Mixed Signa: the Ivy League and Literary Success

Went to a conference today. It was two minutes from my dorm. It was good, but one of my worse habits is my need to compare myself to others and be like them. Not the best thing in writing. Most of the writers I look up to went to Ivy League. Think Kelly Link, Karen Russell, all the dead authors we’re taught about in college literature classes.The humanities chair opened up today’s conference by talking about Thorea. He loves Thoreau and says how he went to Harvard. He talked about the Lysium Circut and the American scholar. Afterwards he talks about how we cannot try to be our role models. We have to let our role models help us be our best selves. It’s a beautiful thought and despite the fact I know it’s true I can’t help but be puzzled by the fact that two hours later we have a keynote speaker who got his bachelor’s from Princeton.

These thoughts filled my mind because I presented my paper on magical realism that talked about Link, Russell, and Ursula K. Le Guin. For years I have felt that I have been fooling myself when I examine the lives of the writers who I admire. Is there any place for a low-income, first-gen with ADHD and mediocre grades in the literati? Or is she destined to always remain the lecturee, never the lecturer?

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Ruddy Buddy

A story explaining why Paul Rudd doesn’t age and is in everything.

Paul Rudd fell onto the designer sectional nestled in a corner in front of the window in the living room that showed the panoramic view of New York City. He was not the young man he once was, though you couldn’t really tell by looking at him.

His peace was disturbed by the chorus to Bone Thugs n Harmony’s “Tha Crossroads.” He prepared himself for the sight of Kansas crossroads, close to where he grew up, this was the office of agent-crossroad demon Katelyn May Phisto. Other clients included: Justin Bieber and Lena Dunham. Her desk was dead center in the deserted, dirt road intersection.
“Take a seat, Paul.”

Mephistopheles flying over Wittenberg, in a lithography by Eugne Delacroiz 

 

A chair appeared in front of her desk.
“I usual come and her and take the scripts, but I have two questions,” said Paul Rudd, crossing his legs and leaning back in the chair.
“Sure, let’s talk for once. We never talk.”
“Why are you able to sit in a crossroad, but if someone makes a cross symbol at you or shows you a cross, it frightens you or hurts you?”
“A cross represents Christian belief. Crossroads have long been a symbol of choice, and they appear as symbols of choice in work that precedes Christianity. Oedipus Rex, Oedipus killed his father at a crossroad.”
“That’s cool!” said Paul Rudd in a way more friendly than necessary, but out of good conscience.
“I am full of trivia.”
“My second question: why Bone Thugs n Harmony?”

 

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Let it be noted Paul Rudd only hears the chorus of “Tha Crossroads.” Not much more than, “See you at the crossroads/So you won’te be lonely/See you at the crossroads…”

“It’s an amazing song, and I love irony,” said Katelyn May.
A secretary appeared bringing files and coffee for Katelyn May. The secretary looked identical to her. Paul Rudd always assumed it was another incarnation of her, as was the receptionist who typed away at a smaller desk a few feet away.

Hecate, goddess of magic

 

“Thanks,” said Katelyn May to her doppelganger secretary. She said to Paul Rudd, her client, “I’ve been around for a long time, and I’ve gone by many names.”
“Were the Olympians real?”
“Listen, Ruddy Buddy, you are not here to hear me divulge my infinite knowledge. This is about business.”
“And I’m glad for that. I need to talk to you about the contract,” said Paul Rudd demurely.
“You want to re-negotiate?”
“Yes,” said Paul Rudd.
Katelyn May adjusted herself in her seat and cracked her neck before she set her hands primly on her desk. “You started out as a kid out of drama school doing Nintendo and car commercials. You are getting one role after another like you wanted!”
“Yes, but I’m on a set 95% of the year, and you force it on me!”
“There’s always a catch. That’s the catch.”
“If I can’t re-negotiate the contract, I want out of it.”
Katelyn May and her two doppelgangers looked at Paul Rudd and lit up cigarettes.
“Paul,” said Katelyn May, “if you weren’t so damn cute and loveable, I would have been a lot harder on you. By taking on all these roles and doing as I tell you, you have a chance of getting back your soul in the end. I don’t have to be so kind. I can send your soul to my boss, and I can take your life right now, like a rug from under your feet.”
“Okay.”

Paul Rudd in Year One

“I may represent you, but I also represent Lucy’s Talent Agency.” She took a pause to lean back in her chair and look at him fondly. “Twenty-five years, but you haven’t aged a day.”
“And I thank you for that.”
“Oh, it wasn’t me,” said Katelyn May. “It was some photographer you met back in the day. He put a spell on the photograph he took of you.” She had a moment to reconsider, “Since he used magic, I was involved, but not directly.”
“What about the photograph?” asked Paul Rudd.
“It ages and you don’t. The photographer is the reincarnation of Oscar Wilde. You know, I had hopes for Oscar’s soul this time, but then he has to use black magic, so he’s going to have to get reincarnated again. I think he’ll be a girl. That’s the only way he’s going to get through it this time.”
“Reincarnation is real?” asked Paul Rudd.
“Provided you don’t lose your soul,” Katelyn May answered, “Otherwise it goes south for eternity.”
“So when I die, I’ll get reincarnated?”
“You’re a good guy. I’ve seen you do some stupid things in past lives that got you grounded. I say you deserve to be let up this time. Reincarnation is a brutal punishment, having to live all over again,” said Katelyn May in a sympathetic way.
Katelyn May handed Paul Rudd two scripts. “You’re going to be in both of those.”
“Are they any good?”
“The one with the main part is pretty good, should make a good buck, provided everything happens as it should. The other one is going to bomb, but it’s just a supporting role, 80 lines.”
“You know a lot. Do I break my contract?”
“I can’t know something like that. All of that is up to you.”
It appeared Paul Rudd understood. With a nod, he said, “Thank you, Katelyn May.”
“We’re done here.”

Cerberus, the hound of Hades

Paul Rudd was back home, on the sectional, with the scripts in his hands. He could hear Katelyn May’s voice, *both of them start shooting next week*.

Katelyn May rested her ass against the front edge the desk and looked out on the endless road in front of her. She said to her doppelgangers, “This was easier when there were only three roads.”
“That was your last appointment for today,” said a secretary.
The three women merged into one before turning into a three-headed dog and going back to Hell.

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

Quote of the Day

Here’s a double dose.

“I want to remember everything. I want to know everything.” – Harriet the Spy (1996)

“If it’s a frivolous, relaxing book, I read every word. But serious books I read on the right-hand side only because I’ve discovered enormous redundancy in any well-written book, and I find that by reading only the right-hand page this keeps me very wide awake, filling in the other page out of my own noodle.” – Marshall McLuhan

Quote of the Day

Another Double Dose of Daily Quotes!

“Impotent atom with desolate gaze
Threading the tumult of hazardous ways—
Oh, for the veils, for the veils of my youth
Veils that hung low o’er the blaze of the truth!”

– Georgia Douglas Johnson, “Lost Illusions

“It’s funny, I have a very dim memory of White Noise. I’ve never had reason to re-read it. It was, I don’t know, 30 years ago. I don’t know much of what happens in that book. I even had a little difficulty recently trying to remember the main character’s name.” – Don DeLillo