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Pure Prose Gold - the Ben Tanzer Repetition Patterns guest essay.

As I mentioned earlier, today is the first day of This Tour Will Change Your Life, Ben Tanzer's virtual book tour for his new short story collection, Repetition Patterns, published by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography. I am quite pleased to host the first stop on the tour, for which Ben has written, or "written", the essay below.

Pure Prose Gold - the Ben Tanzer Repetition Patterns guest essay.
By Ben Tanzer

February 8th – 11:15am
I receive a note from Pete Anderson that my Repetition Patterns guest essay is due on February 16th and that he is expecting “pure prose gold.” Not being entirely sure what that means I Google “pure prose gold” and find the Love is a Rose - Fine Gifts and Collectibles website. I learn that “Gold and Roses have always been symbols of love.” This is good to know, but really not so helpful.

February 8th – 11:15pm
I have been staring at the screen for twelve hours. Nothing. I got nothing. I am a loser, and not a Biggest Loser, which would be cool. I turn on the television and watch the latest episode of Confessions of a Teen Idol. I feel somewhat better about myself, but I am now terribly confused by the fact that “triple threat” Adrian Zmed is not an enormous star. The dude may have made some bad choices along the way, but if he couldn’t figure it out, what hope is there for me?

February 9th – 2:30am
I awake in a panic. Why has Pete put so much pressure on me? What is wrong with just conducting a by the numbers interview anyway? Seeking a distraction, I beg my wife to make love to me. She says fine as long she can pretend that I am Brad Pitt. I say that’s fine as long as I can pretend that she is Brad Pitt as well. Three minutes later I am asleep again.

February 9th – 6:30am
As I finish my fifth Bloody Mary I realize that I need to be sure to somehow hype my novels Lucky Man (Manx Media, 2007) and Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine (Orange Alert Press, 2008) in the Repetition Patterns essay assuming it ever gets written. To accomplish this though I will be need to be sneaky and not make it super obvious.

February 9th – 4:00pm
I know I can write this essay, I know I can write this essay. Instead I decide to twitter about my inability to write it and blog about my twitter update. I then decide to twitter about my blog post and update my Facebook status. I discover that dozens of people I went to high school with who never actually talked to me then would like to know “25 Things About Me.” I am incredibly touched by their interest and getting the list just right is now my sole focus.

February 10th – 12:00pm
I put the final edits on my “25 Things About Me” post. It feels good and I am so confident that this newfound sense of connection and kinship with my old classmates will only grow richer as a result that I begin to question why I ever thought I needed to go on this book tour in the first place.

February 11th – 10:30am
I have been reading Perez Hilton for two hours. The language is clean and slamming, and it is genius. Perez is the Updike of the gossip bloggers. I wish I could write like him, but I cannot, I have lost my way.

February 11th – 5:00pm
I can no longer remember why Pete has asked me to write an essay for his blog. I send him a note. I am super polite. He is not. He says he never wanted to be part of this project, but he thought it might get him laid. Now that he has discovered this most definitely is not the case he doesn’t care if I write an essay or not.

February 12th – 3:00am
I try to think about my motivation for writing the stories in Repetition Patterns and why this essay is important to me. I still got nothing. I try some writing exercises I learned about online on Media Bistro. They don’t work. I revisit the Love is a Rose website. I learn that their new handcrafted Heavenly Roses are “so perfect and lifelike, you would think they were lovingly made from the feathers of angel’s wings.” I wish I were handcrafted from the feathers of angel’s wings. But I am not. I am human. And I am flawed.

February 13th – Noon
I let Pete know that I will not be writing an essay. In fact, I have decided to stop writing entirely. He does not respond, but he does tag me in his “25 Things About Me” post.

(The next stop on the tour will be tomorrow, February 17, with Ben being interviewed renowned Chicago writer Elizabeth Crane. See you there.)

February 16, 2009 in Books | Permalink


You sir are a wonderful host, and outside of the uninvited, though not wholly unappreciated advances by your assistant, I had a very nice time coming by and look forward to doing so again soon.

Posted by: Ben Tanzer at Feb 16, 2009 6:21:50 PM