Friday, June 12, 2009

Literary Critic

The Wily Republican is really good for certain things.

This point would be contested by many people, including my friend Greg, who, just this week, told me he thought the Wily Republican is a total waste of flesh, that he has no capacity for empathy, that he exists on this earth only to cause misery and pain for other people.

I've never believed that, even on the days I hated him more than anything. The Wily Republican has some exceedingly good qualities even beyond what used to be his most impressive, which was looking really good in a towel.

The other day, as I was reading through my whole book, I came across a line that suddenly struck me as really filthy, really perverted. But I wasn't sure if I was just getting a little loopy--was it the (strong) mojito? was it the five hours I'd already spent reading and editing?--or maybe the line really was pretty gross and foul.

And I could've called a lot of people to run it by them, but that might've led to discussions that were a bit more in-depth than I thought the line needed. The quickest test would be to just call up the Wily Republican, read him the line, and listen to his reaction. The WR is, after all, a self-proclaimed pervert, well versed in filth and ick.

So I called him. "Listen," I said. "I'm just going to read you a paragraph. I'm not going to tell you what to listen for, but I do want you to listen carefully. And just have whatever reaction you're going to have. Don't censor."

"Okay," he said. He was just coming in from a day of military training, and he was more than happy to stop thinking about logistics and start thinking about writing. "I'm just going to get naked first, and then I can listen better," he said.

I'd clearly called the right person.

"Fine," I said and then read the paragraph to him. The last sentence ends with the phrase and she was sure she'd never be dry again. I read it, paused for a split second, and then the Wily started laughing.

"Ha," he said. "She was wet."

"I knew it!" I said. "I knew you'd think it was perverted!"

"Hey, hey," he said. "In my defense, you also had the phrase 'she was dripping' in that paragraph."

"THEY ARE IN THE RAIN," I said.

"Still," he said, laughing, "that'll set up the sick-minded readers. And you know that's why you called me. That's why you'll always call me."

"Yes."

"That's what I'm good for," he said.

"I know," I said, and later, after we hung up, I changed the line to something less dirty-sounding.

2 comments:

Casey Sween said...

So he's the first person you think to call when you want someone with a dirty mind? That hurts a little.

Jess said...

But you also have your literary side that would confound the issue. I needed pure filth. Your filth has been corrupted by good taste in literature. Sorry!