Life Imitating Art (Again): They're Either Gay or Fatally Flawed!! Blah!

blogger panel discussion notes

Last night, I attended Media Bistro‘s panel discussion entitled “From Blogger to Author” which was about, as the name implies, bloggers who ended up with some pretty cool book deals. It was quite informative. Michael Malice from Overheard in New York was there (and I caught him eyeing my Naughty Ms. Kitty writing journal, pictured above; he wanted one badly and was extremely jealous, I could tell!!), talking about graphic artist Harvey Pekar‘s biography of him; as well as interior designer Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, of Apartment Therapy, who was wearing extremely cool multicolored-striped socks; Rachel Kramer-Bussell, who writes Lusty Lady; ICM’s Kate Lee, a.k.a. “literary agent of the blog superstars” who came across as a very intelligent, shrewd businesswoman for her young age; editor Laura Mazer of Seal Press; Julie Powell, author of Julie & Julia, a Bridget Jones-style diary of cooking all of Julia Child’s recipes in one year and supposedly the author of the most popular blog to date; and my personal favorite (in terms of his blog, which I discovered only after last night), Rob Rummel-Hudson, whose sweet My Beloved Monster and Me, is the basis for his memoir, to be published in 2008, Schuyler’s Monster, about his little girl and her rare neurological disorder. Learned lots of interesting tidbits about such things as blog ‘hits’ and page views versus publicity, the challenges of blogging versus book writing, how these awesome book deals came about, and witnessed a rather fun debate mainly between Lee and Mazer on whether literary agents are still necessary.

Anyway, I stupidly left my notes at work, so was searching the internet for info on the panelists, and, while looking for Julie Powell’s cooking-diary book, came across this fun little interview with her. I just love “who’s your favorite literary character”-style quizzes, and the first question here, which fictional character would you most want to date and why, completely stumped me. At first, I thought, oh that’s easy, I have lots of favorite male novelists. Then, I realized, ooh wait, that question was which of their CHARACTERS do I wanna date? Just because the character’s creator is desirable, doesn’t make him so… after all, the author must have an ironic detachment from his little creation to make him compelling.

Thinking of my favorite books: there’s Andrei Makine’s Franco Russian war child in Dreams of My Russian Summers, but that character had lovely little thoughts like, women should just die after sex when they’ve exhausted their usefulness. And, even if forgiven for those sentiments, is a man who doesn’t know whether he’s Russian or French, who’s so conflicted over his national identity, really a desirable partner? Ditto for Jeffrey Eugenides’s fascinating Cal in Middlesex regarding gender / sexuality identity. While I hugely appreciate Oscar Hijuelos for making me feel actual sympathy for the womanizing, sexist, even sometime rapist Cesar Castillo in Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, he’s not exactly someone I want to spend time alone with. Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov — now there’s marriage material! Hemingway’s characters are, well, Hemingway characters. Salinger’s characters are smart-assed shitheads with engaging voices who make great narrators, but to date?… Philip Roth characters … ugh. Martin Amis men … ugghh. Nick Hornby males … uuuuggghhh… Leaving, for me… Augusten Burroughs‘s heroic survivors of things like complete childhood insanity who are, of course, GAY. And E.M. Forster guys… hmmm… much better than the most of the aforementioned but, yes, same little problem as Burroughs…

I can honestly only think of Emma‘s Knightly as a desirable man, and he’s 2,000 years old, so is bound to be a bit old-fashioned… Powell at first answered the question saying, ooh I dunno, that’s a hard question for a straight woman … Couldn’t agree more, unfortunately. But, on the bright side, I guess I do find something about all of these great writer men to fall in love with. Ironic detachment; it’s a marvelous thing. If only every man could strive for it…

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