The Character’s Complaint

I’ve wiped off the blood and I’ve cleaned up the rubble
And most of the burn marks have faded to pink
I’ve finally started to save up some cash
After paying the surgeon, the doc, and the shrink
The neighbors are letting their kids play outside now
And even the nightmares are starting to ease
So if you are reading this, Author, I’m pleading
Don’t write any books on me! No more books! Please!

I don’t want to get in a hijack or bombing
Which seems to be most of the plot of a thriller
I’ve noticed that when you say “mystery book”
You mean “brutal unstoppable serial killer”
I don’t want to be in a romance
If it ends with divorce from my spouse
Or trudge off to the stores to buy heavy steel doors
To zombie-proof all of the gates to my house

I don’t want to be in a novel on war
And be sent forth to die at the edge of the globe
Though the future sounds swell, I’ll stay out of of sci-fi
If it has the words “parasite”, “anal”, or “probe”
I don’t want to be in dystopian fiction
And get renamed something like “Janitor Eight”
I’m far too high class to be happy with fanfic
And ladies, no slash please – no, honest, I’m straight

To inclusion in works of some authors of note
I object with particular force
Solzhenitsyn, Wiesel, Kafka, Salinger, Plath
Either Bronte – plus Lovecraft, of course
Victor Hugo would make me le misérable
And George RR Martin inspires some doubt
It’s not just the fact that he’d probably kill me
It’s that I would have to wait years to find out

A Rand book would probably help the economy
There’d always be jobs in a world of tycoons
But I’d have to sit through all those monologues
By long-winded lone libertarian loons
Neal Stephenson’s better, but isn’t for me
I always found programming hard
And although I loved Ender, I’m leftist on gender
And boycotting Orson Scott Card

I promise I’m doing my best not to tempt you
I’ve put away plot hooks and tied up loose ends
I’ve found my real parents with DNA testing
Confessed all my crushes on all my cute friends
I’m staying away from ruined cities and taverns
Avoiding emotions like angst and ennui
If I find in my home some forgotten old tome
I will back away slowly, and let the thing be

I’m not taking actions that might have a Moral
Like dissing my elders or mocking the poor
I won’t undervalue the Power of Love
Or disregard friendship ’cause cash matters more
I won’t sell my cow for a couple of bean plants
I won’t kill my magic gold-egg laying goose
Or challenge the sky, with my fist raised up high

My actions don’t show We Must Value Diversity
They don’t provide proof Being Different’s Okay
I try to avoid Overcoming Adversity
Based upon race, gender, class, or Teh Gay
I will not discover The Faith Of A Child
Is purer than that of priest, rabbi, or lama
Wherever I’m able, I’ve sidestepped each fable
In ways that exclude any lesson or drama

And really, your talents are wasted on fiction
Why not try your hand at political prose?
I hear that some papers pay pundits good money
And blogs are more lucrative even than those
You could be the guy who gets studies in Nature
Or who writes for the popular press and explains
The import to clients of breakthroughs in science
Like how vaccinations won’t melt their kids’ brains

What if you find yourself thwarted by writer’s block
Hands stained with ink and a face stained with tears?
Hunching at desks for too long causes joint pain
I hear carpal tunnel stays with you for years
The kids these days just play computer games anyway
Each year the market gets smaller and smaller
And editors milk you and agents will bilk you
And publishers only pay cents on the dollar

Our mutual interests align pretty nicely
You don’t want a half-finished draft on the shelf
And I’d rather not be thrust into a conflict
With Man, Nature, Culture, The Gods, or Myself
So go take up dancing, or look at a sunset
Rekindle the flame with your husband or wife
Don’t write one more letter – we both deserve better
Put down the damn pen and get on with your life!

[dedicated to Alicorn for obvious reasons]

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14 Responses to The Character’s Complaint

  1. JRM says:

    [Applause!] Excellent!

  2. Sid says:

    Respect. Thanks.

  3. Tom Hunt says:

    This is most wonderful.

  4. Eli says:

    Why? Why on Earth would you tell Alicorn to stop?

  5. g says:

    Magnificent! (But I’m having trouble with the scansion of the big list of authors, and for me the stress in “writer’s block” is definitely on “block” rather than “wri-“.)

  6. ckp says:

    Syllable count made me stumble a little :c

  7. Eoin says:

    I like it a lot! I was looking at the Libera Florae only today!

  8. Vivificient says:

    Enjoyed this a lot. I loved some of the jokes and rhymes, like the one with Ender and gender and the one with the libertarian loons. Great stuff!

  9. Andante says:

    “Any Bronte,” maybe? There were three sisters (Anne, Emily, and Charlotte, pseud. Acton, Ellis, and Currer Bell) and a brilliant brother (Branwell, no pseud. since he was male). I’d also much rather be in their books than be one of them. (*Consumption,* cough cough …)

    Nice internal rhymes, and I especially enjoyed the character’s efforts not to tempt the author 🙂

  10. Eliezer Yudkowsky says:

    This is why I’ve started putting logical impossibilities into my stories (floor tiled in pentagons, count of objects in Dumbledore’s office changes without any being added or removed) to make sure that I don’t increase their measure by writing them.

    • Ialdabaoth says:

      Just because it’s logically impossible, doesn’t mean it’s logically impossible.