Other great ideas Jonathan Franzen's editor talked him out of (probably)

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American post-modernist novelist Jonathan Franzen gave an interview to the Guardian as publicity for his upcoming book Purity. In it, Franzen admits that he "considered adopting an Iraqi orphan to figure out young people." He admits that this was a ridiculous idea, and mentions that his editor persuaded him that this was, in fact a terrible, no good, very bad idea.


Here are some other ideas maybe possibly Jonathan Franzen perhaps once had that his editor must have talked him out of:

1. Eating exclusively grilled cheese

2. Blackface

3. Dressing up as a woman for Halloween

4. Marrying another bird

5. Joining Xanga

6. Titling his new book "The Beauty of Virginity"

7. Buying gold framed glasses

8. Buying 1000 copies of his own book to build a throne

9. Buying a small yurt in Canada

10. Adopting a dog because he wants to understand the struggle of the tug of something external to his emotions


11. Creating an American Dream theme park

12. Allowing Banksy to give him a full body tattoo

13. Publishing all of the post-mortem letters he's written to David Foster Wallace

14. Publishing any letter he's written to David Foster Wallace

15. Publishing the diary where he writes his own name in different fonts

16. Talking to anyone on the street because he likes their facial hair

17. Growing facial hair

18. Using the word pussy in everyday conversation to refer to cats

19. Adopting 15 cats from Iraq

20. Adopting a dog that he once saw at a park but that already belonged to someone


21. Writing a novel entirely in Russian

22. Learning Russian to write the next great Russian novel

23. Writing a book "bigger than Infinite Jest"

24. Writing a book "longer than Infinite Jest"

25. Wearing a bandana

26. Wearing a dress around his house to become closer to the female experience and struggle


27. Using liquid eyeliner to write the chapters about Patty

28. Using lipstick to write a short story about the difficulty of dating in the 17th century


29. Converting to every religion at once

30. Writing a listicle titled 'The 10 greatest things I learned by being the greatest American novelist alive"


31. Calling himself the greatest American novelist alive

32. Pretending to be a bird during an interview with the Times Book Review

33. Allowing his bird friends to live in his house with him

34. Reading his own books aloud at coffee shops, uninvited

35. Speaking to anyone at a coffee shop

36. Ordering exclusively Pumpkin Spice Lattes regardless of the time of year

37. Adding an extra pump of vanilla to his white chocolate mocha frap

38. Complaining publicly about the demise of America's greatest band, Pavement

39. Starting a Pavement cover band consisting only of tambourines

40. Holding his own hand at book conferences so that he doesn't feel "so alone"

41. Demanding that book conferences put his face on a giant poster

42. Asking for a giant poster of his face "just cause"

43. Carrying a suitcase full of rocks on his business trip to New York so as to better feel "The weight of things"


44. Calling the protagonist of his new novel Dumb Girl

45. Writing a "definitive account of modern womanhood" from the perspective of a growing oak tree in Arizona


46. Endorsing Donald Trump for president

47. Endorsing a bird queen as queen of the entire universe and the ruler of all of our hearts and minds


48. Writing an open letter to adverbs that was frankly just unnecessarily mean

49. Naming a star after a sheep that was softer than any bed he had ever slept in or woman he had ever touched


50. Giving said editor 1000 notes professing his great love and admiration when a nice hefty raise would be just fine, thank you

Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.

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