The Writers’ Gathering

Envelope-pushing smiles. Trench coat-wearing, jumper-loving, fake champagne-sipping one-sided conversations.

Dull aches, headaches, cravat-wearing backslapping singalongs. Promotional videos, readings, chin-stroking poet varieties, big on sales, creativity half-price.

Nicey nice, pretty Sylvia Plath wannabes. Hard-edged comics. Historical fiction, balding middle-class, silver spoon collectors. The Bukowski fan club drinking in the corner.

Bright lights little city. Big ambitions, sixteen-year-old best-selling Tolkien-loving Harry Potter, tanned Easton Ellis college dropouts.

Move along. Nothing to see here. Move along now. Now!

Listen up, the main speaker’s bursting. The ego bladder. Back home: marine fish tanked up on intelligence build walls from pebbles; they hide from the drunken gaze of writer-types.

After the speech, we get served snacks. And more wine, of course.

I want to live. I do. I want to see Greece like Leonard Cohen and live in a little white room with a throwback typewriter, scorching sun on my back while Romantic lyrics tenderly cream upon a splendid page for you, for me, for them. I don’t care about money, I don’t, that’s why I’ve spent thirty-two years writing this fifty page hypothesis on Marx in post-modern literature. But I want to live in China and not exploit local labour. Hell, I’ll pay good money for top grade tea. I would like another drink, thank you. It’s free, right?

Marketing managers, assistant marketers, publicists, photographers, BBC cameramen (and women), local journalists in the hunt, trendy little beards, fabulous hairstyles, darling. Who are you? Why I am an up-and-coming writer, have been on the up-and-coming ladder for ten years now. Hey! I’m not finished!

There’s the literary agent, he’s a friend of that chap who runs the Organisation for Lost Souls, who takes from the rich and gives to the mildly disinterested. Don’t talk to him, for God’s sake, he talks to imaginary possums and makes love to a picture of Dorian Gray.

The literary agent talks to you, not the other way round. When he talks you’d better listen and take down notes. You can rewrite those notes in your letter to him, when you explain how many copies you aim to sell. How many copies have you sold of The Rat’s Love Affair? Really?

Pimping, sex maniacs, literary virgins. Hot property. She belongs to The Mag. Interviews. The earth-shattering exposé. A guaranteed winner. Look, her eyes shine like a werewolf. Look, she eyes the untalented like you eye horse meat. First time writers aren’t a lost cause. They’re cute.

The guest book. Sign up for more info. Sign up for future events, news, come again, we’d love to discuss Joyce, Pound and Hemingway. The midnight bus. Home, the cage, a ballad, the same damn song you woke up with. A strong desire to have cranium detonate against wall and ravaging, divine, frustration, lost opportunities, a broken pen that never did anything but deceive, the Duchamp urinal. Oh well.

Bogdan Tiganov

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