The world is crazier than most people know. But I know. I was a clinical social worker for forty years. I am a witness. I retired from social work to write about the sad, the mad, and the savage; with whom I have spent most of my life. I have decided to translate these stories into fiction, because, as a co-worker once said, "You couldn't make this sh*t up. No one would believe you."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Think I'm Jealous...or Maybe It's Just Tight Pants

I just got an email from my day job that a very distinguished physician will be giving a lecture on campus, and will also be signing copies of his book, The Emperor of All Maladies. Naturally I rushed to find out about the book. As follows:

  • it's a screaming success
  • and was just copyrighted last year
  • and has gotten rave reviews in the New Yorker, O the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post among others
  • was named one of the "ten best books of the year" by The New York Times
  • and was written by a doctor
  • a doctor?
  • a d-o-c-t-o-r??
  • is God joking or what?
Yes, the doctor is prestigious. But this is a book about cancer, man. Try to find a more depressing subject, I dare you. Just try. So, the way the publishing world works is: a doctor, who can't even write a legible prescription, gets an other-worldly book deal from a major publisher (Scribner) and the book is featured f*cking EVERYWHERE and the rich get richer. If I pitched a book about cancer to a publisher, I would be told, "Forget it, kid, who the hell wants to read a book about cancer?"

I conclude:
  • it ain't fair
  • what else is new
  • I wanna be the doctor's ghost writer (hey, I'm not too proud for crumbs)
  • to be honest, it's probably a great book
  • I hear it's scholarly
  • which turns off everyone but me, I read medical books to relax
  • I'm probably going to buy this book
  • and like it
  • and that's just not fair.
Well...what the hell. At least the good doctor stuck to what he knows. When doctors start writing novels, I'm gonna start shooting. Or stab myself in the eyeball, it's the least I could do. 

Maybe I could send the eyeball to the doctor, and he could fix it. And then I could write a book about it...oh, for heaven's sake. 


  1. A couple of great writers have been doctors. Chekhov was a doctor, and William Carlos Williams. And that rogue Celine. Personally, I'd rather read the good doctor's fiction than his musings about cancer. Can't imagine why people want to read such stuff.

  2. People read with a morbid and a "thank God its not ME" fascination those things that are horrid but currently not affecting them. If the good doctor's book is one that both explains and humanizes cancer and its patients then I might want to read it myself (go ahead, just for fun, tell someone you have cancer and see what happens). But when I read books like yours (at least the excepts) I am transported to belief in something better, to become something better in my life, to see possibilities that I may have missed and could do. Rather read yours than the doc's and I have had cancer.