I have elided the personal details that were inadvertently forwarded to Kottke, feeling shock at the news.
If indeed you and Fiona consider me a crackpot, as Lennon claims in this nasty and accusatory email, I would appreciate the courtesy of a direct reply instead of hearing it from someone else. I really am sorry that I hurt your feelings. But, true to form, your reaction was bizarrely, scarily extreme. Ethan gently mocked you on twitter and you called him a cunt.
I told him to ignore you and you rage-subtweeted me and blasted off emails to my publisher and wife, saying god knows what. When you originally decided to cut me out of your life, it was because I forgot to answer an email at a time when my personal life was in utter turmoil. So, needless to say, our friendship was over. But I continued to get emails from people I know—writers, editors—telling me I should go see what you were saying about me online.
Why, Ed? I forgot to answer an email in fact, I never did find it, and suspect it never arrived. I was mildly rude to you, by accident. In exchange, you exploded with rage at me in public.
People forget to answer my emails all the time, because they have complicated lives. I forgive them, without question. Your rage permeates every aspect of your personal presentation and your writing. Giving a shit that mediocre writers are famous is a waste of time. Who cares if Dyer wrote a boring essay, or at least an essay you think is boring?
Who cares if Eggers and Franzen are overrated? Hell, man, Eggers actually, substantively hurt me back in the day, and do you see me denouncing him in public? I even positively reviewed one of his books in the LRB, because, to my surprise, I actually liked it, and was forced to man up and admit that a guy who was a jerk to me one time might actually write a decent book. It genuinely shocked me to hear that you had written to Erin and Fiona, people I love, and with whom I have had an excellent relationship for five years.
What makes you think that a bunch of invective from some random crackpot could change their minds about me? And now you have permanently lost the potential respect of these wonderful women. In other words, you are not making my life a living hell. You are making your life a living hell. It looks like this: people think you are crazy and dangerous. It is too stressful.
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I received your email last night. I had intended to sleep on it before responding, but this email from John is absolutely nasty, judgmental, out of control, and not reflecting the truth. I greatly appreciate your kind efforts to intercede. You have been nothing less than reasonable, cordial, and fair-minded.
I wish to point out that I never wanted to hurt anybody. But when John is this obsessed with smearing me, backbiting, and trying to paint me as a crackpot who is off his meds, it is abundantly clear that I cannot communicate with him in any way. I am sorry that you have had to contend with this situation, as you face a very difficult time in Buffalo. Again, I offer my greatest hope that your mother will recover swiftly and my gratitude for your efforts under the circumstances. I needed to move on. I wanted to do more important and more serious work.
I wanted to do more positive work. Because I was tiring of some of the anger and the negativity that was coming out in my writing. Then, when I was morally appalled by the Sandy Hook massacre, I started a new podcast, Follow Your Ears , opening with a two part episode on guns. While I enjoyed making this new radio program, it also became clear that the show was taking far more time than Bat Segundo to make.
So I started a benign Indiegogo campaign on March 18, to walk across the nation and collect oral history and was deeply humiliated. My best and my most good faith and my most ambitious work was not enough. It was a failure and that failure felt like the worst thing that could happen to me at the time. And I hated myself for being a failure.
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I also hated that my partner at the time had to live with me like this: the pathetic man pushing forty who had nothing to contribute. For by then, she was the one supporting us, not me. And that was equally shameful and loathsome to me. The only thing I had left was the beginnings of a second novel the first had been rightly rejected by agents who were nice enough to read it.
But I also had something else. I revived The Bat Segundo Show , airing the first new episode in May , when it became clear that my Indiegogo campaign was a wash. I needed something that I could do for which I could save face. But even though my interviews were always impeccably conducted, this was a step backwards.
And, as I toiled to finish my second novel, I became increasingly sensitive to criticism. Is any of this forgivable? I had a kind and tremendously understanding partner and a great deal of time to work on whatever I wanted to and I worked sixteen hour days. Who was I to believe that I was entitled to some reward for good work when many artists, far smarter, more brilliant, and decidedly more talented than me, go decades without a shred of recognition?
Why was I so obsessed with going it alone? Why did I throw myself into my labor with the resolute work ethic of a Victorian sweathouse? Is this the mark of some awful, self-absorbed person? Can that person be reformed? I have seen people more troubled than I am go on to do incredible things.
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And if he is reformed, if he does recognize and address his own failings in the worst way possible, how much punishment is enough? The only thing I can do now, after divulging the underlying facts and emotions of this episode, is to not do anything like this again, to now publicly apologize to Ethan Nosowosky, the people at Graywolf, and J. Robert Lennon — for this very lengthy document is the more definitive and truer assessment of my character. We can even hire James Urbaniak to narrate it! Find out if Ed Champion will figure out how to unlock the safety after this message from Blue Apron!
Be sure to use the hashtag killyourselfmisogynistscum! I do, in fact, want to live. This was about the considerable hatred I felt for myself. Before the Emily Gould essay published on June 27, and my subsequent suicidal ideation, before my Twitter meltdown and my subsequent suicide attempt, before the nine month debasement after I lost everything, I already had plenty of shame and self-destruction that I was inflicting on myself. It turns out that I had to lose everything to find out who I really was and how I needed to live.
Is this candor enough to overturn my mistakes? Or will this document be inevitably compared to the very long and quite frightening manifestos written by Jared Lee Loughner or Elliot Rodger? Kevin Nguyen has a wild imagination.
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I never threatened physical violence against him. And I had hoped that one of his co-workers, a very kind and far from retaliatory man who I was friendly with and who I will not name, might be able to intervene and find a peaceful resolution. Presumably, Nguyen is too graceless or too stupid to understand how clearing up matters works.
But it all started with this tweet back in August 30th:. Guys, I just figured out who the worst person in publishing is. Kevin linked to a tweet of mine directed at Emily Mandel, but did not comprehend the satirical intent. A few did off the grid. I also wanted my Twitter feed to become a riskier place and I was simultaneously testing out some ideas about passive-aggression and subtweets that I later incorporated into this Salon essay:.
I'm not sure what "Ed Champion" is, but it sounds like a real asshole. So I was wondering if you — or, even better, one of his direct superiors — could have a talk with him and get him to stop. And if only my self heard my self typing that last sentence! Maturity or something close to it, who knew? Again, my apologies for bringing you into this.
I do hope that all is well.