A Writer's Oath
edited: Monday, August 04, 2003
By Matthew Arnold Stern
Posted: Monday, August 04, 2003
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What I promise to do when I become a published author.
I, Matthew Arnold Stern, do solemnly swear, upon my honor, that if I become a published author, I promise the following:
- I shall act as a professional at all times. My other employers wouldn't tolerate me coming three hours late to appointments and missing deadlines because I "didn't feel inspired." I won't start doing that after starting my job as a published author.
- I shall treat my readers with utmost respect and appreciation, because without them, I would not be a published author. If I write material that is confusing, laden with overblown and obtuse language, or just plain boring, it's because I didn't do a good job of writing, not that my readers are "bourgeois philistines whose brains are too damaged by television to appreciate True Art."
- I shall appear at media interviews sober and coherent, answer all questions cheerfully no matter how many times I've been asked them, and use language that is suitable for family publications.
- I shall treat critics with respect. If a critic gives me a negative review, I shall not write slanderous articles about that person in Salon.
- If I am invited to appear on Oprah, I shall go.
- I shall not use street slang or get tattoos and body piercings in a feeble attempt to seem "edgy" and "alternative."
- I shall not snort Ritalin, trip on herbal Ecstasy, sniff glue, or huff dry-erase markers.
- I shall not buy large quantities of my books to inflate my sales figures.
- I shall not plagiarize.
- I shall not whine about, cover up, or exaggerate about my upbringing.
- I shall not talk about my genitals or bodily functions.
- I shall invite teenage female hotel employees to my room only when I need them to change the linens and towels while I'm out.
- I shall not use my fame to make uninformed declarations about international policy, political figures, the environment, or weight-loss methods.
- When I finally have become a has-been, I shall accept my restored anonymity with grace. I shall not appear on celebrity reality shows and infomercials, get into drunken public brawls, hold court in smoky bars and druggy discos regaling unwilling patrons about my "good ol' days," or otherwise carry out ridiculous and embarrassing publicity stunts to extend a fifteen minutes that has expired.
All of these I promise, so help me God (who I do believe in).