My greatest dreams at 7-years-old: To be a shepherd, to marry David Bowie. I had a small journal with a silver cover that was full of puffy, fluffy padding so that when you squeezed it you could hear the air shifting around inside. Like a mattress topper. Or a sponge. It was silver because it was covered in sequins. It had a clasp with the funny little bucked teeth.
And inside it on the paper it said these things. About being a shepherd and marrying David Bowie. It said all that Life Aspiration stuff that a 7-year-old me would have wanted no one to know about. I wanted to have secrets. I’ve spent most of my entire life wanting to have secrets.
I used to write things in my journal that weren’t true but sounded right. Just in case someone ever broke the bucked-toothed lock, desperate to know about my life. I drew pictures of lips over and over. I once wrote the word “THE” over and over too, across one entire page until it looked like a flock of birds – all slanted towards the upper right hand corner together, synchronized – until I had taught myself to write “THE” in one fluid motion, hand glued to the paper, and the word just a series of loops that murmur off at the ending “-E” in a small tail. Pig’s tail. Curlicued a bit.
I wrote in nothing but green ink for years.
I knew what I was doing.
I want what anybody on the planet wants while they brush their teeth and think about how insecure they are. What they want when their hands shake all day from a good hangover. When you feel like an alcoholic and a wild Indian and a socially-awkward ogre in a dress and hope it’s ok because one day it will be worth the damage when the whole world pays you to smash the cheap toothy lock and read the things you made up about your life. About sheep farming.
I have secrets now. I’m more than willing to tell you all of them if you ask. I’m a terrible journalist. I think writers are amazing, and I wouldn’t mind mouth-kissing all of them to get the osmosis of their wild powers:
Tomorrow is Saturday, March 16th, and author Andrew Shaffer will be at Carmichael’s Bookstore with something paperbound and wonderful. With his new book, Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors, Shaffer will explore the brilliant injuries of hand-shaking-death-stare-rapscallions of prose and poetry. And this will happen starting at 4pm.
Blending humor, shock and truth (maybe? How true is any writer’s life?) into a history of the literary talents that lived faster and died younger than any mere modern rock star, Shaffer’s Literary Rogues takes readers into the mad lives of some of the most famous pens in history. With titles such as The Great Gatsby and On the Road born of such fools and geniuses, Literary Rogues traces the miscreant lifelines of greats such as Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Hunter S. Thompson and Bret Easton Ellis – into a packaged story of beauty and tragedy and some fantastic and excellent bubbling froth of wordsmithing. Because writers are awesome in the way that mountains or western conceptions of God are Awesome. At least that’s what I think.
Copies of Literary Rogues are available in paperback for $14.99, and I’m going to imagine that they smell better than any of the other books in the store because guts full of Greats could only give off the sweetest musk like that.
I still want to be a shepherd. I still wouldn’t mind being married to David Bowie if he ever asks.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue. For more information, visit the event page or call the Frankfort Avenue location at (502) 896-6950.
Image: Courtesy of Amazon www.amazon.com