Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The rules

1. I am at your service, gentle reader.

2. All events transpiring here comprise a real and true accounting of my time as a writer in residence in a well regarded MFA program beginning in the Autumn Semester in the fifth year of the reign of George the Younger. Said events will be transcribed for you directly by myself or tickled onto the keyboard by the lovely fingers of my yet to be assigned teaching assistant.

3. Names of most persons described in this journal will be changed for the reason of extending my current employment. Physical details will be largely accurate. Dialog will be ruthlessly and faithfully transcribed. This applies to my colleagues at the university, my friends, lovers, and all three of my ex-wives. The rare exceptions to this rule will include the first names of my daughters, which will be real. My girls are both engaged in my little project and expect it to be great fun. I will also partake in the occasional name-dropping out of weakness of character. We all love to drool the names of the celebrities we've known.

4. Locations will be described with great accuracy; only minor details such as flora, species of birds, weather patterns and other minutiae will be distorted to throw off the more intrepid readers. For legal purposes, I must remain temporarily anonymous. Though I would never claim to be known by sight, I have been widely read. Three of my nine books remain in print although it has been years since my last publication. Incidentally, therein lies the impetus for this little endeavor. My contract has me in bed with my publisher for one last volume of nonfiction. For various reasons, I do not wish to fulfill this contract. My next book, frankly, is too good and belongs elsewhere. So when I landed this residency, achieving a semblance of financial stability, my agent suggested the blog as a way of generating enough pages to close my current contract. I thought, why the hell not? After all, I've been gaining interest in the form. Thus, you are witnessing literary history: the Trout is wriggling out of his contractual obligations by writing his next book online. Now that I'm suckling at the teat of academia I can make my own rules. I expect the usual lawsuit, but so be it. My agent was a very fine lawyer in her previous life. Dolores knows her stuff. What's more she looks terrific in a crushed velvet skirt and red lipstick, and I extend my pity to the corporate lackeys they send to face her. In any event, upon completion of my residency two years hence I will print these pages, deliver them unedited to my publisher, and then take my next book--currently languishing in manuscript form--off to delight some independent press. New York, I no longer need thee! I have found employ! Noble Trout, bite thy tongue for all the nasty things thou spake concering the MFA. MFA, the Trout begs thy pardon.

5. The name of my current employer, the town in which that fine institution resides, the names of streets, neighboring cities and of our great state will all be fabricated.

6. The size and working of my reproductive equipment can and will be embellished as the situation requires, though said situations will be portrayed as accurately and as explicitly as possible. I am a portly, sensuous old man so please indulge me.

7. The opinions expressed on the chimpanzee now inhabiting the White House, plus Republicanism in general, will be the actual, verifyable opinions of the Brown Trout.

8. Any student wishing to confirm their suspicions as to Brown Trout's identity shall approach me with mincing steps and whisper in my ear the established code word: Latvia. Said student will retire to my office where (s)he will receive her (his) prize. The first winner will receive my beloved, duct-taped, paperback copy of Keats from my days at Humboldt. Further prizes will be determined at random and without considerable forethought. All winners will be sworn to secrecy and subject to requests to run errands or other menial labour. This offer is extended to all students in my current program, or those at any of the institutions I visit in official capacity for lectures or readings during my two years of residency.

9. I will never lie about food, wine or fishing.

10. Onward.