There have been very few times that I’ve wanted to drive my car through the wall of a crowded McDonalds restaurant. I didn’t say it wasn’t on the list, I just said it doesn’t happen often.
I spent years in college to obtain a bachelor’s degree, five years in fact, since I changed my major a few times before realizing that my life’s work was destined to involve telling oversized children that yes, they could in fact go to the restroom. During those years I was a beautiful scholar, absorbing everything that I could about the educational process. Graduation day dawned as sunny as my future potential.
Less than a year later, I decided I had not learned nearly enough so I returned to graduate school at great expense and personal sacrifice. I began the process with a graduate writing fellowship, an entire semester of being sequestered in a stuffy classroom for eight hours a day to explore the craft of writing with eleven other disciples. From there, I continued on until I had obtained yet another degree in our wonderful language.
Over the years since college I’ve continued to teach, really and truly helping young people learn to love books, firmly believing that there is a book that speaks to everyone and if you just look hard enough it will find you. My mantra to my students has always been, “There are too many great books out there to waste your time reading one you don’t love.”
Then, just two short years ago, I held my breath and dove headfirst into the world of writing a book that someone could love. And then I wrote another. The process of even writing the book can hurt, as I discovered while driving home from work one day when I suddenly realized one of the key characters in my book was going to die. I sobbed all the way home.
The process of trying to get a book published is not for the faint-hearted. It’s like asking people point-blank to tell you whether or not they like you, and they are required to tell you the truth, because if you think about it, unless the book is a part of you, there was no reason to write it.
Now for the murderous rampage: Snooki from Jersey Shore has a book deal.
I was fine when Jon Stewart wrote a book because he is not only hilarious, he is actually very intelligent; ditto his cohort Stephen Colbert, who is a veritable snark genius. I lived through it when Denis Leary wrote a book because his at least was a foul-mouthed tirade on what’s wrong with our country and America needs more of those. But then rapper Jay-Z was given a book deal. And so was Paris Hilton. And so was the guy who pretended his son had floated away in a giant homemade balloon so he could get his own reality show. And so were sundry obscure relatives of only slightly less obscure celebtrities.
But then came Snooki. The embodiment of all that is wrong with America, New Jersey, and teased hair.
I spent years honing the craft of stringing as many as twenty words at a time into a useful, precise sentence, and there may now be a book in the Library of Congress by a young woman who cannot speak half that number of coherent words. Or even spell coherent. Where is the justice?