Would You Rather
Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?
Feet. It sounds like a way of writing and doing yoga at the same time.
Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?
I guess the only way to satisfy my fantasy of waiting to check out at Costco and seeing a lady with my novel, a lobster and a robot in her cart would be to have one giant bestseller.
Would you rather be a well known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?
I’d rather anyone who bought my book right now be considered a genius. I need to be known now or I’ll never have my Costco moment.
Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?
Or rather not use formal sentences at all? And sustain the madness over 65,000 words? But throw in some clausal variety, like this: Yet the selfless woman bought the lobster only to set it free, and the novel only to help the author achieve fame, whereas the robot she needed for a private matter which remains none of the gentle reader’s business.
Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?
This sounds like a choice between the modes of torture from In the Penal Colony and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. How would you like to be executed? I’ll take listening to my own Vogon poetry.
Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?
The only compromise of all my values turned overnight success would be a memoir of how I made my fortune investing in Halliburton and Pearson. I’ll take the familiar hell of obscurity to the company of demons.
Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?
Some characters deserve hatred. If Iago turned out to be a handkerchief tailor, and spent time filling a huge order from Morocco, Othello would suck.
Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?
I still write phone numbers on my forearm. Recently I wrote, “Get lobster.”
Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?
Trick question! You’re making me realize I should allow my characters more fulfilling sex lives. But model it on what experience? There’s the rub!
Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?
Dude, I’ve always wanted to be a Japanese writer! あなたは日本語で素晴らしい小説を書くことができます。Thanks, Google!
Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?
I would like to have written the first banned book of standardized tests.
Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?
Easy one. Come here, Dylan. We won’t go gently into that bad night.
Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?
That’s taking the Japanese fantasy a bit far. I’ll take speaking in haiku.
Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?
Looks like I won’t be doing any reading on the island.
Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?
Sounds like the options available for the child of an alcoholic. I’ll take being ignored. It’s easier on the heart.
Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?
Does the voice get to be Scarlett Johansson? My behavior would change, believe me. Twitter doesn’t need to see my thoughts.
Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?
Computer! I still hand write in a journal, one of my favorite pleasures.
Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?
On my back.
Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?
I mean…they’d clear out. At least they thought it might be interesting, but it turned out to be some guy’s package.
Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well?
The beautifully described lobster, still alive, beside a robot and my novel. I’ll quote my hero, Tom Waits: “The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.”
Gint Aras (Karolis Gintaras Žukauskas) lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his family. He's a community college instructor, photographer, and has worked as an editor, columnist, interpreter, translator, and has published two novels, FINDING THE MOON IN SUGAR and THE FUGUE, Learn more at gint-aras.com, or follow on Twitter @Gint_Aras