Speh: «An egg-headed, shoulderless man, a creature from a Beckett novel perhaps, who had a heavy gold coin in his right pocket, a belt spiked with pieces of bone and pointy brown shoes, walked slowly into another story, leaning on a thin black cane. He wore an awkward smile, but what’s that supposed to mean anyway—there are people whose expressions are simply awkward. The man’s face was of the kind that made anything moving in it seem slightly off balance, causing askance looks of almost anyone passing him. And many did, because he would proceed as slowly as a cloud blown across a windstill sky muttering something to himself that his lips did not want to say, puffing smoke to clear the way ahead of him, picking up stones and slinging them across the pavement. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think this man ever reached his destination.»
Man: what are you talking about? Of course I can get into any story I choose to. Check out all my props! Isn’t this what being a successful character is all about, props?
Speh: no, I’m sorry, props mean nothing. What a good character needs is potential for development. You rather remind me of one of Dickens’ characters, too set in your ways already. I bet every other reader, after this description, believes he has a sure idea where you might be going with all these props and pomp.
Man: (in a conciliatory tone) well, dear master, if I may address you thus, I must thank you for comparing me with a Dickensian type. But I must also disagree: isn’t the lyrical reaction that my passing through a crowd evokes a clear sign of that “potential”? If I were the reader, I’d be looking for a story now.
Speh: I keep having these conversations with my own creatures. I’m not sure I want to. You can’t really be trusted to give me good advice, you’re not impartial, you wish to live and succeed on the stage. What if characters are like actors in real life, what if they don’t want to be relegated to B-actor status?
Man: you can trust me, Marcus. Or rather, you must trust me, who else can tell you what I’m good for if not I?
Speh: You have a point there.
Man: I even got a hell of an idea for you. You’ll be ecstatic! It’s da bomb!
Speh: I wouldn’t use any of these expressions.
Man: I’m not you. And perhaps it’s a word you should get better acquainted with, because I’m all about ecstasy and action.
Speh: touché. [You can always get the writer by pointing out how much he still has to learn.] Though I’m also not good at action.
Man: you see! What if you’d put me in the graphic novel, you know, a comic. This is something you could easily do on the side, for fun, during the summer. I know that you like to draw…
Speh: (in a noncommittal tone) I’ll think about it.
Man: … I even have a title for you!
Speh: (less than excited) let’s hear it.
Man: “Hipsters Having Sex”. What you think, is that great or what?
Speh: sure. Sounds like a winner. Like “Elephants Learning To Fly”. Really, I’m not an expert on hipsters (Speh points out his bald head, his clean-shaven face, his inconspicuous habits, his family values, his preference for dead Russian writers, for deep, informed existential debate etc.), but from what I can discern, isn’t sex, dirty, sweaty, regular sex the activity farthest from their minds? (He’s off to write.)
Are hipsters having sex?
See also: One Week On The Happy Isles, A-Minor Magazine.