The Paris Review recently announced a new program to fund one lucky writer’s three-week stay in Manhattan, during which time said writer is free to do nothing but write, drink coffee, and maybe take a conjugal or two.
The Standard hotel in East Village will provide refuge for the lucky struggling artist as long as he or she (1) wins the contest and (2) proves he or she is under contract with a publisher for the work-in-progress. The hotel has some pretty sweet views, as evidenced in its Instagram uploads.
But what’s hilarious about the listing is the details. Check the last paragraph:
The residency is open to writers of prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction. Continental breakfast (and unlimited coffee) will be provided daily free of charge; all additional incidental charges (room service, etc.) will be incurred by the guest. All rooms are nonsmoking. The Standard, East Village and The Paris Review will be pleased to hold a small reception in the writer’s honor at the conclusion of the stay. It is expected that the writer will stay alone, within reason.
Emphases mine. It’s like, first of all, we need you under contract — we don’t want any freelance hacks mucking up this whole thing, especially if we’re throwing you a party at the end, OK? Then, in my view, the unlimited coffee bit is reason enough for any self-respecting writer to throw their hat in (never mind that I actually quit coffee 2 weeks ago — let’s not talk about that now, my eye is twitching too hard). But there’s no smoking! Inside, at least. So if you wanna be a New York-bound writer hermit type for the first three weeks in January, AND you smoke, you’re going to have to grow the cajones (or ovarios) to take your stoags out into the cold. But don’t worry, that’s good people-watching!
And finally, my favorite bit: what, exactly, do they mean by “the writer will stay alone, within reason”? Sure, it could mean they’ll let you bring your spouse or kid or pet or something, but I think the stiffness of that comma placement gives away what these cheeky patrons are getting after. Go ahead, get a little carnal inspiration, you young artist, you.
Maybe that’s why each issue of The Paris Review seems to always start with some sexy kind of story. Last fall’s was a piece about the build-up to an anticlimax between a young loserly writer guy and the underage lifeguard he bangs for like 5 minutes at the end (probably entirely autobiographical except for the part where they actually bang); this fall’s I haven’t finished, but the hook is something about premature ejaculation and a girl named God.
So, you know. The Paris Review is cool with it if you wanna, you know. Bone or something.
Now, does anybody want to sign a contract with me so I can apply for this thing?