Saturday, July 31, 2010

Apply Directly to the Egghead

Here's part of my application to attend the MacDowell Colony, an artist retreat in Vermont (or is it NH?) where I will hopefully get to spend eight weeks completing the first draft of my novel, all the while getting to mingle with and be intimidated by other artists ranging from writers to painters to composers.

This was my response to the section called "Project Description." It asks for a few paragraphs on what kind of thing you're working on, how far along you are, what you hope to accomplish during your residency, etc.


I'm writing a comedic novel called "Diary of a Superhero." It traces the rise and fall--and eventual redemption--of a mediocre superhero with no unearthly powers.

In a recent interview with myself, I asked me about the potential benefits of writing at the MacDowell Colony...

ME: You seem nervous.
ME: Not at all. I'm just tired.
ME: You don't have to lie. After all, we're the same person, so I know exactly how you're feeling.
ME: Then why are you asking me questions if you already know the answers?
ME: That's a good question.
ME: One I didn't have to ask because I, too, already know the answers.
ME: Then why did you ask?
ME: Who's interviewing who here?
ME: I'm not sure now.
ME: Maybe you should have a drink. It'll calm you down.
ME: Maybe YOU should.
ME: Fine.

[I pours himself a tall Scotch, sips, winces]

ME: That felt good.
ME: I know.
ME: I know you know.
ME: will a stint at the world-famous MacDowell Colony help you finish your book?
ME: As you know, I live in New York City. I have a full-time job which leaves me with little time to write. Getting away from the city, staying in a tranquil environment, away from the honking horns and the sirens and the mating cries of feral cats, is just what I need to free my mind of distractions, so that all I have is my writing.
ME: Do you normally have trouble concentrating?
ME: Sorry, I was texting. Say again?
ME: Sorry, I was texting. Say what again?
ME: I think I was talking about how the MacDowell Colony is exactly what I need to finish my novel.
ME: Right. You imagine it as a safe haven where you can focus solely on your work.
ME: Plus, I hear they make a wicked meatloaf.
ME: So your experience there will be focused, productive and fueled by meatloaf.
ME: You bet.
ME: How much of the novel have you written so far?
ME: Two hundred or so pages. I'm about halfway through the first draft. When I walk out of there I'll have it completed.
ME: Wow. You're really serious about this.
ME: Absolutely.
ME: Despite the fact that your application includes a cutesy, semi-clever meta-interview with yourself, which might indicate to someone who doesn't know you that you're nothing but a Gen-X putz.
ME: I'm taking that risk in the interest of being original and unboring.
ME: Mmm...
ME: Mmmm...
ME: It's ironic that someone who calls himself a writer thinks that "unboring" is a word.
ME: What can I say? I'm a man of mystery.
ME: Not to me.
ME: Are we done here?
ME: Two more questions. First, will you steal the MacDowell Colony's towels?
ME: Of course not.
ME: What about a robe?
ME: I would steal a robe.
ME: Last question: what's your favorite color?
ME: Blue.
ME: I know.