Tuesday, April 25, 2006

i jinxed it

yeah, so the hilma wolitzer's the doctor's daughter (mentioned below)--not so much. huh, perhaps my expectations were too high? just didn't have the same tension as i've come to revel in with the wolitzer women's work. (say that 3 times fast. or don't. whatever.)

so, here's a book to check out: the memory of running by ron mclarty.

as you read, you find yourself relating to a previously unrelateable protagonist.


augusten burroughs' new book is due in a few days. . .can't wait.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

what's in the Wolizter water?

i've been devouring everything i can get my hands on by both meg and hilma wolitzer. two fabulous novelists who each possess the uncanny ability to make every character just so human. so far, meg's kept me enthralled with the wife, the position and surrender, dorothy. hilma's hearts has me scrambling to get my hands on her newest, the doctor's daughter.

for quiet, yet compelling, character development, both authors deliver and satisfy. nuances of everyday life are so accurate, you can't help but become involved in the stories, catching glimpses of yourself or people you've known with every new detail, every subtle distinction.

the wolitzer women represent the type of author i look for: the one whose work i relish, the one whose style i seek out, the one i crave after i've finished reading the last of her published work.

and yes, the one i envy for undeniable artistry with words and images.

damn, they're good.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

the accidental

so i just finished ali smith's the accidental. and damn damn damn that woman is an amazing writer. a few years ago, hotel world knocked me out and now this. where has she been, what has she seen to have a mind like this? it's one of those books that's almost trance-y, dream-like. yes, it's like reading a dream. at times confusing, familiar, funny ha-ha and funny strange, unexpected and a bit surreal. i can't get enough of this chick.

ali smith can transcend both age and gender in her writing. believable and beautiful. if you haven't read this, you must. and when you get the book, check out the author photo. this is not the face that i expected. oftentimes, i'll read a book, check the author photo and think "absolutely." ms. smith appears androgynous, ageless, pixie-like. well, maybe that is about right.

well, onto another writer i adore, meg wolitzer. have you seen her photo? don't get me started. . .

Saturday, March 11, 2006

funk soul newbie

. . .so, as i was saying. right, my attempts at getting published. okay. so i finished a manuscript about, oh i don't know, two years ago. and, after having a few rude awakenings to the world of schlocky agents during earlier drafts, i decided to limit my search to one. namely, the agent of someone i know. a real, live agent that i met in real life. tangible even. shook hands even. yes, this was an actual person who didn't appear to be satanic in the least. which was lovely, of course.

so i finish up the manuscript and send to said non-satanic agent. in a few months, she calls, we do a little phone dance, she signs me. wow, easy right?

and i'm all "hey, hard part's over, now the money rolls in."
and reality's all "yeah, not so much newbie, agent's only sending it out to a select few to test the waters."
and i'm all "yeah, but i totally got a top agent lickety split."
and reality's all "um, that's all well and good, but why isn't she casting a larger net?"
and i'm all "duh, because she knows who's going to snap it up."
and reality's all "no, asshole. . ."
and i'm all "don't call me asshole, reality. let's keep it clean."
and reality's all "sorry, but you're impossibly naive and it's a bit frustrating." and i'm all "you know what? fuck you, reality."

so that didn't go well. and the reality was that my agent decided to send out the manuscript to a small sampling of editors because she wasn't 100% sold on it herself. but i pushed and begged and pleaded. it's a good book. it's a great book. it's a book that will open dialogues. it's accessible women's fiction. it will fill a void in the market. it's the prime time. right about now, funk soul brother.

and reality's all "yeah, so not so much with the sale, greenie mc newbie."
and i'm all "hey, my agent said we got seven POSITIVE negatives."
and reality's all "you're a fucking moron."

reality was becoming clear.
ask agent to stop submitting.
sign up for nanowrimo to stop obsessing about first manuscript.
bang out second manuscript in a manic frenzy.
read said manuscript.
nod thoughtfully.
send to agent.

and reality's all "what, you think you're so prolific that you can write a publishable book in a month?"
and i'm all ". . ."
and my agent's all "hey, i really like this book, no revisions needed."
and reality's all "what the. . ."
and i'm all "?"
and agent's all "!"

and i look at reality and reality looks at me and we're all "ok, fine, cool." *shrug*

because reality and i think that i may jinx something again if i get too attached to the MS or too invested in the process.

so i'm all "better start another novel."
and reality's all "rock on, sisyphus."
stupid goddamn reality.

Friday, January 27, 2006

What are the chances. . .

barnes and noble says "bargain book," i say "literary collectible."

(want it for your very own? check out tomorrow's dreamblurbs contest.)


Three days, no comments. How depressing.

What do you want to read about? It can't STILL be James Frey, can it? Yes? Really? (yeah, me too)

OK, here's what I have to say about it. James Frey is a wildly talented writer. James Frey wrote a novel based on his life. Editors didn't bite. Then the work was presented as a memoir. People went batshit crazy. NYT bestseller and, of course, the seal from the big O. Praise, money, glory, fame, money, respect, money, money, money. Smoking Gun. Larry King. Oprah stood by her author-man. People went batshit crazy. Oprah, shall we say, reconsidered her stand. Oprah televised the castration of her author-man.

Now, I'll admit I was so so so caught up in the hype. Frey's writing style was so appealing to me, it read like good music sounds. James Frey was my literary it boy crush. I emailed him through his publisher and he emailed me back--a number of times. As I read his brief replies, my eyes were replaced with little hearts. He encouraged me in my quest for authorhood. I recommended his book more times than I can count. Hearts in my eyes.

When all the hoo-ha broke about the lies, the deception, the man who conned Oprah, I was crushed. By my crush. Ow, my heart. (At least I had my eyes back.) I wasn't angry for long. . .I became fascinated. And so began the very public stoning of James Frey. I watched Larry King, hopeful for some answers. Nada. Rehearsed bullshit and a doe-eyed man with a soft, almost whiny voice that couldn't possibly belong to my badass fake literary boyfriend. Could it?

Oh the glorious schaudenfraude of it all. For one brief moment, I admit, I gloated. That's what you get for lying to me, Mister. But soon, I only felt sad. What a clusterfuck. Everyone is disillusioned: Readers feel cheated, writers are anxious. Publishers, editors and agents are. . .well, who the hell knows what they're thinking.

To me, it all comes down to one little missing piece. (Leaving 999,999, for those keeping track.) What happened between "James Frey wrote a novel based on his life" and "then the work was presented the work as a memoir"?

Until I know that, I've decided, I'm not quite ready to end this fake love affair. Sure, the writer/journalist in me is glad the Smoking Gun broke the story. But the reader/swooning girl in me wants hearts where her eyes should be.