Spine Breakers: Publish This Book.

What sort of prick spawns this sort of self felating book?  Publish This Book is over 400 pages covering the gimmick of getting the book published.  Yes, the book is about the book.  The writer, Stephen Markley, has had a privileged life.  Nothing dramatic enough to warrant a best selling tear  filled memoir has happened to him.  Instead the book becomes his struggle in getting said book in print.  Yes, there are certain things that can be assumed about this writer based on the book’s egocentric plot.  He’s white, middle class, lives in a large city, overly heterosexual and adjusts his personality relevant to his current companions.

Sure, it is possible to assume all of these things.  However the truth is that the man is fucking brilliant.  He is a ravenous tiger of ink and ambition nipping at the heels of the Millennials fatted calves.  Chuck Klosterman can smell the bengal breath on his neck,  and is reeks of deep dish pizza.  The last thing Tucker Max saw was a fury of orange and black that left Max alone and forgotten, much like the movie version of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.

Publish This Book has joined the elite level of books on writing.  I have it shelved next to Stephen King and John Scalzi. While these books may explain how to be a writer, only Markley tells how to live as a writer.  First is the quest to be published.  The desire to be a voice in the world.  To scream out, I have something to say and damn you world you’re going to listen to me!  The need to have thoughts on paper that will survive long past the one who conceived them.  Second, is finding the line between character and reality.  To elaborate…

Markley mentions numerous times that he’s not sure if an action is something he would have done in every possible timeline or if this is being done for the story.  After reading over 400 pages out of his life I would have to guess, its both.  Any creative person, not just a writer, will perform some actions solely for the experience.  For the story.  The stand up comedian may purposely say something awful to his local dentist just to get a funny story to tell onstage.  (Granted he’ll be telling it through a jaw that’s been wired shut, but if Kanye can record a song like that then anyone can do it.)  The writer will live out some scenes in life because they will become great anecdotes.  However, this makes it no less genuine.  Myself or Stephen Markley or anyone who put finger to keyboard and pen to ink is a person and a writer.  The two cant be separated.  Instead of being a writer, what if Markley was a nurse?  He might make some decisions in life to avoid potential injuries or diseases.  He might have a framed picture of Turk in his bedroom.  But any choice he makes does not make it less genuine.  It is who he is.  Thus any decision a writer makes, even within a book, is equally as genuine because the person is genuinely a writer.

Make no mistake, Stephen Markley is a writer.  He will take you on a year long journey and every couple pages pause at an emotional rest stop.  Fill up on humor here, because the next stop will drain the color from your face.  Don’t let the naughty boy humor fool you though.  Sure, there’s lots of filthy hilarious stories throughout.  Its filthy at times, but well written filth.  Any frat boy can say, “I did her, huh huh”.  Not this book.  On the list of twenty something writers’ sex stories Markley is the erotica literature to Tucker Max’s letter to Swank.

The difference is that Stephen has heart.  There is a penultimate scene in the book.  Not his dramatic trip to see the Love Interest.  Not getting the book published (because, if you read it, then obviously he published it).  No, the scene details the biggest life changing event of Markley’s life.  It took place in high school, and it was so huge that his life became split between what happened before and after that day.  And that’s all I can say.  The story is so beautiful, so detailed that its fragile.  This near final chapter becomes a private talk between the reader and the author.  I cant tell you, the reader of this blog, the story because it was a private talk between myself and Stephen.  If you want to know, go pick up the book somewhere.  If he wanted you to know about it, he would have told you.

Throughout the book Markley shows he is both a gifted writer and a guy that yells at the TV while watching a game at the bar.  By the end of the book Stephen becomes someone any other writer should feel he can look up to and sit beside.

Final verdict?  Worth. Every. Penny.  Cant wait for what he does next.



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