BROOKLYN– We can’t say that we weren’t warned. Keith Malek’s last essay was titled “Watch What’s Going To Happen If You Keep On Draining The Well Dry.” Today, sadly, we have found out what would happen.
“Keith Malek has retired from writing,” said his literary agent, Tom Szaniawski. “The constant criticism and pressure from an ungrateful public were the causes.” Malek, 27, has written dozens of articles for the Associated Press, and has even started working on a novel. But according to Szaniawski, that novel will never see the light of day: “He’s really emotional right now. Four days ago, he locked himself into a room with no food, water, or light. Today, he came out for a brief moment, but only to hand me a note.” That note began with a quotation from Jonathan Swift, who said, “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in the confederacy against him.” After that, Malek wrote one simple sentence: ‘I will never publish again.’ “He then signed the note with his own blood,” said Szaniawski, “which I found to be quite creepy and a bit melodramatic.”
Word of Malek’s retirement sent shock waves throughout the city. “I, for one, will never read another newspaper ever again, at least not until Malek returns.” said Justin Nadal, 36, of Queens. But many people don’t believe that Malek will ever return. One of those people is Patrick Downs, 31, of Brooklyn: “The way his readers treated him, I wouldn’t blame him if he never picked up a pen ever again.” Others disagree. “He’ll write again,” said Nikki Ghisel, 26, of Manhattan. “If something happens in the world that really captures his imagination–like let’s just say that a woman from Florida falls into a prolonged coma and Republicans want to do everything in their power to keep her feeding tube in–if something like that were to happen, then I believe that Malek wouldn’t be able to resist coming out of retirement.” She added, “Let’s remember that Malek never said that he was going to stop writing. He said that he was going to stop publishing. A lot of writers, most notably J.D. Salinger, have done the same thing.” UCLA psychologist Monique Soltani agrees with Ghisel, saying, “People who suffer from mental illness can’t stop writing, or else they go ape shit. If Keith Malek were to ever stop writing, we would know about it because there would be a lot of bloodshed.”
September 28, 2006