It’s Saturday morning and my dance studio just called me to make sure I was okay, since I haven’t been around in the past week and a half. How sweet to be missed And I’ve missed them too — I HATE being away from dance for so long… Just had a couple of crazy busy weeks.
Tuesday night I went to the monthly Writers Room member reading series at Cornelia Street Cafe. Readers that night were the sweetly funny Jill Dearman, Douglas Light, reading from his (published — how jealous am I!) novel, East Fifth Bliss, and Julia Lichtblau, who read her charming short story about a Guatemalan girl adopted by U.S. parents making the difficult decision to search out her roots. Just a few months until I read, for the first time, and I’m honestly getting nervous. How I can be anxious about reading in a cozy cafe in front of about 50 people from a manuscript read by practically everyone I know, as well as several agents and editors, and too numerous to contemplate writing classmates, when I have shown off my not so brilliant, two-year-old dancing skills on two real stages to a total of about 1,000 audience members, I’ll never know… but somehow I am. Well, the dance performances have been practice, I guess.
The host, Stan Richardson, was a bit punchier with the readers this time than last, asking them questions like, what is your most prized writing accomplishment (what am I going to say, my blog???), and what hours do you keep at WR so people know when to mob you, and, do you have anything else in your life that you’re proud of. The only question he asked that I would have any kind of interesting answer to was, when did you join WR. I joined right after Brooke Shields (who I assume was using the Room to write her memoir about her post-partum depression). They take everyone’s picture when you join and then post photos of the new members right above the entranceway for about six months. So, my lovely mug shot, in which my eyes were half closed, was right beside Brooke’s superstar photo gracing the doorway for six long months. I never did see Brooke in the Room, although I’m an evening and weekends member; she was probably there during the day. Or maybe she just joined thinking it a prestigious organization, and really has her own fancy loft somewhere in Manhattan in which to write? In any event, even having a crappy picture next to Brooke’s gorgeous face, I have to admit I felt very cool belonging to the same organization
Wednesday, I attended a panel discussion organized by the Women’s National Book Association, on alternative publishing methods, entitled “Entrepreneurial Publishing: Print-on-Demand, E-books, Back-into-Print, and Other Alternatives to ‘Publishing-as-Usual'”. Ever since reading Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail (which I actually discovered through dance, when Kristin Sloan posted on the Winger about attending his book-signing party), I’ve been interested in how the internet is affecting the publishing industry. I was particularly interested in POD (print-on demand — basically self-publishing wherein a small number of books are printed and sold by the author directly on Amazon, for example), but knowing very little about publishing, I still don’t entirely understand it. I oftentimes feel, when I am attending a publishing panel discussion, that I’m eavesdropping on a conversation already underway since most of the audience members are in the industry. But I do glean small bits of information, which is why I go.
Anyway, one of the most interesting parts of the discussion was a last-minute addition to the panel — Adam Bellow, who is pictured above with the mike. Bellow (who I just found out by doing an internet search so I could link to him, is the son of Saul Bellow — wow!!!), is an editor at Random House who just started a new pamphleteering press. He said that pamphleteering has in the past been very important to intellectual life — think John Stuart Mill‘s On Liberty, On the Subjection of Women, John Locke, Adam Smith, etc. etc. etc. — and that creating such a press was not possible until the emergence of the internet and the lively intellectual culture it created. Hmmm. Sounds very cool!
Here are some books they had for the taking at the discussion — two romance novels published by Lori James’ Linden Bay Romance, which specializes in electronic formats and trade paperback, and one from Bellow’s company, which is titled, “Everything Could Explode at any Moment: Dispatches from the Lebanese-Israeli Front,” by Michael J. Totten. How very fascinating that the internet has made possible the return of lively 18th and 19th Century intellectual-political discourse!
Then, Thursday night I pulled practically an all-nighter at the office finishing up and filing a brief. And last night I tried to go to a birthday party for a fellow dance blogger — happy birthday, S.J.! — but only made it about ten percent of the way through before having to go home and crash, ridiculously early, on a Friday night (and, to boot, was so tired I forgot to take pictures — bad bad blogger!!!) Anyway, I’m pooped and looking forward to a relaxing weekend…