I Used to Write Novels. Then Trump Rendered Fiction Redundant.
After Donald Trump became president, Richard North Patterson ditched writing novels for political commentary. Trump himself, Patterson wrote recently, is a fiction writer run amok:
“The aim of the novelist is to enlist others in his fantasies, immersing them in an alternative reality so emotionally compelling that they willingly suspend disbelief,” Patterson argued. “Trump has dangerously conflated this sort of storytelling with real-life presidential leadership, casting himself in the role of the archetypal savior-hero, battling the forces of evil.”
When I saw the title of your recent piece, I wondered whether my mind had been hacked. This idea occurred to me some months ago, though I expressed it slightly differently. So, to reinforce your point and for your entertainment, I humbly present the attached poem, “Death of the Novelist.”
Nothing any writer
Of fiction might conjure
Can today compare—or even compete—
The corporeal world
This is no metaphor:
We all live in an apartment, beneath
The gilded penthouse of a bottle-blonde,
Boot-clad Imelda Marcos millipede,
A shoe dropped every news cycle
But never the waited-for other shoe
Who can evoke Dystopia
Darker than this,
More Atwoodian than Atwood,
More Orwellian than Orwell,
More Kafkaesque than Kafka?
No one can.
No one can weave cloth
More whole than that woven,
First with 140-character threads,
Now more luxuriously
With 280-count threads:
A death shroud
Of tweet sheets.