Identity Theory

D. Harlan Wilson

August 21, 2002

D. Harlan Wilson is 30 years old and was born on September 3, 1971. He lives in East Lansing, Michigan, where he is working on his Ph.D. in Twentieth Century American Literature and Theory at Michigan State Unversity. In addition to his academic pursuits, he has been writing short fiction on the side since the mid-1990s. His first collection of stories, The Kafka Effekt, was released in 2001 by Eraserhead Press. Currently he is putting the finishing touches on his second collection of stories, Inoperative Communities.

D.’s fiction has been revered and criticized for the unique way in which it persistently subverts and defies reality. Says one critic: “In D. Harlan Wilson’s apt hands, reality is exposed as a fine thread unraveling along the frayed ends of our troubled perception by characters whose transformations and absurd predicaments remind us uncomfortably of our own. Neither realism nor fantasy, Wilson’s storytelling unrepentantly dares the reader to shadow dance between both extremes.” This type of literature is called irreal literature. In D.’s view, irreal representations of the real world capture the essence of the real world more effectively than “real” representations of the real world.

D.’s critics have compared him to William S. Burroughs, Franz Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Woody Allen, Lewis Carroll, Mervyn Peake, Samuel Beckett and Dr. Suess.

Over the last few years, D. has published more than 50 stories in various print and online magazines. Many of these stories appear in The Kafka Effekt and will appear in Inoperative Communities. After the publication of his second book of stories, he hopes to write a novel about an enterprising haberdasher who single-handedly brings fedora and bowler hats back into vogue in the Western world. It is a story of such import, he feels, it must be told at all costs.

D. prefers writing short stories to writing novels, but there is no money in short stories. D. has two master’s degrees and has been a graduate student since 1995. He has no money and would like a little.

Should D. write a novel about an enterprising haberdasher who single-handedly brings fedora and bowler hats back into vogue in the Western world if he expects to make any money? Yes [ ] No [ ]

When D.’s face is not staring at a book or a computer screen, he likes to lift weights and play basketball, spend time with his girlfriend A. and her five-year-old daughter G., and drink too much low-grade scotch. He also enjoys watching, listening to and in-grinning at the vast diversity of dumbass things that people do and say on a daily basis.

There are many things in life that unnerve D. One of them is writing extended biographies such as this one in the third-person. For some reason, however, he can’t bring himself to write them in the first person: the repeated use of the word “I” reminds him too much of something Fred Nietzsche said in the last letter he wrote before going insane: “The unpleasant thing, and one that nags at my modesty, is that at root every name in history is I.”

D. also hates people who talk about themselves all the time.