Greetings! I apologize that we have to meet under unhappy circumstances, but I feel compelled to discuss an ongoing problem. Have you ever seen The Princess Bride? Do you remember the part where Inigo says to Vizzini (about his use of the word “inconceivable”) , “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” Well, dear publicists, that same logic applies regarding your over-usage of Thomas Wolfe’s quote “You can’t go home again.”
Every time I pick up a particular book about returning to familiar ground, especially if it’s by a Southern writer, you constantly write something like “You can go home again,” or “This author proves anyone can go home again.” You write these sentences so angrily, as if you were trying to prove something yourself. Is it because you don’t like being told you can’t do something? No one, especially Wolfe, said that an individual could not physically return to the place they call home.
It’s not like the man was some angry dad out of a sitcom that says, “You walk out that door; you aren’t coming back!” Wolfe was reflecting on the changes a person goes through in life, how that alters their perception of home. He was talking about the ambiguous ideas of place, of comfort. He was talking about the forward progress of life. So every time you write that your author proves that he can go home again, it tells me that you are actually trying to sell me a static novel. A novel where there is no change or growth. A novel where no insight is gained.
Which means it’ll bore me, which means I won’t buy it, which means you won’t get paid. Do you really not want to get paid? Do you really want to aid in the death of print (via one turned-off consumer after another) with your unimaginative & incorrect use of a quote? No? Then stop beating a dead horse. Because, honestly, you are not the first to offer such a clever, sparkling little witticism. I know writing summaries & blurbs that catch the attention is hard, but you’re down to the bones on this carcass.
Please feel free to take my advice or not.