In â€śThe Bonfire of the Vanities,â€ť journalist-turned-novelist Tom Wolfe mocks feature writers, claiming that weâ€™re all biding time before we try our pens at fiction. Heâ€™s right. Secretly, all style scribes long to be novelists, so we start at the bottom, at the lowliest of all menial tasks: party coverage.
The holidays are the prime season for what you might call gala and ball paparazzi. Itâ€™s fun for the guests, but young journalists like me have the heinous task of asking attendees, â€śWhat are you wearing?â€ť It is Danteâ€™s tenth circle, equivalent to waitressing at a Michelin-starred restaurant where youâ€™ll never taste the duck confit. Iâ€™m not there to eat canapes or show off my dress; Iâ€™m working.
So, if youâ€™re a gala-goer, help a poor reporter. If we ask the spelling of your name, donâ€™t be offended that we donâ€™t who you are. If we ask your profession and youâ€™re a billionaire philanthropist, donâ€™t say â€śbartenderâ€ť and laugh as though we get your joke. Weâ€™ll take you at your word.
In short, please be kind to us minions working our way up to novelist this season. We carry notebooks filled with protagonists and villains. You decide the character you are.