15 January 2013
Failure, A Writers Life is a catalogue of literary monstrosities. Its loosely organized vignettes and convolutes provide the intrepid reader with a philosophy for the unreadable, a consolation for the ignored, and a map for new literary worlds. ...
In your gloomy moods, do you sometimes think you are the least successful writer in the world? You may not hold that record: the Guinness Book once listed the world’s ‘Least Successful Author.’ He was an American called William Gold, and his citation in Guinness reads: ‘William Gold has earned only 50 cents after 18 years of unceasing labour.’ Sadly, Guinness no longer includes an entry for the least successful author, probably because it is difficult to quantify ‘least successful’.
In his book, Joe Milutis discusses people notable mainly for their lack of success, many of whom lurked on the fringes of the writing business.
Take Mrs Marva Drew for example: she spent six years typing all the numbers from ‘one’ to ‘one million’. Why she did it is not explained, but it was an achievement of sorts. Then there was the splendidly named Abraham Lincoln Gillespie. He invented his own language, albeit little more than a contrived version of English; a musical term, for example, was MelodSyntheBuildAlong.