The Shape of Ample Breasts
By ice rivers
Before I wrote my first novel, I had a feeling I was about to write a novel so I sought out a purported novelist to help me along.
The course was called "Writing a Novel"
I paid some money for this opportunity so naturally I had high expectations.
To protect the innocent, I'm not going to identify the names of the people nor the instructional organization involved, except for Gilette.
The first night of "class", I found myself in a room with about 20 other people who I guess had the feeling they were about to write a novel, needless to say all of the involved thought they were real hot shit. One of the women went so far as to wear a top hat to class.
Then into our midst strode the actual novelist, our guru.
Let's call this guy William Gilette and let's call the novel that he had written and published "Robots on Rushmore".
So Gilette comes into the room and my fellow "students' fall into a sycophantic swoon.
I was already feeling uncomfortable when Gilette started unloading on Stephen King to the delighted bemusement of the clapping seals in the "clasroom".
At the time, I was still a fan of King.
Everybody else in the class held him in artistic contempt and the bonding was savage.
I raised my hand remarked that whether you liked him or not, you had to admit that King knew how to write a novel and that was the reason I was in this class...to pick up some tips on writing a novel. I was not here to nitpick an established writer. Especially a writer of King's eminence.
Hostile silence from everybody including Gilette.
It was like I had walked down the wedding aisle with dogshit on my shoe.
The lambasting of King continued for the entire class and reached a point of nitpicking nirvana when Gilette triumphantly climaxed his lambasting by opening one of King's books and showing us all a couple of passages he had underlined in red.
In one of the underlined passages King had used "ample breasts" in description of a minor character.
In the other underlined passage, King had described a monstrosity of some sort as an "amorphous shape"
Gilette grinned and pretended he was talking to King as if King were a student of his.
" Steve of course she has "ample breasts. Most of your characters have "ample breasts" Why do you keep creating characters with 'ample breasts' there are other kinds of breasts Steve.Ample, ample ample. Why don't you try buxom once in awhile or voluptuous. No it's ample, ample ample but at least you're not claiming that the breasts have an amorphous shape. Do you know what the word amorphous means, Steve? It means shapeless. So when something has an amorphous shape, that means it has a shapeless shape...a shapeless shape what the hell is that? Is a shapeless shape like a breastless breast or fishless fish"
BY the time he got to fish the seals in the class were clapping, laughing, begging for more fish and apparently satisfied that they had learned something about writing a novel.
I had learned something as well.
I wasn't coming back to this particular "class".
I wished I could get my money back but I didn't hink I could get a refund based on marginalization/alienation and mistrust of instruction.
Instead I went home and decided to read the copy of "Robots on Rushmore" that had been required reading for the class.
Sure enough on page 19 I found "ample breasts".
I prayed I would find "amorphous shape"
On page 48, eureka, amorphous shape.
The next day I was in the office of the institute with MY red underlines.
Long story short.
I got my money back.
I got money for the gas I had used to get to the class.
I got money for the book I was required to read which I turned over underlines and all.
I don't know what happened to Gilette.
Fifteen years later. I wrote my first novel.
It might have been earlier because when I left that "class" the last thing on earth I wanted to do was spend my time "Writing a Novel" that someday might be read by somebody like Gilette or any of his seals.