Not like the Brad Pitt kind but the Oh I’ve heard of you, how neat! kind. And by “going to be” I mean I have a better than average chance, perhaps one in 10,000 as opposed to one in 10,000,000. (For point of reference, the Brad Pitt kind of famous is one in 500,000,000, according to all the top mathematologists.) That’s right, I’m going to be writer-famous like Junot Diaz and I’ll tell you why.
1) My Pulitzer. Like Junot Diaz, I figure I’ve got one coming, and then the rest of my career will kind of Fitzgerald out, the slow fizz of old champagne.
2) Doug Dorst. If you don’t know him, you will. He’s my thesis adviser for my second master’s degree, and the more I hang out with him (which is what I call it in my mind when I have a meeting with him regarding my thesis), the more I can feel the eyes of fame watching us. He’s what I would humbly call BFF’s with JJ Abraham (ed. note: not his actual name - unfortunately the future famous aren’t required to Google anything), or as they refer to him in the movie biz, the next George P. Lucas, purveyor of the Wars of Star. The way I hear it, JJ Ambidextrous had an idea for a novel and the only person he trusted this idea to was none other than yours truly, and by yours truly I mean Doug. The novel is done and will be released very soon, and the writing process I imagine was a little stressful on Doug, dealing with at the same time, in the same person, both a mega-famous BFF and someone who doesn’t know how to write a novel, or fiction even, a wholly inexperienced “writer” with a lot of sway and big ideas, who would probably excessively criticize the first draft so much that any skilled author might be tempted to put easily criticizable aspects into the next draft so that a certain mega-famous BFF would be able to seek and destroy those aspects and leave the good shit intact, thank you. I don’t know if this is how it went down. But if it did, I know that Doug would’ve been the guy with the panache, the suavity, the sheer savoir faire to pull it off. And I’ll be learning writing directly from him for six months or so. Cue your jealousy… now.
3) Stephen Colbert. With increasing frequency, his guest list is including people I’m like one degree away from knowing personally. Not including JJ Abramatic, whom he’s probably had on at some point, he’s just recently interviewed Tobias Wolff, and pretty recently George Saunders, who came to my writing program two years ago, and Jennifer Egan, who is coming to my program later this year herself, not to mention Junot Diaz, whom I have actually had one-on-one conversation with, the topic of which discussion will remain none of your business, and I don’t count him as a personal acquaintance because that was about five years ago and he wouldn’t have recognized me the next day, much less right now. But Bret Anthony Johnston’s got a new book coming out soon, and I could totally see him getting onto the Colbert couch for it (ed. note: there is no couch), and Bret I’m pretty sure is my BFF in waiting, so I would definitely count that. Or Doug, if Doug gets on there it’ll be zero degrees, which means my visit to New York is only a matter of time.
4) People I trust tell me I’m the most likely person to become famous of all the people they know. And I trust them, so.
5) Voted most likely to succeed, in high school. That stock’s got to mature sometime.
6) Twenty One Pilots. People in my life, in my social networks, keep bringing them up, this band, having no idea that I used to work with the original drummer of the band and still current roommate of Tyler and Josh, which practically gives me roadie status. This is a band whose brand I actively pimp out, since a) they’re a pretty great band in any case, and b) they’re from my hometown, my town, my home. Fame doesn’t happen easily to people, where I’m from. Being as I am currently in an area of the country where I feel this band should have no earthly business being famous, I play them for everyone to make them so. But now it’s like I don’t have to. People know them anyway. Guests on Conan, their first major headlining tour coming up this fall. It’s like fame keeps taking swings at me and I’m giving it the rope-a-dope.
And finally, 7) I don’t even want to be famous. I don’t. Not even writer-famous. It sounds to me like nothing but annoying, to have a bunch of people you don’t know, know you. And want things from you. Except for rock star famous, which is why I keep pimping the Pilots. That kind of famous would have its benefits. Like, a lot of them.