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My Life Changed

From Chris Wayan's journal, 1993/6/15?

My life changed after I wrote a worstseller.

I'd been trying for critical neglect, and at least hoping for really shitty sales, but I never really understood what it'd mean if I made the Bottom Ten.

At parties, earnest young writers light up at my name and say "Your writing is really bad. I hate your stuff. I didn't buy your last book either."

"Thanks" I say, basking in the rejection.

Yesterday, Herb Caen didn't mention me in his column.

Strangers walk up to me in my local laundromat--no, I won't tell you where, I need my privacy--they wave these books and notepads and even napkins, asking me "Could you erase your name?" My hand is getting sore from rubbing out all those blue ballpoint scrawls. And the damn napkins always fall apart.

Some writers are hermits who don't care if others read their work. But I care. I write to be unread. I need to know my creations have an impact: that somewhere, people are slamming my books down on remainder tables and saying "Jesus!"... that I inspire kids dreaming of being the next Byron to get a job... that my words help keep Americans loyal to the last line between us and cultural fragmentation: the endangered networks.

Without writers like me, people might read.

Thank you. I'd just like to add--I never dreamed I'd make the Bottom Ten. If I can write a worstseller, you can too. Don't aim for unpopularity--that's not only selling out, it's hopelessly impractical. No one knows what the public truly loathes. Mediocrity follows formulas, but failure--true failure--comes from within.

Just write what you really feel--your unique obsessions, what grabs YOU, and no one else.

And no one else will buy it.



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