by Shelt Garner
I’ve always been…different. I just have never quite known what I was supposed to do to fit the conventional wisdom. As such, as I continue to work on my Hail Mary Pass of trying to write a breakout hit novel, I find myself contemplating how people who don’t know me might interpret my life to date.
My fear is, of course, that the moment I make it big should I somehow manage to write a popular first novel that I’ll be “canceled” for some drunken thing I did at some point in my life — probably while in South Korea.
On a macro scale, I’ve been pretty innocuous even at my drunken worse, but I also know that everyone on social media has a hair trigger when it comes to destroying people, so, lulz? I’m not perfect. And, what’s more, I’ve pretty much been a drunk nobody loser for way too many years.
If I do manage to do some sort of hattrick and sell a novel that pulls me out of oblivion, I have a hunch that things just aren’t going to work out the way I want them to. Over and above my fears about being “canceled,” I have to contend with the cold, hard reality of ageism.
If I become as successful as I believe I should be, the first thing any interviewer is going to ask me is, “What’s it like being a such a success later in life?” Even though that is an extremely speculative fear on my part, just the prospect of having to deal with that type of questioning requires me to manage my expectations for the consequences of writing a novel that is anywhere near as successful as what Stieg Larsson wrote.
I just have to accept that even if I get what I want, I won’t get what I want. Even if I stick the landing with this novel, I’m probably going to be in my mid-50s before the novel is actually on bookshelves. And that doesn’t even begin to factor in the potential for some sort of political “Fourth Turning” happening just as some sort of technological Singularity makes a human-written novel seem quite quaint.