Welcome back to another edition of Pulitzer-winner Zach Pugh’s “Life, Love & Other Mysteries,” where I take real emails from real readers and give them advice based on my MENSA-level knowledge.
You’re obviously one of the greats in the literary world these days (maybe of all time ;)). As an aspiring writer myself, I was wondering if there was any advice you could give as to becoming a great writer.
First off, thank you so much Darren. Honestly, you said some things that definitely don’t get said enough. As for the gift of writing, for most it’s a lifelong process. But I have found the way to true literary enlightenment. It all starts with the heart. If you don’t have that, then what in the heck are you doing!? I remember a particular night in the early 2000s. I was on day three of a methamphetamine bender, really getting into Linkin Park, and all of a sudden my heart stopped (right as LP’s “In The End” was peaking). I blacked out and woke up two days later, and inspiration had struck. I wrote my first novel, All Flies Be Free From The Void, in eighteen hours. Then I slept for seventy-six straight hours. Turns out I had a brain tumor! Got that removed, and now ten years later I’m one of the most original voices in the written word. So, my advice? Drugs, drugs, drugs! Unless you can get a brain tumor, then do that!
You have one of the best beards these eyes have ever seen. It’s like a wild creature leading the herd to the Promised Land. As a straight man who can appreciate the beauty in another man’s facial hair, I just gotta know: How do you do it?!
Wow, Taren, that was a very nice email. So many nice things being said about me this week. It really makes you realize how much your genius and intellect is appreciated. As for your question, Taren, there’s a lot that goes into this. In the 1200s, my Viking ancestors raped and pillaged their way across Europe. As they spread, so did their seed and a stronger, more bearded race was born. Cut to 1991 and my inappropriately hairy father and mother birth a child and name him Zach. He enters the world with a five o’clock shadow, and by six months is shaving his own face. So Taren, the unfortunate answer is that there is nothing you can do. This is a face blessed by the gods, and no matter how much you would like to, you cannot be me. There is only one. Bow down. Heed my words. Concede.
As a female fan I love the way you portray women in your books. You just seem to get us. And a handsome guy like you with such a sensitive side? You must be turning down women constantly. What’s it like to be such a sex symbol?
-Karen, San Bernardino
I’ll be at the House of Pies tomorrow night from 7-10 p.m.
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