I am so amazingly talented it should bring tears to your eyes

"[My book] is unknown for the masterpiece that it is."

"I’m not just another writer. I don’t think people understand my relationship with this city and they don’t understand what I’ve achieved."

"There is not another writer in Southern California who sits between Bellow and Conrad next to Hemingway and Kafka…"

"Of course they admire me. They wouldn’t exist without me. I am in the canon. Those other people will never be in the canon."

No, that’s not some fanficcer talking about himself and his immortal Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings cross-over slash epic … and it’s not  Tono Rondone, James KosubDr. Robin Reid, or even Lori Prokop, either. This ridiculously over-the-top self-love comes from writer Kate Braverman, basking in her own greatness  in today’s Los Angeles Times. 

I’ve never read Kate Braverman. She may actually be the best thing to happen to literature since the invention of ink. She certainly has won her share of literary honors and has been a mentor to a very impressive list of admired, critically-acclaimed writers. But I have an immediate, instinctive dislike of anyone  who calls their own work a "masterpiece" and touts themselves as legendary artists. Then again, the article mentions that Braverman has spent much of her life as a drug addict, which explains a lot. Most of the addicts I’ve known in my life also believed the universe revolved around them…and were furious when no one noticed.

UPDATE 2-27-04: Writer Rodger Jacobs  samples reactions from all over the blogosphere to Braverman’s comments…as well as stories about some of her even more outrageous behavior.

17 thoughts on “I am so amazingly talented it should bring tears to your eyes”

  1. Well, gee, that really didn’t make me want to trot out and read her work. Maybe it is all that a bag of chips, but pomposity turns me off entirely. Maybe it’s because I could never manage it myself.
    Talk about tentacles of ego….. 🙂

  2. Hmmm. She never saw BROADCAST NEWS, eh?
    Tom Grunnick: What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?
    Aaron Altman: Keep it to yourself.
    Although from the description of her as a teacher from the interview with Janet Finch on salon.com, she appears to be a very good teacher for those able to put up with her.

  3. I am not familiar with her work and won’t comment on that. But a fair-minded student of literature is well aware that sometimes great works are ignored or misunderstood or laughed at, and only after death is the writer’s genius discovered and honored. These are not good times for authors who have things to say that run truer than what Generation X can absorb. Still, that sort of egoism makes her vulnerable.

  4. well, as someone who HAS read KB, i feel safe in saying she IS pretty good at times and, not surprisingly (reading this INSANE interview/article), ego-driven and awful at times. her worst work is bloated and self-important. a stunner, no?
    also, her comments about burroughs and hunter s. thompson are silly–most fans of both writers (and i am–big time, of both) realize drugs destroyed them (especially thompson, who wrote three brilliant books and then nothing decent for 20+ years)…

  5. When Oscar Wilde came through U.S. Customs on his visit to our fair country, he said, “I have nothing to claim–but my genius.”
    Wilde was a genius, of course. But his witty remark was self-deprecating in that he was making fun of himself and his famous brilliance–it was actually a concrete demonstration of his genius, or at least that aspect thereof which demonstrated his illimitable wit.
    Braverman, contrariwise, is just puffing herself up. (As St. Paul says, “Charity … is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own …”). She’s one with Mr. Puff in Sheridan’s The Critic. (See the home page on my website for the complete reference).
    I’m glad she moved to San Francisco. Let them deal with her.

  6. Important to note that the article states she’s been diagnosed with maniac depression (and she’s probably bipolar) three times throughout her life and unfortunately doesn’t take medication for it, which could and probably does account for her grandiose visions of herself and her work. Likely she also has dark crushing periods where she’s convinced she never accomplished anything and will never be remembered for anything significant.
    We should feel badly for her that she doesn’t realize what she’s in the grip of.
    It’s sad, is what it is, and terrible too because so many believe, as she seems to, that to be treated for her affliction would rob her of her ability or gift to write, which is simply not true. Not to mention all the uninformed scientologists running around claiming that it’s “wrong” to treat mental illness with medicine.
    Mental disease is an illness like any other biological thing, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the like. If you don’t treat it, it grows until it takes over.
    I hadn’t read her work and went online to read a chapter. She’s a good writer, one must admit (Joan Didion doesn’t hand out endorsements to just anyone, does she?) and if her students can attest to her teaching, she may even be a giving and good person.
    I really think we should show compassion here and any anger should be at the fact that no one close to her has stood up and intervened for her health.

  7. I second Joshua on this. Also, I don’t think you need to be “diagnosed with manic depression three times,” as the article states. It’s not something that goes away. Fluctuates, yes… obviously. But it’s a lifetime thing.
    I have a buddy doing his psych residency at Columbia now who said bipolar patients are the toughest to treat. If someone is schizophrenic and hearing voices, they’re HAPPY when the meds get dialed in so the voices stop. Bipolar people don’t want to lose the rapture of the highs, in many cases.

  8. I feel sorry for her. She’s sick and should be treated like a sick person. In all likelihood, she’s forced to choose between her meds and her writing, and if I was in her place I can’t say I wouldn’t make the same choice.

  9. Why are all these posts only about Kate? Where is our concern for quality journalism. I’m sure Kate had a bit more to say than Anne-Marie reports in this article. But our trusty reporter has an agenda, which is served by selecting Kate’s most egocentric quotes and injecting a few snide asides (including one right in the title, really). Hey, how about if we get real? If Kate isn’t a major writer, why all the ink? If she’s not the greatest woman writer to come out of LA, why not? Who is? The LA Times has an obligation here too and it failed miserably. Unless, of course, the goal of Anne-Marie and her editor were to ingratiate themselves to LA’s great (translate as million book-selling) women authors. Hey Alice and Janet… I’m on your side see!! Kate has said the LA Times hates her and, after reading this hatchet job, who could fail to agree?

  10. I have a hard time believing the LA Times hates Kate Braverman — I mean, is there a cabal of editors eagerly awaiting each step Kate makes so that they can pillory her? Of course not. If they hated her, they’d ignore her. Granted, they savaged her book on Frida a few years ago, but they were far from alone on that score. The LA Times has no vested interest in making Kate look like a madwoman — and believing an entire paper hates you is, well, odd. Kate said some crazy shit. It’s not the LA Times fault they reported it.
    And she is certainly not the greatest female writer to come out of LA. I can think of a dozen who are far more accomplished and respected. Carolyn See? Susan Straight? Aimee Bender?


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