I sent a letter to TIME in response to Joel Stein's awesome column entitled "The Awesome Column" http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2033072,00.html They published two lines from my somewhat long - winded letter in this week's edition. (Sighs) Anyways here is the rest of it.
Reading Joel Stein’s awesome column on how his particular brand of narcissistic writing changed the world of journalism forever, reminded me of a definitive moment in my own writing career.
I first read Joel Stein’s column in 2002, on my first day in college. Feeling more than a little nervy, I had borrowed Dad’s Time magazine so that I could pretend to be the intellectual type and hopefully make a decent impression (notice the almost obsessive use of ‘I’). If I hadn’t been feeling dreadfully inadequate and homesick, it would have been nigh impossible for me to wade through the morass of high – brow and somewhat pretentious articles in the magazine. Somehow I fought my way through the treacherous terrain Time had set me and arrived at Stein’s column on the fag end of the magazine and was completely blown away.
Stein had elaborated at length about his first time on the couch, extreme love for pornography, therapist mom, and his inability to feel anything past a passion for simulated passion. All this in the interest of avoiding writing a well – researched, scientific article for that month’s issue based on health (or was it science?)
I loved the piece and could not help loving the guy for writing exactly the way I did. Sure, my similarly “sophomoric, solipsistic, snarky” articles got a lot of heat for their “morally dubious content” and I had been warned that writing in the first person was not the way to go, if one wished to achieve literary greatness. But here was a guy whose column with its predominant focus on porn and sickly self – love, had made it to Time magazine! And if that were not enough, his was the standout number in an otherwise staid and stuffy publication. Thanks to this remarkable phenomenon, I allowed myself to dream of winning the Booker, writing the way I did and have been pursuing the said course with due diligence.
Thanks Joel Stein for giving me the courage to stick to my style – writing in the first person, with highly opinionated views, and private angst squeezed in for good measure. Of course at 26, I am a struggling writer trying to juggle motherhood and a stillborn career, while the fella who writes like me is making beaucoup bucks, schmoozing with celebs and supermodels, and appearing on TV to gravely pass his opinions on “100 hottest whatevers”. Perhaps I should sue… but I’d rather wait for one of the discerning editors at Time (a truly esteemed publication) to visit my blog, and offer me his / her job.