Josh Kleinberg on Josh Kleinberg.
A review of Josh Kleinberg’s Pangur Ban Party e-Book: Husky of Honor
by Josh Kleinberg
I wrote Husky of Honor one night, while sort of drunk, after coming home from a frat party that made me very sad. A girl told me that guys should shave their pubic hairs at this party, and I thought that was stupid. All that about the shaving and then getting laid the once but feeling like a child is true. The Samoan roommate is the only thing fictional about this story, I think. The professor I loved turned out to be a lesbian, and honestly I mostly just thought she was a babe. I am also weirdly attracted to Rebecca Lobo and women with “basketball player body types” in general (which is unfortunate, as my body type is something like “little teapot”), and had been doing a lot of internet research on Lobo at the time, partly because I was nostalgic for my childhood and had come across some ephemeral recollection of the WNBA’s inception in 1996 and the fact that Lobo, Lisa Sparks and Chamique Holdsclaw seemed to be everywhere for a while (including Sports Illustrated for Kids, to which I was a subscriber). The other factors that led to my researching her included creepiness and apathy. I don’t think this is really a review. Let’s see: I had been semi-obsessed with that “celebrities-as-stand-ins-for-clearly-autobiographical-characters” thing that Tao Lin popularized or at least did best, and I wanted to try writing a story like that. Around this time, I read his story called, I think, “Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning” in The Mississippi Review (I assume this probably was an excerpt from Richard Yates?) and thought it was really great, and I remember that, prior to writing Husky of Honor, I had a lot of theories about that technique, and I posed a question on my blog at the time that asked what people thought about it and the only response I got was from PH Madore who said it was a gimmick, which I could kind of understand but didn’t agree with. I remember being very impressed with myself after writing this story. I had begun listening to Li’l Wayne as a result of having read Zachary German’s blog (he talked about Lil Wayne a lot, I remember), and there is a line in this story about Lil Wayne. I posted something about the story on my blog and Zachary German responded with “nice” and that made me feel really successful. I think at least two girls have made out with me as a direct result of reading this story. Later that year I was in Chicago and met a really attractive gay guy that might be the only gay guy I’ve ever actually considered getting with (I’ve considered getting with a couple straight guys but have not, to this date). He really liked Roberto Bolaño and I told him I had written a story where I mentioned 2666. He read it and said, “It’s really funny that you make her call it 2066, because it shows just how little she cares about it,” and I said yeah, but felt really stupid for getting the name wrong, and that’s when I began to believe that some meaning-making should be left to readers and that accidental genius is possibly better than labored genius, at least sometimes. Not that fucking up the name of a book in your story is any such hot conceptual shit, but still. Another thing about this story I remember is that I was sort of a headache for DJ in terms of the design of the e-book thing (at least I think I was; he is too damn nice to have ever said so). I kept asking him to make miniscule changes to the font and layout and everything. I never really liked the way anything on Blogspot looked, but I felt that, design-wise, this turned out as nice as anything on Blogspot could. This might be my favorite story of mine, but I don’t really write very much fiction. I think this was the second thing I ever had published and I remember being really proud and thinking I was “on my way” when it came out.