Were you placed on this Earth to write, or to discourage other people from writing? Take this quiz and find out!
1. Who are you?
a. The son of God, sent here to bring peace to the world and all its peoples. I also might try to write a novel while I’m here, if I have the time.
b. A recent MFA graduate, so I’ve learned from the best fiction writers how to build my words into exquisite little castles of meaning, each one original and special and stylistically unimpeachable.
c. Obviously a fiction writer, but I also play guitar and sculpt and I might just say to hell with it all and become a filmmaker. Yes, I’m a guy, what does that have to do with anything?
d. A very opinionated woman who hates the thought of pursuing any other career and hates the whole concept of “careers” in general. I also have a crack pipe right here, and some crack to put in it.
2. What do you want?
a. Oh, the usual, you know. Turn water into wine, write a few pages a day. I’m a simple man.
b. I want to capture the incandescent… no, that’s too pretentious. I want to somehow unearth the deep contradictions that seep from… no. I seek to… no, I’d like to… I am… I…
c. It changes every minute, honestly. Some mornings I wake up with a song in my head and I have to write it down immediately. Other times, I stay out late and when I get home, my welding equipment just calls to me. What do you mean, do I have a trust fund? What kind of a question is that?
d. I want to board a rocket ship to outer space. Or I could smoke this crack, I guess.
3. Who is your best friend?
a. Judas, no question. Great guy.
b. One of my thesis advisors was the great poet Oliver Hatfield, and he told me that friendship slouches like a corrugated metal shack over the artist’s life, to keep the ravages of the world at bay. He also told me that he was not my friend and I should never text him on weekends again.
c. I have too many friends right now, they’re really cutting down on my productivity. Plus I’m spending the fall in Bali and I can only take like three people with me. What do you mean can you come?
d. I’m my own best friend, which is why I spend most of my time alone. I enjoy my own company a lot, particularly when I’m smoking this crack pipe that I have right here.
4. Do you think some higher power calls you to write?
a. I’m pretty close with my dad, so yeah. He’d prefer that I judge the living and the dead first, but after that He says it’s pretty much my call.
b. If by “higher power” you mean the spirit of David Foster Wallace, the answer is no.
c. The guy who runs Netflix right now is good friends with my mom, and he’s always saying I should finish my script about the sculptor in Phuket who falls in love with a dolphin, but I should turn it into a kind of TV series for tweens, like that Australian mermaid show. What do you mean “can I have his number”?
d. I never thought so before, but when I suck on this crack pipe, Zingthor, god of the Malthusian Peninsula, beckons my words to the page.
5. What keeps you writing every day?
a. I never write. I just happen to know that when I finally do write, it’ll be great. I’m the Chosen One, remember?
b. I try to write every day, but it’s usually not nearly as exquisite or as unique as it needs to be, so I delete it all immediately.
c. Right now I’m really into textiles, honestly.
d. Raw fear. Because I ran out of crack.
If you answered mostly As, congratulations, because you’re A WRITER! (Bonus: You’re also Jesus the Almighty Lord and Savior!) Words flow onto the page for you, water becomes wine, one fish can feed a crowd of thousands. Good thing you were born a man – or, the Son of Man, more specifically!
If you answered mostly Bs, you are a WRITING INSTRUCTOR. Your job is to demean your students until they’re just as paranoid and self-conscious about their inadequate prose as you were about yours, back when you still wrote things occasionally. But don’t feel too bad, because you have the exact skill set required to convince students that writing isn’t about exploring ideas and emotions on the page, it’s about conforming to a predetermined template that will impress a tiny faction of people who’ve been thoroughly schooled in said predetermined template. Ah, a life in the arts!
If you answered mostly Cs, you are a SHOWRUNNER. Once you’re done with your trip to Bali, you should return to Los Angeles and begin your TV writing career in earnest. Yes, yes, television is so commercial and you’re already very rich, so why bother? But your mom’s good friend says it’ll be fun, dude, so why the fuck not? You can always sculpt in your summer home in Jackson Hole when you’re on hiatus.
If you answered mostly Ds, you’re an ADDICT. I guess you could call yourself a writer if you really want to, but you’re just a woman with some weird ideas that are too emotional to be respected by the literary community and too odd to be commercially viable. Plus, people say you’re difficult to work with, which they never say about that dude who’s writing that Balinese dolphin love story. Did you know his series just got picked up by Netflix? Yep, he’s pretty amazing. Some people just have what it takes to succeed, you know?
Does the spirit of David Foster Wallace like the cut of your jib? Write to askmolly at protonmail.com and find out!