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So Dan Brown and David Foster Wallace Walk into a Writing Workshop…

October 6, 2009

In September 2009 Boston Magazine reported that Dan Brown and David Foster Wallace shared a creative writing class at Amherst College.

Week 1.
Hi there, I’m David.
Who do you work for?
Excuse me?
The Freemasons? The Illuminati? Bilderbergs? Opus Dei – that’s it. You must work for Opus Dei.

You look like a self-flagellator.
Aren’t all writers self-flagellators? I mean on some level, at least.
Haha. HAHAHA! I like your style, David. Let’s be friends.

Week 2.
I still can’t believe They kicked me out of the journalism seminar and told me to do fiction instead. Everything I write is true!
You know, that’s interesting – everything I write is true, too.

Week 3.
[left-eye nystagmic] David did you know that I graduated Phi Beta cum Laude from the Harvard-Sorbonne Institute of Advanced Studies with a Doctoral Baccalaureate degree in the field of Symbology, with a quintuple-major in jujitsu from The Citadel?
I did not know that. Why is your eyeball twitching?
I’m on amphetamines that acceleromerate my thoughts to the speed of a Falcon 2000EX corporate jet traveling through an alternative dimension at the square root of the speed of light squared. That way my enemies can’t read my mind.

Multi-dimensional mind-reading was the subject of my dissertational hypothesis, you see.

Week 4.
[wearing a trench coat and a tophat and cotton balls glued to his face in the shape of a moustache] David. Tell me everything you know about zodiac iconography in relation to entanglement physics and manta ray migration.
Um.. I don’t really…
[slams fist on desk] Of course you don’t! That’s why you’re doomed. Doomed!

[Dan Brown empties a vial of cocaine on his desk and snorts it through a rolled-up facsimile copy of Dead Sea Scroll #1QapGen (“Genesis Apocryphon”)]

DFW: Holy shit! Dan!
[sniffs] David. Please calm yourself. In order to complete my transmorgrification into a Gnostic Archon it is hypercrucially imperatative that I dissolve my internasular septum by any means necessary.

Because if I don’t have a septum then where will They put the barcode, David? Think about it.

Week 5.

[Dan Brown is naked except for his head, which is wrapped in several layers of aluminum foil. Two eyeholes are poked through the foil. They don’t quite line up with his eyes.]


Don’t be naïve, David.

Week 6.
Letter from Dan Brown to David Foster Wallace:

I regret to appraise you of my unfortunate absence from class today, but by now surely even you must know that I no longer exist in physical form. The instructor, who the four Zoas have informed me is but a pawn of the Decepticons, asked me to read and edit some of your writings as my final corporeal act on Earth before I ascended to the starry realms that the Book of Ahania speaks of. Your original passage is above and my revised version below. Quite obviously with the full moon coinciding with the aurora borealis the use of Track Changes was out of the question.

I like this Lenz character and think he will make a great hero for your book. Is he a Symbologist by any chance?

Lenz euphorically tells Green how he once got the tip of his left finger cut off in a minibike chain once and how but within days of intensive concentration the finger had grown back and regenerated itself like a lizard’s tail, confounding doctoral authorities. Lenz says that was the incident in his youth after which he got in touch with his own unusual life-force and
energois de vivre and knew and accepted that he was somehow not like the run of common men, and began to accept his uniqueness and all that it entailed.

Revised by Dan Brown, Ancient of Days:
Robert Langdon Lenz’ eyeballs glowed like the eyes of a tiger that had high-wattage halogen lamps where the pupils of its eyes would normally be. He cut a distinguished figure and was what all the young women in the creative writing class would call ‘eccentrically good-looking with a whiff of danger.’ He lit a fine Cuban cigar and leaned in towards the ravishingly beautiful Dr. Consuela Green.

“Once,” he nearly whispered, “When I was held prisoner by the Illuminati at their secret temple in the basement of the White House, I nearly lost a hand to the salt water crocodile that lived in my cell.”

Dr. Green’s intake of breath was crisp with the sharp bite of anticipation.

“Fortunately,” Lenz continued, “I was able to cleverly convince the crocodile to befriend me and use the powerful force of its strong terrifying jaws to break through the bars of my prison and facilitate my escape, and I thought to myself that at no time in my life had my intensive study of Kabbalistic mysticism been as profitable to me as it had been at that precise moment.”

9 Comments leave one →
  1. ecorwin permalink
    October 6, 2009 4:39 pm

    The difference between genius and “good enough” apparently is in the ability to commercialize mediocre writing into big dollar signs. Personally, I prefer the genius. Nice parody.

  2. October 6, 2009 5:01 pm

    Hee hee.

  3. October 7, 2009 12:52 am

    Fabulous, Detox! Ya had me rollin’ on the floor, LMAO. What a great hand you are at parody. Doomed! (I don’t really think that, it’s just fun to write out and bang my fist on my desk).

    I like the look, though it’ll take a bit of getting used to. Same goes for Daryl. Once you get to know someone wearing one set of clothes, it’s weird at first when they show up in new costume.

  4. Joan permalink
    October 7, 2009 11:55 am

    Again, you’re making me scare my cube mates when I burst out laughing and grab the tissue to dab at my eyes. The perfect thing to read before heading into a 6 hour training class – priceless!

  5. October 7, 2009 6:19 pm

    That was terrific.

    • Barbara permalink
      October 7, 2009 8:14 pm

      Will you come to my next dinner party? 😉

  6. Tim permalink
    November 3, 2009 8:25 pm

    Haha, this made my day.


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