[Photo Credit: “Old-Clocks” by Olga Sabo]
On principle, I refuse to read mass-market popular fiction. You know, the low-brow crap always hailed with the same meaningless superlatives: “Break-out success!” “A fantastic work of grand imagination!” “The [fill-in-the-blank] of our age!” It’s not even that I dislike the stuff per se, I just don’t want to waste my time forming opinions about it. Trash is trash. I’m not interested in excavating the literary landfill to uncover all the different kinds of trash it hides. So normally I’d ignore drivel like Peterson’s – except it was impossible to ignore Time Slide.
The book was like some kind of monstrous chimera, a 50 Shades of the DaVinci Code’s Hunt for Red October that – remarkably – appealed to people from every imaginable demographic. Two weeks after the book came out, you couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without overhearing peoples’ meta-commentaries on its impact and implications for our digital/late capitalist/social-media-obsessed/mass-consumer age.
At first these conversations only slightly irritated me. Honestly, I was pretty excited just to discover that people still cared enough about books to discuss them at all. Then one drowsy Wednesday afternoon in early October, I overheard my boss, Derik, discussing the book with Martin, the copywriter who worked in the cube next to me.
Now Derik is one of those nattily dressed corporate frat-boy types who, when he wasn’t busy stringing together a mess of buzzwords, could be found adjusting his gold(?) cufflinks and talking at a subordinate – like he was at this particular moment. So I wasn’t surprised to hear he liked Time Slide. In fact, I was more surprised that he was able to read at all. But Martin? He’s like me: MFA in creative writing, a few published short stories to his name, regularly attends readings and gallery openings, so hearing him openly admit to loving the book shocked me.
Nevertheless, I’d been successfully tuning them out for the better part of an hour when Derik said something that snared my attention:
“You know, I think it must be true what they say: everyone has at least one great novel in them.”
Ugh. I almost threw-up on my keyboard. I hate those sorts of trite, uplifting lines that were already cliché before they’d even been uttered for the first time.
Everyone has at least one great novel in them. Fuck that, I thought, I’ve been writing for years – where’s mine? And what gives a first time author the right to hit it so big?
But then Martin said, “I agree, it’s really a work of art, you know?” and I about blew a gasket. I mean, that really made my blood boil. Art? No. Nonono, Martin. Art changes the world, art teaches us how to live because art itself is a living, breathing thing. Time Slide isn’t art – it couldn’t be art. At most it mimicked art along with all the other stupid trends that form the façade of America’s cultural temple. At most Time Slide is just another pop-fiction opiate for the masses. But the thing is, Peterson wasn’t exactly like other bestselling mass-market authors out there.
Look, everyone likes to shit on the James Pattersons and the Stephen Kings of the world – and like I said, I don’t read their books – but by and large, those authors work for it. Yes, sometimes their stories aren’t exactly “tight,” and yes, often they use the same meticulously crafted story arcs again and again to appease their audiences, but at least they practice their craft. They write and rewrite and write some more until they finally find their voice and the story structure that enables them to pump out bestseller after bestseller – and that takes a lot of work – work you’d only do if you truly love to write.
But the best part is that they get to write for a living. And in my book (pun intended), that’s pretty great. Truthfully, that’s where I wanted to be. I mean, technically I was already writing for a living – I was a copywriter – but I wanted to write my stories. I wanted to create (and be paid for creating) true art.
Regardless, the point is: I respect those authors’ years of dedication even if I don’t respect their work. Peterson, on the other hand, hadn’t spent years practicing anything – especially not writing. Before he became a bestselling author, he was a 25-year bureaucrat for the DMV. In fact, an exposé I read stated that prior to Time Slide he’d written little more than letters to his mom from camp and high school essays.
He was like the Forrest Gump of prose: woke up one morning and just decided to start writing. Maybe that’s where everyone starts, but from life’s little box of chocolates, he somehow picked the hazelnut and overnight phenomenon truffle on his first try. His success just felt so unfair and completely unearned. I mean, it’s like he stumbled upon the key block in the old game MineSweeper. You know, the one you click that basically opens up the entire field? That’s the vein he’d hit. Mainlined right into the American Zeitgeist. Wham! Jugged it, in fact.
But calling him an artist? No, Martin. That’s like saying hard work and luck carry equal moral weight.
Needless to say, overhearing Derik and Martin’s conversation was enough to push me into the anti-Peterson camp. I joined the group of copywriters who regularly gathered around the watercooler to deride all manner of pop-culture rubbish. They displayed the sort of disdain for Time Slide you might expect from a group of undiscovered “geniuses” – “true” artists that couldn’t stomach the thought of their art being debased to a dollar value. And while I didn’t share that particular sentiment with them, their spite did help to soothe my own injured artistic sensibility.
For several weeks, all we did was rehash the same handful of arguments to illustrate the ridiculousness of Peterson’s success. Like me, they hadn’t read Time Slide – they just hated the book on principle – but unlike me, eventually they grew bored of talking about it and moved on to their next object of scorn. I, however, couldn’t stop reading everything about Peterson that I could get my hands on.
Why, though, right? Why would I bother to read interviews and articles about him if I’d grown to revile his work (and him) so much?
Well at first I was just hate-reading, looking for snarky little titbits I could slip into the watercooler bash-sessions (for example: Peterson was rejected from Mensa because he refused to take an IQ test, preferring instead to “verbally assure” the organization’s administrator that he met their standards). But this “research” quickly became something of a hobby for me, utterly engrossing and completely frivolous.
I suppose I found Peterson equal parts infuriating and fascinating. He was just so bizarre, but of all his odd traits, it was his unabating, unapologetic, and completely unwarranted arrogance that drove me the craziest. When an interviewer asked him about the inspiration behind the novel, he claimed it had come to him fully formed in a dream – like divine revelation or something. And he didn’t even include an acknowledgements page in Time Slide because, as he claimed, he “didn’t need any help writing it.” He was always so damn pleased with himself, so cocksure and entitled, like he was trying to be both a genius and a prophet. But it’s one or the other, isn’t it? Either you are the creator or you are the vessel. You can’t take credit for both.
Regardless, months passed but my interest in him never waned. I still hadn’t read Time Slide, only now I really wanted to – only now I couldn’t. Not because giving in to the book’s popularity would somehow betray my true artist brothers and sisters. That wasn’t it at all. I was afraid that reading Time Slide would make me lose interest and break what had become a sort of magic spell in my life.
Let me explain: I kind of lied before. I don’t regularly attend readings and gallery openings. Martin used to invite me to go, but I’d always make up an excuse and eventually he stopped asking. See, for more than a decade, reading and writing were the only things I really cared about. I sacrificed time with friends and family and romantic relationships for more writing time. I used to love sitting at my computer while my Muse whispered stories in my ear. But after I graduated and got a “real job” in the “real world,” practical concerns killed artistic ones.
She tried to warn me it would happen. She’d say, Don’t go to work – it’s a trap. If you go, they’ll keep you there all day! Stay with me, I’ll tell you a story.
Later, I’d tell her. But when I’d get home exhausted and sullen, all I could hear was Derik’s voice in my ear spewing corporate nonsense like: Sorry, but these value-added synergies won’t innovate upcycled bizmeth content marketing by themselves, or Hey, what has two thumbs, loves disrupting the status-quo, and foments paradigmatic shifts while rightshoring the seamless integration of new markets?
And that’s how buzzwords slowly but surely suffocated my beautiful Muse. Yet another victim of language abuse.
So I started listening to podcasts on my commute instead of reading, and I watched TV instead of finishing the novel I’d begun writing for my MFA thesis. I told myself that I’d get back to it someday, but if I’m going to be totally honest, I hadn’t finished drafting a single story since I left school.
My life had become pretty barren. But for whatever reason the popularity of Time Slide and Peterson’s improbable personal story intoxicated me. I hadn’t cared so deeply about something in a very long time and I feared that reading Time Slide would change everything for me, that the little flicker of passion that had entered my life would be snuffed out leaving me once more wrapped in ennui’s lack-luster embrace.
I couldn’t risk that. I was enjoying myself too much – but I was also terribly, incurably curious about the book. I read reviews and plot synopses online, I visited all the blogs and fan sites – I knew all about it – except it wasn’t enough. I realized I needed to talk to someone.
I caught up with Martin one morning as he queued for the elevator with the other worker bees. It was one of those wet but not-too-cold spring morning where you wear a rain jacket to stay dry and end up sweating through your shirt instead.
Like I said before, Martin openly loved Time Slide, but normally he loved it quietly. When the other copywriters and I would start ragging on Peterson, Martin never tried to defend him; he’d just turn the other cheek and walk away with a placid smile stretched across his face. And at first he did speak calmly. He just talked about the great characters, the plot twists, and the exciting setting as if he was trying to sell me on the book, but I’d already read about all that online.
I interrupted him and said, “Why do you like it so much? Why does the book speak to you?”
That was a mistake. He totally uncorked. Suddenly he was saying every word louder than the last. It was like I had just asked a vegan about turnips – he wouldn’t shut up. And even though he’d had already shed his jacket, aggressive patches of sweat were steadily spreading from his pits.
My cheeks burned with second-hand embarrassment as people started side-eyeing us, but if he noticed their glances – or my discomfort – he didn’t let it deter him. He just kept blathering, barely pausing for breath as he shared his theories of what the book actually meant, the underlying stuff the “masses” totally missed.
“It’s not a book; it’s a revelation, man. It’s like Peterson glimpsed through the code of the Matrix, peaked behind the Wizard’s curtain, saw how the sausage is made. He gets it, you know? Like, he can see the fundamental stuff that makes up our diseased culture and he just tells it like it is.”
What the hell? I thought. Fundamentals of culture? As if there’s some bedrock to the conventions and habits of society? Fat chance! But even if it were true, who the hell is Peterson to tell anyone what is or isn’t fundamental? He hadn’t even finished college.
Thankfully the elevator dinged and the doors opened. As we got on, I noticed a small silver circle pinned to Martin’s pocket.
“What’s that?” I asked, hoping to change subjects.
“It’s a symbol of the Slide,” he explained.
Shit, I said to myself, Should have known.
“See, time slides by us,” he began, and I thought, Okay, that makes sense, I guess – so far so good. Then he continued: “But time is itself unmoved by our values because the malicious words are bad math.” My stomach sank. Nope, I said to myself, this is going to be terrible.
“The real lies lie beneath what’s real, the dream, it might be called. But these malicious words are like invisible creatures that live in the fools’ mouths lying in wait to lie to us, to tell us the lie is not a lie but a hidden truth. So every day the Slide draws closer – you’ll all see,” he said, now directing his diatribe to the elevator at large, “because lies can’t lie in wait while the word creatures of truth that live beneath the tongue of the enlightened speak and spoke and poke their way into our brains until the Slide lays flat in our eyes and minds because the mind bends to this counterfeit and fictitious valuelessness. Like paper money or oneism, the lies we’re supposed to play along with. Only the Slide cannot be stopped so fools see nothing and the enlightened keep their mouths shut tight as it draws closer day by day.”
Where was Derik’s corporate baloney when you needed it, right?
Needless to say, the silence in the elevator when Martin finished was tense. Tense and awkward, as if Martin had just farted really, really loudly and everyone was trying to hold their breath, wishing they hadn’t been such lazy pieces of shit and had just taken the goddamn stairs. I know I was thinking that. I was also thinking that I couldn’t recall reading anything online about Time Slide and circles…
Our floor finally came and I followed Martin out. I was too embarrassed to even look back and offer a conciliatory smile to the rest of the elevator. I just hustled to my cube and sat down without another word. Then I powered up my desktop and pretended to get to work, but I couldn’t concentrate. The whole encounter had completely thrown me off. I decided to search for Martin’s circular pin online. As I suspected, nothing came up – not even in the hardcore fan-blogs. No one else, it seemed, used a circle to represent the “Slide.”
Jesus, I said to myself leaning back and bobbing thoughtfully in my roley-chair, Martin is much stupider than I thought.
But I was wrong. Or not wrong – Martin’s ideas were wrong – but I was wrong to dismiss his way of thinking. Obviously Martin wasn’t some high-priest of Time Slide who had been granted singular and unique access to the book’s “hidden meanings” from on high, but he had come up with the circle symbol on his own. It was his idea, and that’s my point: he didn’t need to corroborate his DIY interpretations of the text for it to be “correct,” because lots of Time Slide fans were forming their own exegeses. And even more bizarre was that somehow from all those chaotic, willy-nilly analyses, something coherent emerged.
Take the Comic Con phenomenon for instance: that summer thousands of “Sliders” (yes, Peterson’s acolytes referred to themselves as “Sliders,” as in the bite-sized hamburgers) gathered with the 130,000 other fan-boys and girls in San Diego for the annual nerd festival. But unlike the many dweebs, dorks, and geeks who arrived in hypersexual or otherwise grotesque outfits, the Sliders didn’t wear costumes. They didn’t even have a booth. In fact, unless you already knew what they had in common, it would’ve been impossible to pick the Sliders out of the crowd. They wandered around just like the other attendees, yet by the end of the second day, they had begun handing out pamphlets with quotes from the book.
I saw pictures of some of these leaflets online. Many of them were hand drawn. No one was in charge of making them. No one was in charge at all. There was no central authority dictating Slider dogma or activity. Nevertheless, out of that nothingness a movement was born.
Comic Con was what made the nation take note of the Slider movement. CNN even included it in an episode of their “Popular Culture in America” miniseries. It was also what finally woke-up the Hollywood bigwigs to Time Slide’s popularity.
Production companies were suddenly tripping over themselves to secure the movie rights. I was eager to see how Peterson would react to the frenzy – there was a lot of money to be made after all and I figured he’d react like any other greedy phony. But throughout the whole bidding war he was pretty much silent, as if he really, truly didn’t care. Finally, an interviewer asked him point-blank if he was excited to see his book made into a film.
I remember the interview the way people remember where they were when JFK was shot: I was eating a grilled Moscowitz at my favorite deli, trying not to spill Russian dressing on my tie as I watched the TV.
When the host asked the question, Peterson just shrugged and said, “Why bother? Everyone will know the story sooner or later.”
Unsure whether Peterson was being difficult or actually believed his own bullshit, the interviewer abandoned her line of questioning and bumbled to an abrupt conclusion a minute later. I held my dripping sandwich, paused mid-mastication for a full minute before finally snapping out of it.
“What a conceited putz,” I spat.
Suddenly I wasn’t hungry. I tossed my sandwich in the bin as I left the deli and tried to think of something else, but I was too frustrated. I couldn’t believe it. This was truly the height of arrogance. It’s like he was saying, “Eventually everyone will read this great work and because it is so great it will be known to all, so why even bother making a movie?”
Of course, not everyone had read Time Slide any more than everyone has read the Bible – and just like the Bible, not everyone that had read it liked it.
As I marched down the sidewalk, a familiar but long forgotten little voice in my mind asked, But does that really matter?
What are you doing here? I thought, pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t heard my Muse’s whisper in years. But before she could answer, I thought, Of course it matters! His prose is weak at best: repetitive sentence structures, poor vocabulary, an overdependence on adverbs – all the basic shit Strunk and White despise.
Yet, the little voice reminded me, he created a phenomenon. Which, naturally, only made me reflect on my own life and my own failures as a writer, leaving me, in turn, even more frustrated.
Great, I thought, You’ve returned, but only to harass me.
I wanted to get back to it – I really did. I wanted to write something beautiful and great and important – actually important – not self-important like Time Slide.
But how? I wondered, How can I do that?
Write what you know, my Muse recommended.
Oh sure, I replied, because that’s what Peterson did, right? What the fuck could he possibly know about the end of time?
Unless, the little voice whispered again, Time Slide had actually been revealed to him in a vision.
I froze in my tracks.
What if he was a prophet? I asked myself, seriously considering this possibility for the first time. What if Time Slide really was the fevered vision of a mystic, a man chosen by God/Brahma/Allah/Buddha or whomever?
All at once, it was like everything clicked into place. I was suddenly at peace with myself, with the Sliders, with Peterson. It all made so much sense. My appetite returned and I walked back into the deli, fished my half-eaten sandwich out of the trash and sat down with it.
That’s why I remembered that interview with such clarity and probably will remember it for the rest of my life. No, not because I ate a sandwich out of the trash – I’ve done that before and I’ll do it again. No, I remember that moment because it was when I started to question my own absolute belief that Peterson was just a phony. That and because the interview was Peterson’s last public appearance before he disappeared.
Now, I don’t know if I ever actually believed that some spiritual revelation led Peterson to write Time Slide, but just admitting it was possible cracked the veneer of rationalism that had been protecting my precious and delicate artistic sensibility. I realized I didn’t have to care. I didn’t have to be angry. It freed me, freed my Muse – and that was all I needed to start writing again. I went home that night full of inspiration. I didn’t hit the Slider blogs, didn’t look at the Peterson Reddit threads, I just sat down and wrote.
I wrote all night and into the morning. I knew I was going to be miserable at work, but I didn’t care. The words that floated off my Muse’s lips tingled my fingertips. I wrote for so long that I was late getting to the office – which was why I didn’t find out Peterson had vanished until I saw Martin, red-eyed and slouched in his cube. He listlessly explained that after his interview the previous evening, Peterson had returned to his hotel but when his agent came to meet him in the morning, he was nowhere to be found.
I tried to act sympathetic as I listened to Martin whine. I patted his shoulder and pinched my eyebrows together in a mask of concern, but my guts felt like they were buzzing. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t happy Peterson was gone, but I certainly wasn’t sad either. I was in awe.
Think about it: Peterson managed to garner the attention of every major news outlet in the world without stepping in front of a camera. I mean, right at the moment when he should have been touring internationally and doing readings and signings and more interviews and then some charity work for good measure, he did the exact opposite. He just disappeared. He literally didn’t do anything and he became the biggest story of the summer.
It’s genius, I thought as I sat back down in my own cube. What a coup! What a stunt! What…incredible art.
Good Lord, I realized more than a little bit horrified. Not a day before I had considered Peterson an irredeemable phony. Now, not only was I considering the possibility that he was actually a prophet, but a true artist as well. He was an arrogant, pompous buffoon, but damn it if I didn’t admire him.
Peterson remained missing the rest of the summer. As expected, his absence galvanized the Sliders. Pretty soon every convention across the country – whether it was for Star Trek or Mary Kay – featured Slider pamphleteers. They showed up unbidden like spontaneously generated fruit flies.
I silently cheered the movement as it continued to gain steam. Their success felt like my own success. The whole charade had become something wonderful, something alive, something I could believe in. For the rest of the summer I was a writing machine. My long forgotten Muse kept story after story pouring out of me. I even managed to complete a draft of the novel I’d begun for my MFA thesis but never finished.
By July, five of my stories had been picked up for publication and I was waiting to hear back about three others. I was pretty pleased with myself, but then something even more amazing happened: I received a query letter from an agent.
Let me repeat that: an agent approached me.
She said she’d read my stories, really liked what I was doing, my voice, my style, blah blah blah and ended by asking if I was working on anything longer, a novel, perhaps?
I was flabbergasted. I never thought this day would come.
I mailed a copy of the recently-finished manuscript to her that afternoon. She called me a week later.
“This is bestseller stuff,” she began. I could tell I was on speaker but I didn’t have the gall to ask who else was in the room with her. “I mean instant classic. It’s going to be a total breakout, smash success for you.”
“Thanks,” I managed to squeak.
“I don’t know how you did it,” she continued, “but we’re talking big-time mass-market appeal. You’re going to be king of the paperbacks.”
She told me she’d mail me the contract by the end of the day. I thanked her again, carefully hung up the phone, and when I was sure the call had disconnected, I shouted with joy.
I thanked my Muse for her words, I thanked Peterson and the Sliders for their inspiration and I vowed that wherever they went next, I would follow. But that didn’t happen because in August, things got ugly.
At an economic recovery conference in Detroit, organizers attempted to ban Sliders from entering. It turned into a bloodbath. Fights broke out, people were trampled – people actually died. The riot dispersed only when the cops teargassed the Cobo Center’s Grand Riverview ballroom.
After that, things spiraled out of control faster than anyone could really comprehend. Within a week, Slider-related violence had spread to workplaces, schools, and community centers. Then a Slider immolated himself in front of the Whitehouse. It was never really clear what he was protesting, but it didn’t matter. The American public was terrified – and frankly, so was I. This wasn’t the movement I’d come to love from afar, this was something else entirely.
Nobody knew where the violence would erupt next. Parents kept their kids out of school and thousands of people quit going to their jobs to avoid subways and city streets. The federal government finally stepped in when several small towns across the country declared themselves Slider only and closed their borders to outsiders. The National Guard was called up to reopen them by force. In a press briefing, the President called the Slider movement a “dangerous, twisted force of whimsy that threatens the very fabric of our democracy.” Strong, hilarious words, but it only spawned more violence – as well as dozens of religious liberty suits.
It had been more than a year since the book came out and I still hadn’t read it, but I didn’t want to anymore. It just didn’t seem important. What was happening on the street had nothing to do with Peterson or Time Slide, it had transformed into something else entirely. And maybe that’s why, mid-September, Peterson reappeared.
He’d been hiding the whole time of course, lurking in the shadows, watching the chaos unfold. I remember his return with the same clarity I remember his disappearance. I was at work, sitting in my cube, when I looked up and realized that no one else was working. I went to the breakroom figuring there had been another Slider attack; instead I found everyone watching Peterson on TV. He was wearing a stuffy suit, sitting in a stuffy conference room reading a prepared statement about the nature of his work. He looked smug as ever, but in his voice I also detected frustration.
“Time Slide is a work of fiction, a figment of my imagination and nothing more. It may be genius,” he said, pausing for what I assume was dramatic effect before delivered the killing blow: “But it’s not real.”
A murmur wafted over the press corps. Martin turned and stomped out of the room. Derik and a surprising number of other people followed him, but I stayed. And I was glad I did, because a moment later, a short, balding reporter in a wrinkled blue blazer stood up.
He cleared his throat and said, “So?”
Peterson blinked stupidly, unsure how to respond.
Then another reporter stood. “Yeah,” she said, “So what? If you want to renounce the prophecy, that’s your problem.”
“But-but it’s my story – my prophecy,” Peterson sputtered.
“It was never yours,” a third, off-camera report chimed in, “prophecies don’t belong to the prophet.”
Cameras still rolling, several more reporters stood and began sidestepped their way out of the rows.
“But it’s my story,” Peterson whined, “I’m the prophet!”
Laughter rippled through the audience. “No, you were the prophet,” someone called, “now you’re just a guy.”
I left the breakroom then, left Peterson to argue and plea his case over the rising din of reporters. I packed up my desk, put on my jacket, and slung my messenger bag over my shoulder. As I made my way to the elevator, I began to wonder what kind of artist would try to stop the movement that their work had inspired?
The little voice piped-up and said, Art is never about the artist.
Yes, I replied, but a true artist understands that what they create does not belong to them. A true artist knows to stand back when their creation hits a cultural artery because a true artist embraces the fact that true art can’t be recalled or stopped or undone.
But… the little voice said, dangling the word before me.
It took a few moments before it dawned on me: But none of that was ever true of Peterson. It was about him – it was always about him. He didn’t care about the life of his art at all.
Suddenly, I felt woozy. I was already on the street when this realization struck and I had to take a seat on a bus stop bench to gather myself. The last year was tearing through my head so fast I thought smoke was going to pour from my ears. I’d gone from hating Peterson to loving him, from dismissing him as an idiot to lauding him as a genius, from calling him a charlatan to knowing in my heart that he is a true artist. But now I just felt bad for him.
He was never a true artist. He was an accidental artist and a jealous prophet. Sure, being labeled a prophet made him rich and famous and it made his book seem important, but it also meant he’d always be playing second fiddle to his own work – and he couldn’t handle that. He’d become like a parent that was jealous of his own child’s success.
For the first time I realized that his disappearance after Comic Con wasn’t a performance – he wasn’t trying to play into the role of prophet or make a statement about fame or the media or capitalism. It was, plain and simple, his last ditch effort to retake the limelight, to replace the art with the artist. Except he was too late.
Too late? my Muse asked, Was it ever even possible?
Maybe not, I said, I mean, all he managed to do was permanently excise himself from his work – but maybe that’s all he ever could do.
And that wasn’t even the worst part for Peterson.
The biggest slap came in the days and weeks following the press conference. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. It was as if everyone had just forgotten about him. No Sliders tried to assassinate him, no journalists tried to interview him. He had birthed a movement only to be cast aside with the placenta.
But as I stood up and continued my walk to the train that night, I wasn’t thinking about any of that. I was thinking about the chaos Peterson’s art had caused, the fear and panic, the violence. I was thinking about my own book, what it meant to me and what it could mean to other people.
Is this what I want? I wondered, To create something monstrous and beyond my control? Something that could swallow me whole or leave me stranded on a mountain top? Or worse…
Yes, the little voice said, for true art can change the world.
Fuck yeah it can, I agreed, But which piece of art is going to destroy it?
S. Baer Lederman hails from Rhode Island, but his years at the University of Michigan taught him that he is a Midwesterner at heart. Since finishing ROTC and his Navy service, Baer has focused on writing. He recently completed his MFA at Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago. Baer’s fiction has appeared in Dapper Press, Nebo, and Chicago Literati. He was also named a finalist in Slippery Elm’s 2015 Prose Contest, the Scribes Valley 2015 short story contest, and the Providence Journal’s H.P. Lovecraft short story contest. In 2016 Baer was awarded an artist in residence position at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, where he worked on his first novel.