The Joe Gould I Relate To

by Esmat

Mr. Gould, as I have read in a recent New Yorker piece is a genius that should be celebrated as a literary hero. (at least of some sort, the man for whatever’s sake has literally written boxes full of notebooks of ‘Oral history’, which is unpublished to this day.)
I have a newfound taste of disgust for the publishers of literary works. Only for such reason that publishers are most of the times far off in their judgement. I am inclined to have a disgust toward the publishers because they tend to look at things to see if they can sell it. No!, that’s not the point of publishing, for hemingway’s sake!

I am scared of a day that my diaries and perhaps eventually this very memoir will have the grim future of not being published. No, I am not joking. The point of publishing anything is basically, publishing something that anyone could consume. You don’t just think of selling something. I don’t care if nobody buys my published diaries, I don’t care if I don’t get A-star reviews from Amazon. I just want my stuff to be there when people are looking for them.

Friends of Mr. Gould wanted to publish those boxes full of composition notebooks, but no publisher showed interest or at least it didn’t materialise.


Harry Potter series for example, – it happened by chance that the publisher’s daughter liked the story that the publisher considered publishing it. Because otherwise the publisher taught of the Harry Potter, as just not something that would sell well.


If Mr. Gould were living today, he would easily be the father of a Facebook page, or a blog, documenting the lives of New Yorkers. I wouldn’t say like the Humans of New York, but in a more literary style. A more substantial work, as done by a modern or contemporary Herodotus. He would be praised as the most important historian of the 21st century (as he had once himself hoped).

But he didn’t only want to record the lives of the narrow by New Yorkers, he said so himself this, “I would continue to write if I were the sole survivor of the human race,” he wanted to record as much of the human history as possible if it meant he were living in Uganda.

It may seem amusing to some, but often times, great achievements were done by people who thought of amusing stuff. Funny thing is, amusing is just a way we think about stuff (just like insulting is a way we think of something), it’s not how that idea is in it’s nature amusing. E.g some thought of the cartoon of Muhammad by the Danish artist as offensive and insulting. While the perpetrator didn’t really want to anger the 1 billion plus Muslim community. He may have thought of it only as amusing.


While it’s true that not everyone get’s to be celebrated for what they do, but the problem is not that. The problem is sort of that but more – the kinds of Mr. Gould gets shoved to the margins. They don’t get the attention of the Academy to be awarded a Nobel for daring to take the important task of recording human lives, they don’t get to be noticed and appreciated for what they do. They often die on the sidewalks, homeless, like Mr. Gould. More than that, future humans lives, don’t get to notice such important people, just because some publishing company declined to publish because they thought of their work as not being able to sell well; or not relevant to such times.

Yet this is not only something that happens in the literary world or the book publishing industry, but it is in any other publishing industry such as companies publishing music or any other form of entertainment. They are way too picky. Some talented people who deserve to be on the spotlight are lost on the margins while some other talented gets risen to fame. The some talented may lose all hope of ever getting that sort of celebration and attention and most of the world would not see the wonderful and important work they might have produced if given chance.

My point is ordinary human lives deserve more celebration, more noticing, more fancy awards than only the big names out there. I have nothing against them, but I want more of the ordinary folks to be out there receiving notoriety for their work. Just as Mr. Gould deserved.