Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things. This week David Ebenbach writes about The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy and other stories, winner of the Juniper Prize, just published by University of Massachusetts Press.
If The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy and other stories were a clothing pattern, it would be plaid, and it would be a plaid that used a lot of colors—maybe all the colors—and one of the colors would think, “All of the other colors go great together, but I don’t fit in.” And each of the other colors would be thinking the exact same thing.
If The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy and other stories were a novel, it wouldn’t make sense, because it’s a short story collection, and so the characters keep changing, and the reader would be like, “Hey—what ever happened to that one woman who was in the cult? And what does she have to do with the man who’s terrified of the outdoors if there are trees in it, let alone that guy who really wasn’t invited to the orgy?” And there would be no answers. The book would just say, “Would you like to meet some new characters who are also trying to figure life out?”
If The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy and other stories were a haiku, it would be considerably over the syllable count. But the extra syllables would be like, “Oh, don’t mind me,” and they would try to hide behind the legit syllables.
If The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy and other stories were an art exhibition of brilliant art, it would be an exhibition of Edward Hopper paintings. At least, that’s what my wife tells me. Which is pretty nice; she’s nice. I personally think there would be a few paintings by Jean Dubuffet mixed in there, too. Or maybe it would be paintings that Hopper and Dubuffet (in some alternate universe) painted together. Like, it would be paintings of people sitting alone in a stark rectangle of light, but in many cases the people would be total goofballs with crazy teeth.
If The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy and other stories were accused of a crime, it would have twenty-three different alibis, and not one of them, by itself, would get the book off the hook for the crime, but maybe all together they would.
David Ebenbach is the author of five books, including The Artist’s Torah, a guide to the creative process. He lives with his family in Washington, D.C. Find out more at davidebenbach.com or follow him on Twitter at @debenbach.