I was at lunch recently with my dear friend Larassa Kabel, aka. my personal John Galt, and she asked my if I ever felt prescient. Didn’t see that question coming! Alas, I rarely see anything coming. In fact, today I had another shining example of “I’m always the last to know!”
Writers often hear the advice: Write the novel you want to read. That’s what I’m doing with A Reasonable Price, my current work in progress. I read a lot, but few books, even the great ones, really speak to me. I love a plot-driven, emotional roller coaster of a book with characters you love to hate, e.g. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. So I started poking around the internet in regards to antiheroes. Would you look at this list! This looks like the Mother List from where I’ve picked all my favorite books and movies (and a few I hated for the same reason (see American Psycho)). Who knew? I’m a sucker for an antihero. And indeed, I’ve got a terribly good one in A Reasonable Price.
I had a similar bonk on the head about a year ago when I was talking with New York Lit agent Jenny Bent about my last novel, and the same thing happened. She told me I write noir fiction. How did I not know that before she did?
In the art world, there is a category called Outsider Art. The term actually grew from the name art brut coined by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe, among other things, art produced by insane asylum inmates, but I’m not going to touch that connection here. It does make me wonder though, if there’s an official category for Outsider Literature. (Wikipedia says no, but that I can ask for it to be created. Hmmm.) In essence, outsider art, and by extension, outsider literature is that which is created by untrained “artists.”
Yep, that’s me! And countless other authors who do not have Lit degrees or MFAs; I’m certainly not alone here.
All of this makes me wish, however, that I were Benjamin Button, living my life in reverse so that I could finally be prescient.