I write this to you so that we could stop this feuding we been having. It's all so depressing for me, you must understand--I hope you understand.
The problem is, Mr Maloney--actually, can I call you Geoffrey? Maybe even Geoff? That wouldn't be too forward now, would it? An intimacy that we could not have? I realise that you are well established and I... well, I am not much, I know, but I like to think that you're approachable. That I could email you. That I could call you. I like to think that, Geoff. I know you're busy. Your career spans an impressive seventeen years and that you struggle (with very real outside commitments, I imagine) to find the blessed time to give us more of your gift--another writer, I imagine, he or she might have become bitter with the thought that they deserve more than what they have gotten in that time, but you, no. No. I've never heard it said that you feel as if you've been slighted and that your obvious genius has been overlooked. That's what gets you such respect from me, though I'm loathe to say it publicly. I've never been one to be publicly open, you must understand. But the way in which you have held yourself, the way in which you have not allowed the passing of other writers, those with obviously less ability than you, into fame and some kind of financial reward... the way you have not allowed that to turn you bitter, I admire that so much.
Which is why it depresses me to hear you refer to me again as an intellectual scumbag. I know I should use my intelligence just for entertainment. That I should just write fiction and voice no opinions. I know! I know! But I am so weak, Geoff. I see something and I think I got a right to say what I want. That nobody can stop me! You're right when you say I see it as a "natural right to criticise other writers who are working in the same market as [me]", as if, you know, their work should be able to stand up to that kind of standard. To my standard! Who do I think I am? A reader?! You're right! It's so unethical of me to both write and read--if my time with the Australian scene has shown me anything, it's that writing and reading simply do not go together! This knowledge tortures me, and leaves me awake at night, caught between the realisation that it is, as you say, that I'm totally unethical, and the thought that, ohmyfuckinggod, the thought that I read it, and that--that I should be free to say what I want! It tortures me so, I want you to know--it tortures me like you would not believe.
At times I think it makes me nothing but vindictive.
I look at this blog and I think, "Is this all I do? Talk about fiction and make fun of people? Why would people read that? Are they just as bad as me? Is it just a circle of negativity that we live in?" Oh, God, let it not be so!
I just want to say, Geoff--no, Mr Maloney. It's more right for a man of your stature. I just want to say, Mr Maloney, that you are showing me the errors of my way. I am listening to you. I am learning. I don't want my time to pass me by. I don't want to wake up one day and find that I've become bitter because my opportunities have passed me by and that I would feel as if people should owe me for what I have done--for the great contributions I have made!
Mr Maloney, I plead, I beg, be my guide away from this fate,
"No doubt Ben will take snippets from this post and turn it into a a joke on his blog. Ben , of course, could stop being vindictive and start being ethical."
(Been a while, hasn't it?)