painfully accurate his words were, I achingly made a grand resolve to never see him again.”
It was an absolute killer opening to my chart topper. And it was just another rewrite of Chapter One.
You see, I had a story to tell. At the ripe age of 21, you’d think wtf does this kid know? I know. But truly, I had gone down so many roads by that age and I was ready for a show and tell. I mean if Stephen King had his goods going at the age of 20, I believed any driven, aspiring writer could have it all too. I was a genius novelist who would mesmerize publishers out of their pants. I got the drama, the right amount of sass, and a shitload of Miles Raymond wit to send agents chasing after me. Because I thought my story was so unique, I was also quite confident that my book would easily make it through the millions of manuscripts being sent to every publisher’s email and that my phone would ring off the hook like there’s no tomorrow. And then *ching!* I would be the youngest, most sought-after novelist of my time.
“Have you heard of Angela Gaddi?”
“Duh, she’s like the Sylvia Plath of our generation”
To be fair to my 21-year old self, it’s not that I was starved for fame. If anything, I already pictured myself as a reluctant celebrity (who secretly loves the attention of course).
I simply wanted to tell my story. Regarding the attention part, yes, I wanted people to pay attention to what I had to say. Call it ego, call it stupidity, call it whatever you want but the truth is, I’ve been living as an underdog corporate slave for so long, with no potential to reach the top of the ladder and now all I want is tell the world to fuck off because I’m smart enough and human enough to tell you that I matter and that my story will change your life.
But this is me just rambling. I could go on and on about having modest intentions but why do we really write? Why do I need to put my work out there? I could just keep a journal, have cigarette, and call it a day. But where does this lust for legacy come from? If I may say so myself, I’m an introvert who hates social media. You won’t find me on the biggest social platforms and you won’t see any selfies on my Instagram (I’m on it for posterity). You won’t see me in parties or team building activities. I refuse to say I hate people but in some twisted way, I do.
It’s humanity I love and maybe that’s why I write, and well, want to be published. I want to connect with individuals who might feel the same way I do. Knowing there are lost souls out there who just need a story to believe in and that however heart-wrenching life is for them, there is hope.
So what had become of the critically-acclaimed magnum opus of Angela Gaddi? Diddly-squat. Goose eggs. Nil. Because there was never a finished draft. Heck, if sentences could finish themselves, they’d be light years ahead of my so-called progress and would have made strewn something from the “stuff” I started years ago.
Like any other jaded writer, I want still want to make it. But while I’m well aware that I haven’t done much to sacrifice a good nap for extra hours of practice writing, I haven’t lost my drive. I like what Ray Bradbury said about being a writer: Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
Beyond the glory of becoming a renowned artist, I want to put a ring on my writing career by putting my written work out there. Sure, I’m an accomplished, published writer in what feels like a sleazy corporate way, but that’s not the dream. So help me, readers. Help me, dear God. Help me realize it only takes a a moment of sheer willpower to activate this dormant dream of mine. I am ready for the ironic twist of fate.