Do your squirm in your chair at the prospect? You should. The APE’s a beast made up of three horrific parts. Each in undiluted form is toxic—even lethal—so let’s give thanks we seldom encounter them as concentrates.
Most toxic of all: the ACCOUNTANT. In the pure state the Accountant would prefer to peddle widgets than slave over troublesome word-things; he’d rather have his teeth pulled through his dick than sit and write*. He’ll sit at his computer screen and monitor his sales all day, comparing his numbers with those of his foes. At night he dreams of oracles who tell him better ways to move the units he produces.
Only a little less toxic: the PRIEST, a beast who’s obsessed with perfection. He dreams of writing books that readers must put down repeatedly—to gather a tan in the sun of his style or savor a tryst with a foxy young phrase. He’d be happy to spend his whole life on one book, and would sooner watch an infant die than fail to nail a metaphor.
Last up: the ENTERTAINER is an emotional vampire--like the Vegas comedian begging for laughs. He lives for applause; he campaigns for reviews; and he cannot feel loved unless others have failed. He’s the one you take home to your mother—if you want her to croak from revulsion or shock.
Segue to a positive turn in our tale:
Most writers manage to fuse two of three—and in the union white magic occurs. We can not only bear but enjoy the results.
----James Patterson is primarily an Accountant with a healthy streak of the Entertainer. The same, I believe, could be said, of Erle Stanley Gardner, Max Brand, Harold Robbins, Jacqueline Susann…
-----Entertainers mixed with Accountants include Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Danielle Steel, James Michener, Herman Wouk…
----Vladimir Nabokov and Nicholas Baker, have shown how successfully Priests can combine with Entertainers. Especially when peddling sex.
----Speaking of which, I’ve decided to add #Linda Lovelace right here as a hashtag.
Now, two out of three isn’t shabby. But the writers I love best have gotten it on with all three: Charles Dickens, G B Shaw, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, Lawrence Sanders, Tom Wolfe…All were gifted stylists, shrewd businessmen and lively entertainers.
Is it easy? No, it’s not. I doubt it’s even natural. Secretly, we may regard the APE with pure disgust. That’s fine. The trick is to learn to dig having red-hot sex with it. The public will know if we’re faking or having the time of our lives.
Well, now. My friend Bill Kirton just piped up in the back:
“Reb that’s all well and good.—and yet you’ve copped out on the answer. I demand to know how to have red-hot sex with my damned dirty APE.”
Carefully, Bill. Carefully. Chain it to the bedposts first and be sure to curl its toes.
*For the teeth/dick image I’m obliged to the late David Rakoff, author of the verse novel Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish.
#Linda Lovelace, apes, accountants, priests, entertainers, George Bernard Shaw, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Agatha Christie, Harold Robbins, Danielle Steel, Jacqueline Susann, James Michener, Herman Wouk, Vladimir Nabokob, Nicholas Baker, literary rivalry, book sales