Dear Terry Gross,
I am writing today to express that I am giving up on my dream of being interviewed by you.
As I consider my past aspirations, that which united them was my desire to be seen by you as both interview-worthy and appropriately droll.
From the never-completed breakup memoir to the utterly unnoticed folk albums, the grainy YouTube comedy and the essays on queer feminism – and any of countless other quixotic stabs at “being someone” – in the back of my mind I’d know I had made it when I said “it’s great to be here, Terry.”
Yours was the taste-making voice I wanted to be made by. You introduced me to any number of new favorite things while always bringing out a new side of all my old loves. No one but Terry Gross can be Terry Gross, and if it needs to be known, you know it.
This is why your stamp of approval became an imagined marker of success for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Being introduced to your audience would be my real way in to the life I’d always imagined.
And while I’m sure that this would all in part be true, I have recently come to realize that I have no interest in fame in our time. To be known now seems as bad as celebrities have always cautioned in the past.
I won’t waste any more text weaving a wholly unoriginal thesis on the 15 minutes of fame fame itself is getting right now; we are living after the realization that we are all our own PR teams.
It turns out the only thing I could really do to lodge my complaint with the century was to voluntarily disappear. I quit social media and converted my website into my one-man publishing operation. My stories get likes from the same loyal group of leaders, and from time to time one joins the fold.
I get to write what I want how I want – and with that, I wouldn’t care if I never gained another follower. I don’t have to cross-post the stories on all my platforms. I don’t have to take a fake hike to an Instagram-worthy place to take a plandid that says “link in bio!”
I get to express myself fully, I get my likes, and no one cares what I ate today, or what I meditated on, or whether I’m still insanely liberal. No one wants to know who I went on two dates with 10 years ago or where I stand on Israel.
I’m just a guy who listens to Lisa Loeb records on the bus to my grocery store job. My pants did not come from a subscription service. I write and paint whatever I want, and almost no one knows. It’s freeing.
It’s all for the best anyway. I actually really hate talking about my art.
All my best, to the best,
A writer who almost but did not quite become someone