Curse of the Tasmanian Devils

Curse of Tasmanian Devils

This is the first day in almost two weeks I feel confident enough to say,


The Australian flu, according to the CDC, although I suspect it originated in Tasmania.  Yup.  Someone has figured out a way to shrink Tasmanian Devils, turning them into microbes breathable by humans.  These past two week, those little devils have been spinning tornados in my stomach and then intestines.  I could hear them laughing as I tried unsuccessfully to silence them with gallons of flat ginger ale and stale Saltines.  Ha, ha ha!

I can remember little whilst horizontal.  A marathon of Law & Order on the telly, the Inauguration, stumbling down the hall to the computer and trying to keep up with email.  Folks, this is a not a good idea.  When the Tasmanian Devils have you, just let everything slid.  God knows who I insulted this week.  Or what senseless drivel I’ve released into the ether of the world wide web.  I’ll have to send a mass email out to everyone I know saying, “The Devil made me do it” and this time, it won’t be a lie.

Now, as to why someone would want to shrink Tasmanian Devils, well, the answer isJanscream simple.  The future of these creatures is tenuous so what better way to save them then to turn them into a virus.  Viruses last forever, mutating when in danger into something even more potent.

Thinking (as you can tell from the above) is also not wise while Devils have you in their grip.   Especially about such weighty subjects as what should my public personae be as I board the Starship Twitter?  What’s my platform? Who’s my audience? WHO AM I?

Having no answers, I decided to consult the experts, those exalted beings in our field, the oracles.  In my case, famous writers.  Luckily The Paris Review has been publishing interviews with authors, poets and playwrights for the past sixty years, reviews that are imminently enjoyable (well, most of them) even when devils dance in your lower bowel. For hours I drank in the words of the great ones as they gave answers to the Review’s so-called “quintessential questions,” i.e., what advice would you give to a beginning writer, what implement do you use, what environment do you write in and, of course, when did you decide you were a writer..

INTERVIEWER: When did you first begin writing?

T. CORAGHESSAN BOYLE: In a class in college. As a junior I walked into an elective class that consisted of all the lame, halt, and disaffected crazies on campus, one of whom was a reincarnated Egyptian princess and had the tattoo on her ankle to prove it. Hallelujah, I thought, this is just where I belong. The Paris Review, 2000

Hey, that nails it for me.  How about you?

Now, how about the all-important writing environment.  Maybe I can’t figure out who I am because I’m not working in the right environment.

INTERVIEWER: What would be the best environment for a writer?

WILLIAM FAULKNER: … If you mean me, the best job that was ever offered to me was to become a landlord in a brothel. In my opinion it’s the perfect milieu for an artist to work in. It gives him perfect economic freedom; he’s free of fear and hunger; he has a roof over his head and nothing whatever to do except keep a few simple accounts and to go once every month and pay off the local police. The place is quiet during the morning hours, which is the best time of the day to work. There’s enough social life in the evening, if he wishes to participate, to keep him from being bored; it gives him a certain standing in his society; he has nothing to do because the madam keeps the books; all the inmates of the house are females and would defer to him and call him “sir.” All the bootleggers in the neighborhood would call him “sir.” And he could call the police by their first names. The Paris Review, 1950

Cat House by the side of the road. Nowhere Nevada. The perfect writing environment?

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