The Blurb Writernby Dabney StuartnIn one year on the backnof 26 books his name appearednunder paragraphs he rarelynremembered writing. In somencases he couldn’t recallnthe book’s author, or the book either.nYet there they were — the booksnscattered on his desk, a table,nthe floor—covered with his indisputablenwords, and his name under themnlike an egg they had laid.nIt was his name.nHe recognized it.nBut he felt as if it had escapednhim, gone off on its own,nperformed those blurbs like obscenendances, and then stretched outnprostrate beneath them, exhausted —nor, like a party balloon suddenlynuntied, gone skittingnrandomly, inscribing paragraphsnof air, beneath which it lay at last,nshriveled, deflated, spent.nWas this what it meantnto be a name? he wondered.nThat was what he’d wanted,naimed for, lain prostrate himselfnat the feet of other names to achieve.nThe blurbs themselves, when he readnthem, mercifully blurred,nglared back at himnlike so much birds—t on a windshield.nHe had just enough perspectivenleft to wonder at the curiositynit would take to push someonenpast them into the books they crusted.nThis is death he thought. I havencreated death, and he sawnhis blurbs rising like mushroomnclouds, carrying their sicknessninto the atmosphere forever.nHis fearless name huddlednbeneath them, never giving up,nstill trying to leavenits sign on the world.nnnFEBRUARY 1990/27n