Advertisements for Himself

As a semi-newbie blogger, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to check out each new follower to Shooting the Messenger. I figure I owe it to return the favour, plus it keeps things interesting.

About a month or two ago, things got a whole lot more interesting when cult author and DePaul University writing professor Dr. Joseph Suglia began following this blog. Since I’m not in the habit of quizzing readers for feedback, I just presumed Dr. Suglia liked something I wrote. Alas, I’ve been forced to rethink that presumption.

According to San Diego CityBeat reviewer Kinsee Morlan, Dr. Suglia makes no secret about using social media to promote his books.

[Joseph Suglia] may be one of the first Myspace junkies to use the peer-to-peer marketing capabilities of the site to promote his latest book, Watch Out […] Suglia hit me up on Myspace to ask if I’d review his book. I appreciated his ballsy conceit – at one point he wrote to say his book “is the greatest accomplishment of my life: literally or otherwise” – almost as much as I came to appreciate the conceit of his central character. 

Consulting with my friend Google,¹ I’m informed Dr. Suglia is both “The Greatest Writer in the World” and “A Self-Important Prick.”

One of the above quotes provides the headline to an actual review of Dr. Suglia’s 2006 novel, Watch Out; the other was taken from the author’s own Myspace page. Without peeking, care to guess which goes where?

If the only reason to follow my blog was to promote his latest writing exercise, I’m forced to concede the ploy worked brilliantly. Thanks to Dr. Suglia, I have now read most of Table 41: A Novel. The good news is, it’s as batshit crazy as you’d hope.

Dr. Suglia’s MO for each chapter – or “table” – is simple. Almost invariably, he opens with a description of an animal/s, walking/crawling/slithering etc. around a public setting, then finds as many different ways to embellish the description until all available synonyms have been exhausted. A typical line goes:

The tiger freezes and stares its frozen stare, locking eyes with your looking eyes. Its eyes are the green of green Jell-O.

Who can identify what shade of genius/madness colours Dr. Suglia’s soul? Personally, I applaud any fiction writer who uses the adjective “lactogenic” and is still allowed to enter a bookstore.

To read the highly entertaining Table 41: A Novel, click here. To watch Dr. Suglia read an excerpt from his novel, click here.

¹That’s a Sonic Youth reference, for all the cool kids out there.


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