Will Entrekin has been sending me witty emails for a while now, and making pointed and amusing comments on my blog, and generally contributing all kinds of amusement to the blogosphere, so of course I will read his book. And internet, if ever there was a time when I’d be tempted to lie to you and tell you I loved a book beyond all reason, it is now. Because I wanted to be punch-drunk on it, and maybe I set myself up with how much I am in love with email-Will, because just straight up liking it was a bit of a let-down. Does that make sense?
And I mean, this happens to the best of us. We’ve got these great viviacious personalities either in person or through informal print mediums (media?), and then we sit down to try and write some serious fiction and all of our awesome leaks out of us. But if people like (let’s face it) me (seriously, one day I will post some of my fiction and we’ll all have a good laugh) have the tuberculosis of this problem, then Will Entrekin has, at best, a nagging wheeze. By which I mean, there’s personality and verve in his collection of short stories, but he’s SO MUCH MORE HILARIOUS in non-published print.
Entrekin is a collection of short stories and poems by one Will Entrekin (durr). It’s difficult to see where fiction and diary divide, and the characters are alike enough in appearance, tendencies, and profession to prove that, in some form or another, they’re all Will. They’re all endearing, all flawed, and all just trying to get that bloody book published (and maybe win the girl). These are the guts-and-soul of an author, not one who is reflecting back on his publish-me-damn-you phase, but one up to his ears in it.
And there is funniness. Like when he sends his novel out (un-proof-read, no less) to seven agents, and when the last rejection letter comes in it’s not just ‘Hells no,’ but ‘Hells no. IF, on the other hand, you want to represent your OWN book, here’s an order form for MY book, How to be Your Own Agent.’ Or when, in a completely different story, he likens the reception of a ‘Dear Donor, your sperm is unnaceptable’ letter to all those ‘Dear Author, your story is shite’ letters. Who thinks of these things? Also, who writes stories about sperm donation?
However (oh Will, shield your eyes), I think that this needs one more go-over. In the afterword, you explain how each story has been workshopped a thrillion times, but misplacing something is ‘losing’ it, not ‘loosing;’ ‘laughingstock’ is all one word, and if you can’t remember the name of the ballet step, for heaven’s sake look it up. And I know this is the hardest thing to hear, because all the important bits are there but it just needs a bit more banging around.
But remember how I promised that I’d hate your poetry because I only like the poems of dead white men and reclusive girls who die young? I totally lied. ‘This Aint Wonderland’ made me so happy. I eagerly await your ‘real book.’
Seven very hungry caterpillars.