I never set out to compose these rants, please believe me – these things just fall into my lap & I know of no other way to address them. Case in point, I have been following the annual Tournament of Books over at The Morning News – a brilliant, insightful, hilarious book competition that’s set up as a literary counter to March Madness. In addition to a judge’s decision on each round, there is an attached color commentary on the decision written by contributing writers, Kevin Guilfoile and John Warner. Today’s commentary was totally off topic, truly insightful, and uproariously hilarious. It seems that my baseless assumption that “author” Nicholas Sparks is a total asshole is not baseless after all.
Mr. Sparks, author of such tearjerking tripe as The Last Song, The Notebook, Dear John, blah blah blah, gave an interview (in LA’s Book Soup) to Anthony Breznican of USA Today which ran on March 10th. Over the course of the interview, Sparks revealed his shocking, evil, twisted, labyrinthine world view:
“‘I don’t write romance novels….(they’re) love stories — it’s a very different genre.’ Asked what he likes in his own genre, Sparks replies: ‘There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do.‘”
I don’t understand.
“There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre.“
Alright, it’s true that he does dominate in this genre (whatever it is) but if you believe that you’re the only one working in a particular field, it’s not very sporting to announce that you’re the best around, is it? “Hey, look at me! I invented this new thing and I’m the best at using it! Up yours!” And how can he be “evoking genuine emotion” in a novel? Doesn’t a work of fiction manipulate your emotions, almost by definition? Let’s move on.
“‘A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That’s what I write,’ he says, putting it back (on the shelf). ‘That’s what I write.'”
Holy shit, what?
Sparks’ favorite tale of youth? “I think A Walk to Remember,” he says, citing his own novel. “That’s my version of a coming-of-age.”
Stop it, stop it! You maniac!
“Horrible,” he says, looking at Blood Meridian. “This is probably the most pulpy, overwrought, melodramatic cowboy vs. Indians story ever written.”
Well, asdkljji qohyd5nhasd%, iiiweo89!
I’m sorry, I think I just passed out. What can I possibly say to that? He’s clearly delusional. Stabbing him repeatedly would do no one any good – he’d be dead & I’d just be tired.
In their TMN commentary, Guilfoile and Warner go on to include (as backup) excerpts from an interview Sparks gave to the Chicago Tribune in February (available online only for Tribune subscribers) that echoes these sociopathic ideas, perhaps more so: “The Notebook is a good novel. There are no flaws with that novel,” he said. “That’s a novel that will stay around for a long, long time. That’s a novel that is taught in schools – that is out in Cliffs Notes. Classics just choose themselves.”
Taught in schools? Are you fucking kidding me?! A fictional school set in a Nicholas Sparks novel? What is happening?!
I’m okay. Sorry. Just read Kevin and John’s commentary, as they are much more adept than I at bringing Sparksy to task. I’ve read it more than once (several times out loud to whoever’s in the room with me) and it makes me laugh really hard every time.