“I Shot Andy Warhol” is a film based on a true story: Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol. “Andy Warhol” is a song based on Andy Warhol: written by David Bowie in the key of E minor. “I Shot the Sheriff” is a song based on fiction: Bob Marley never shot a sheriff. “I Shot the Sheriff” was also covered by Eric Clapton, who did not shoot any sheriff. “Eyeshot Lee Klein” is the name of this story, based on a dream: I shot Lee Klein. Hello, my name is Jimmy Chen.
Jimmy Chen is an avid writer. He submitted a total of four stories to Lee Klein, who is the editor, founder, and brain-child behind Eyeshot, a literary website. Story No. 1, “For the Sake of Realism” never received a response, which Jimmy attributes to the stresses of relocating that Lee Klein was going through at the time. Story No. 2, “Safeway” was never explicitly rejected, though it was implied, for Lee Klein responded to the submission with a link to Eyeshot’s writer’s guidelines, as if the writer had not followed instructions. Story No. 3, “May I Be Frank?” was rejected with an earnest note to keep trying. Strangely, it felt like a compliment. The stories in mention were all subsequently accepted by other online journals, so one may gather that Lee Klein holds a more discriminating temperament, which serves to explain the quality of work on Eyeshot.
The reader, who is either reading this because of Jimmy Chen or (more likely) Lee Klein, will think that the former just kissed-the-ass of the latter. This is not so. Jimmy Chen doesn’t care what Lee Klein thinks about him. He simply made a very calm and objective statement: that the quality of work on Eyeshot is notable. Kissing-the-ass of Lee Klein would sound like this: Lee Klein is a genius. But (here is where I’m not kissing-the-ass) he’s not a genius. William Gaddis is. Lee Klein is simply a very good writer, but there are a lot of very good writers. Not to kick a dead horse, but just to get the point across one last time about how I’m not kissing-the-ass of Lee Klein, I’d like to say the following: Lee Klein is a killer of dreams.
Story No. 4, “Eyeshot Lee Klein” was rejected by Lee Klein somewhere after the sentence “Lee Klein is a killer of dreams” and before he finished reading this story, which remember, is based on a dream. A little about this dream: There’s a computer monitor I’m looking at and I can’t tell if I’m looking at an image of layers of wax (each separate layer spelling out a letter from the alphabet), or if there’s actual wax covering my screen. Then all of a sudden—the way dreams are and all—there’s four men in a hot tub, each one maintaining their erection(s). Just for the records, none of these men are Lee Klein or myself. The dream ends this way: I’m standing under a bunch of jasmines. Lee Klein walks up to me and takes out a blue ballpoint pen. He snaps the pen in half and the ink rises into a dark cloud the size of a soccer ball, inches from his face. He then brings his face into the cloud. The ink becomes a beard.
I never shot Lee Klein. I just said that to make this story more interesting. What actually happens is this: I wake up really confused, stumble through the darkness to my computer monitor to see if there’s any wax on it. There’s no wax on it, so I go back to sleep. Hours later I wake up, this time from the alarm clock, which is set to radio. Eric Clapton sings: "Sheriff John Brown always hated me/ For what I don’t know/ Every time that I plant a seed/ He said, kill it before it grows."
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/jchen.html]
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A Random Selection from the Past
now as a special offer to devoted readers
we are enabling the download of "a pdf file" of a novel/essay/memoir/story-collection (ie, thing)
composed by the eyeshot editor that was once available for a $10 purchase price and is now sold out and therefore
totally rare and surely even more valuable than $10, if not now than when books are replaced by telepathic bursts of language
transmitted directly from random house in exchange for all your memories, desires, fears, dreams, but now this invaluable book is
totally yours if you click the cover image supplied above and then read the thing and then send the link to satisfy the suspicions
of six friends who think you are too cheap to give gifts that are anything other than links to out-of-print, small-run,
overwritten literary experiences of excruciating poignancy, luminosity, radiance, exuberance . . .