Why, a leprechaun! In an office! What fun! And see here, he is drinking although it is lunchtime at best -- a classic sign of leprechaun authenticity. But, as they say, "truth lies at the bottom of the first and second glasses; rage and inappropriate behavior lie at the bottom of subsequent glasses," and as the leprechaun's only on his second wee little scotch whiskey of the day, he speaks only truth: "Let me be blunt, Humphrey. These stories are no good." Daniel Humphrey, never one to accept reality or other people's opinions when his own are just as good, attempts to argue his way out of his own artistic assessment. Little Noah explains that writing five separate stories, each of which one finds "a sheltered young man with girl trouble who lives with his daddy in Brooklyn" -- who, no doubt, spews constant judgment and jumps to erroneous and hateful conclusions whenever offered the opportunity -- does not demonstrate skill or talent, which is what the "tenured asses" of the Yale English are looking for.
"You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There's nothing to that."
Dan continues to argue, as though somehow by sheer rhetoric he can imbue his work with qualities it does not possess, and says -- being a self-obsessed prick with a chip on his shoulder and a deep-set feeling that the world is to blame for his dissatisfaction and laziness -- that in this case, "writing what one knows" results in only one possibility: writing the same self-aggrandizing, self-serving story over and over and over. If he were capable of "knowing" compassionately outside his own narrow, ugly experience, or even vaguely curious about those universes of which he is not the center, he would not have managed to activate the demon inside Serena van der Woodsen that even now threatens to consume us all. Wee Noah instructs Dan to "get out of [his] comfort zone" and "do something dangerous" to insure that his writing is less "safe," and ends by relating a hoary and probably, embarrassingly true story about the time that Charles Bukowski put a shot glass on his head, and then blew it off. That was what sex was like in those days.
Now, the questioning reader may have already discerned the problem here, which is that it is awfully difficult to accept with a satisfied heart advice on becoming less clichéd from a walking cliché, much less to implement the concept of fresh or honest writing when it is delivered in such a stale, dishonest way. Writing is not manipulation, but communication; one can either build monuments to oneself, or friendships with one's readers, but you can't do both. You're either Rabbit Angstrom or you're Scout Finch. Which is braver?