My cyber-nemesis had been trashing me for months. Then we met, and I had a chance to take a terrible revenge.
By Steve Almond
A few months later, I received an e-mail from another friend, directing me to an on-line forum of lit bloggers put together by a guy named Dan Wickett. The forum included Sarvas, who described the birth of his blog like so:
I launched The Elegant Variation in a fit of madness on October 14, 2003 with a declaration of my love for James Wood and my loathing for Steve Almond. Nine months later, my positions remain unchanged.
Now it became clear to me that Sarvas wasn't just your garden-variety Steve Almond hater. No, he was special. He was the president of the Official Steve Almond Haters Club. I considered writing him a congratulatory note and sending along a signed photo. Sadly, I do not possess any signed photos.
Indeed, it struck as me as one of the dinkier titles in the history of belles-lettres to be the president of the Steve Almond Haters Club -- like being an ambassador to Liechtenstein, or maybe, more accurately, an ambassador from Liechtenstein.
Pynchon. DeLillo. Foster Wallace. These were authors one might be proud to revile. But me? I was a short story writer with a small press. The closest I'd come to the New Yorker was a subscription. I couldn't even find an agent to represent me.