The earwig battle rages on, although the casualties are decreasing on both sides of the front. But you know what I have now? Spiders. Spiders the size of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloons. Spiders the size of the rainforest in the Amazon basin.* I don’t mind them, however. I just keep my distance. Which means there is a one square-foot patch in the middle of my kitchen that is safe. You’ll find me huddled there most days.
The thing I really want to discuss today is Image. The Image of “Famous Author,” more specifically. The other night I caught the Golden Girls episode where Dorothy befriends famous Miami author Barbara Thorndike. She’s intellectual. She’s statuesque. She’s famous and well-connected with “The Literati.” She’s an asshole.
A self-centered, bigoted, snooty asshole. And with a name like “Barbara Thorndike,” how could she not be?
When I was a kid, this was sort of the stereotype I had of famous authors and their jet-setting, smart ways. I’m sure there are a few authors that MAY fit this arrogant bill. But most authors I know are hard-working, generous, and clad in pajamas longer than recommended by the Surgeon General. They may be a bit neurotic. They bicker with loved ones on occasion. They juggle laundry, email, carpool duties, grocery shopping, and car insurance bills. They sometimes get diarrhea. And they’re watching you, waiting for you to say or do something that perfectly encapsulates the human condition, which they will immediately scribble on the back of a receipt in their purse only to find weeks later, completely devoid of context or meaning.
Or is that just me?
Sure, the more famous a writer gets the less likely he or she will be to respond to the dozens of requests (a blurb, review of a manuscript, publishing connections, a map to the Holy Grail) that zip into his or her inbox daily. But hey, sometimes getting clients and coworkers to respond to email requests can also be a Sisyphusian exercise in frustration.
Anyway, IS there a Literati today, where the Barbara Thorndikes of the world trade insider secrets and indulge in well-mannered poetry … nudges? Where is today’s version of the Algonquin Round Table? Are they at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop? Are they all hanging out at The New Yorker, as Garrison Keillor’s Love Me surmises? (Which, since you asked, has one of the best covers I’ve ever seen on a novel.)
I know, today’s Literati is probably online. Everything is.
But I digress. It’s getting late, and this jet-setting writer is off to battle some earwigs in her pajamas.
Movies seen in the past week: Reno 911. Oh, did I laugh. If you’re a nursing mother with a warped sense of humor, rent this movie. A recent study found that women who laughed more while nursing had breastmilk with higher nutritional value. If you’re not nursing, and perhaps in a somber mood, check out The Painted Veil, starring Ed Norton and Naomi Watts.
Books on deck: Jonathan Tropper’s next outing (How to Talk to a Widower) and Jennifer Belle’s latest: Little Stalker. I’ve only been awaiting Ms. Belle’s third novel since 2002…I'll probably devour it in a day and then be depressed that it's finished.
Happy last week of June!
*What’s that you say? The rainforest is shrinking daily by 200,000 acres? Okay then, spiders the size of the clear-cut, slash & burn soybean fields that used to be the rainforest. Biofuels ahoy!