The Curse of the Failed Novel
Josh Gross
[Total Pages: 5]
Gross Page 1
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He tells me that he wrote a novel once, that he knows it's no big deal, that everyone's done it, that it doesn't even require talent, just the belief you have it, a belief so rampant it's best described as an epidemic. Andy's is a classical Greek dialogue between the state of nature and contemporary pop culture. Judith's is an existential first-person narrative told from the perspective of processed food. His mother's is a scathing imagining of the alternate life left unlived by a middle-aged housewife whose children have left home, modeled after herself, but more archetypal than autobiographical, so she claims. He says that the words people use to describe their novels are generally every bit as meaningless as the work itself, that they're divorced from definitions, that people insist that they mean what they want them to at the time regardless

of what ideas the words contained within this unpublished avalanche actually represent. Black is white. Up is down. Orwell is Huxley. That it all stems from the arrogant notion that we have something to say, that our story is different, somehow unique from the constraints of the human experience of being born, eating, drinking, sleeping, breathing, working, dreaming, loving, fucking, fighting, eventually writing a bad novel, and finally dying over the whole sorry experience.
     Then he says that his is different.
     Of course, he tells me, we all say that ours is different, but that his really is, even though none of them really are. Still, his is. It's cursed.
     He tells me that everyone who's read it has never spoken to him again, and he's not talking about publishing industry people avoiding his phone calls. Friends, lovers, family; gone. All whose eyes have skimmed his words