Letters, and elsewhere

Emma responds in email to the Robert McCrum article I mentioned on Monday, in which McCrum calls attention to the disparity in the British publishing world between deadlines for best-selling authors (flexible) and for those who are less well known (ironclad). She says:

What McCrum doesn’t take into account in his argument is that the nine month book production schedule is there, yes, partly for organizing the physical production of the book, but more importantly for generating buzz and publicity. An author, especially a new one, needs for his or her book to be read by booksellers, for blurbs to be obtained from ‘names’, for press to be persuaded to review – all well in advance of the publication date. For someone like Helen Fielding this is all pretty much immaterial. The press will review no matter what, dropping other things if necessary, and the public eagerly await the release of the book so Nick Hornby or whoever saying it’s fab doesn’t matter a great deal.

Pitchaya Sudbanthad, editor of the Konundrum Engine Literary Review, writes to agree with the excerpt I posted yesterday about Raymond Carver’s approach to critiquing writers. Pitchaya says:

It’s a wonder that people write in the first place … and to be destructive to that endeavor is like going into some cave and chainsawing off the stalactites for kicks.

The Antigeist shares my greatest fear:

I don’t know if my mom has found this blog yet, but she admitted to hunting down Maud’s blog (horrifying, and true). She even phoned me to gloat about it, adding the threat, “It’s only a matter of time before I figure out which of her links is you.” So far she has guessed that I am a hit song, an old hag, and a muse; which, beyond being the greatest compliments I’ve received to date, illustrates my mother’s unique ability to use wishful thinking as a means of constructing a reality.

So Mom? If you’re reading this?…welcome. And don’t worry. Although I have mentioned a few things here and there about abandonment and alcoholism, a mother’s gun-wielding, daughter-molesting, heroin addict boyfriends, spending more of my childhood in the back rooms of bars than in school, or leaving home at 16 because my coked-addled folks demanded we live underneath the dining table so “The Man” couldn’t photograph us from the invisible (due to cloaking, of course) helicopters outside –I’m not talking about you.


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