Evil Monkey: God Bless the Heroism of Writers

Jeff: How’s it going.

Evil Monkey: Fine.

Jeff: Anything new.

Evil Monkey: Just contemplating heroism.

Jeff: Okay…

Evil Monkey: Is flying a plane courageous if you’re a pilot?

Jeff: Er, no.

Evil Monkey: Is making a cabinet courageous if you’re a carpenter?

Jeff: I guess it depends on the context. Is he balanced over a gaping abyss and being pursued by ex-Nazis?

Evil Monkey: No.

Jeff: Then no.

Evil Monkey: Is it courageous to make a sculpture if you’re a sculptor?

Jeff: Are you going anywhere with this?

Evil Monkey: Is it courageous to blow up a balloon if you work at the circus blowing up balloons?

Jeff: Now you’re just being ridiculous.

Evil Monkey: Is it courageous to light yourself on fire if you’re a pyro?

Jeff: Shut up.

Evil Monkey: Is it courageous to light your own farts if you’re a fart lighter?

Jeff: ….

Evil Monkey: is it courageous to make snarky remarks if you’re the insane mental creation of someone made just to do that?

Jeff: Yes. I think so. I give up. I take back what I said earlier. Writing is a heroic act.

Evil Monkey: Jeff, just not allowing our constituent atoms to go their separate ways is courageous. Just getting up in the morning and having a cup of coffee is courageous.

Jeff: That strikes me now as an act of extraordinary valor.

Evil Monkey: Jeff, there are a million courageous writers out there, putting words down on paper despite life’s best attempts to stop them. People turning their personal crises and experience into the stuff of dreams. Don’t dent those dreams. Don’t undermine that heroism.

Jeff: Yessir. Permission to resume writing. Sir.

Evil Monkey: Go to it, you hero. And dig up some shit about your parents’ divorce while you’re at it and stuff it in there.

Jeff: Will do.

Evil Monkey: You big fat hero you!

Jeff: You big fluffy monkey!

Evil Monkey: C’mere and give me a hug.

Jeff: No, you c’mere and give me a hug.

Evil Monkey: Okay, so maybe we won’t hug. But you’re a hero, you!

Jeff: Oh yes I am!

Evil Monkey: Now you go do what heroes do–go sit at a desk and type!

Jeff: Will do!


  1. Maggie Lance says

    Hi Mr. Vandermeer,

    This morning four laptops were stolen from some of the students at Clarion West. More information is here:http://albionidaho.livejournal.com/ .

    Would you mind please posting this information on your blog and spreading the word?

    Thank you so much.


    Maggie Lance, Clarion West student 2008

  2. jeff vandermeer says

    sure but nowhere near a computer until tomorrow. so sorry to hear this.

  3. says

    Heh. Writing doesn’t feel like heroism. Most times it feels like ditch digging.

    But I just KNOW the good stuff is down there somewhere.

    Now, where’s my shovel?

  4. says

    I’d agree that writing is a heroic act. Few things a human can attempt are as difficult to do well, and often the reward is not commensurate with the risk and effort. Heroism is making the work *right,* for its own sake.

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Really? I don’t really think it is. It might be brave at times, if you’re writing in a country where what you write might get you a bullet in the head. But here in the US?


  6. says

    Instead of ditch digging, think of writing as filling sandbags: backbreaking, tedious, exhausting…but it does good when you’re done, and it’s for a good cause.

    …I like the image of the entirety of the literary world being a great wall of sandbags, holding back the flood.