Lately I’ve acquired the habit of reading before bed. Though in the back of my mind I worry that its sedative properties signify a lack of interest, I do it anyway. My book of the week is a big, bad Gothic horror novel, Uncle Silas. I must admit it is at times a bit dull. After all, my sensibilities are 21st century, not 19th century; a book can’t be wholly exciting all the way through. But then suddenly a ghost appears and I’m trilled all over again.
Last night I made the mistake of putting my novel down and reading this article right before I turned the lights out, which was a big mistake. It bothered me so much that I laid awake for hours. It’s an exposé written by a Columbia MFA student who, along with her fellow classmates, was propositioned by the disgraced writer James Frey to write the next big YA novel. I didn’t exactly know which fact disturbed me more, the very existence of the Full Fathom Five factory or the very fact that anyone in their right minds would give their ideas away to such an opportunistic man. In the article, you’ll find its disgraced subject possesses a rather pedestrian taste in literature, especially in what he finds to be “transgressive.” He comes across as a rather cocky human being with nothing but good things to say about himself.
Most of all, it’s a sad, depressing look into the reality that writers face these days. However, it was good to have stumbled upon an alternatively hopeful message.