Hobologoists International FAQs

What is it? Hobologoism is the principled resolve to write and write in such a way as to never, ever produce anything remotely publishable or in any way profitable.

Who are we? Hobologoists International is a global association of writers who have written at least one book that fellow members agree is clinically unpublishable under any imaginable circumstances, even taking into account revolutionary changes in contemporary commercial publishing and popular reading habits.

Why does our logo incorporate a portrait of Kafka? Kafka, who tried to burn his entire opus before he died, has on that ground been adopted as the patron saint of Hobologoists.

Who is Ralph the Writer? Ralph the Writer has been granted honorary sainthood on the basis of Kooba: A Book. This, Ralph’s magnum opus, was written backwards from the concluding full stop in an English approximation to an obscure Gaspésie patois with all variants of the letter “e” removed for reasons that will forever remain secret, since Ralph was killed, sadly, in a barroom brawl with a critic who somehow managed to access a copy of the manuscript and then publish favorable comment in a small right-wing literary magazine, now defunct. (The critic himself died shortly thereafter, murdered by his wife, who subsequently told the  court her husband was a giant pain in the ass.)

Even more sadly, Ralph’s book otherwise came so close to going entirely unread. Rarely has a hobologoist, even the most self-consciously principled member of the Association, produced a manuscript vehemently never read even by the author’s mother. “Merde!” Ralph’s mother is reported to have said. “I can’t read this. It’s a bag of shit. Pure merde, non?”

It is that purity which elevates this work and its author to the Hobologoists International pantheon of saints.

How can I become a member? Send us your candidate manuscript (minimum 80,000 words; any language—what does it matter?), together with notarized rejections from at least 100 agents and 50 publishers. It is to your advantage if you can include abusive letters from family and friends you have asked to read this manuscript.

If your application passes our initial jury, you will be asked to submit all copies of the manuscript, both paper and digital, and watch impassively as a second jury ceremonially burns all record of your work.

Finally, in front of the same jury, before the smoke has dissipated, you must solemnly pledge yourself to writing a sequel to that book.

And Bob’s your uncle.


Go here for inspirational hobologoist aphorisms & epigrams

Photo credit/drawing by Kafka: Snark / Art Resource, NY.

Portrait of Kafka by Vavro Oravec.

5 thoughts on “Hobologoists International FAQs”

  1. As an amateur linguist, I am curious about the etymology (or is that entomology?) of the word hobologism. Does it have anything to do with hoboes? I know it is related to the word “gism,” because it sounds very much like a form of masturbation.

  2. That word is a neologism straight out of my factory and still smokin’, by God. Every time I hear a knock on the door, I expect it’s going to be someone from the OED.

  3. This Kafka fellow looks seriously dysfunctional. I thought Kafka was the name of a breakfast cereal. I have an unfinished novel titled “Turds: An Epiphany,” which I never finished because of discouraging remarks made by my peers. I wonder if it qualifies me to be a hobologist. In addition to other highlights, it has a steamy sex scene between the Top Turd and the president’s wife. There is a major political crisis in the US when the president’s wife decides to divorce her husband to marry a Turd. There are also legal and moral complications. It coulda been a contender.

    • I believe in this case, should you indeed finish the book, we could bypass the jury and forthwith award you full membership (subsequent to the ritual burning of the ms. and your vow to embark without delay on the sequel). … Upon reflection, I think we might also see our way clear to waiving the sequel requirement.

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