Monday, May 9, 2011

Guest post: The Importance of a Literary Nemesis

Friends, a most heinous and disturbing thing has happened: my nemesis, Simon C. Larter, has taken advantage of my maternal state to filth up my blog with his inane mumblings. I leave the evidence here for you to see, rather like insect droppings after spraying Raid all over a cockroach nest.

I suppose, in that event, that I am compelled by tradition to count Simon as a Maternity Leave Guest Blogger ( MLGB).

The Importance of a Literary Nemesis
by Simon C. Larter

Shakespeare had Dante. Hemingway had Trollope. Moses had Sophocles. The historical record is undisputed: the greatest writers in history have all had literary nemeses. There’s a lesson to be learned here, writer-friends.

Literary Nemeses, Exhibit A (Shakespeare and Dante)
See, we human beings are a stubborn, irascible bunch. Especially we creative types. If someone tell us we can’t do something, chances are we’ll head right out and give that something a shot. The old college try, as they say (even if they didn’t go to college). We’re a bit contrarian that way.

So you—being an intelligent and discerning type (leaving aside for the moment the fact that you’re reading my nemesis’s blog; everyone has their lapses in judgement)—can of course understand the wisdom of finding a literary nemesis early in your career, yes? I thought so.

Literary Nemeses, Exhibit B (Hemingway and Trollope)

Nothing makes you work harder than someone waiting for you to fail. If there’s a nemesis waiting in the wings for some trifling slip-up on your part, you’re bound to work harder to attain perfection, are you not?

Literary Nemeses, Exhibit C (Moses and Sophocles)

My point is, your pursuit of excellence as a writer (and here you can read “publication” for “excellence,” if you like—or you could self-publish; whatever you feel like doing) should most definitely involve the cultivation of a nemesis-type relationship. Really, it should.

But you can’t have my nemesis. She’s indisposed right now, and in any case, I’ve already taken steps to ensure her eventual destruction. Or her career’s. I’m not picky.

Happy nemesizing, folks!

*disappears in a swish of his nemesis cape*

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