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No TIme For Losers (redux)

There was an article in the paper  the other day about how the National Book Awards wants to sex itself up. Apparently Molly Ringwald is going to attend tomorrow night. That’s nice, but somehow having an entire  brat pack reunion at the ceremony wouldn’t quite achieve the luster they’re looing for.  Getting a celeb for the MC is always a good start. Red carpet: check. Peach Bellinis: check. Richard Ford-era brawl in the bar also good. But let’s face it, while the NBA’s are the closest Publishing comes to the Oscars, a room full of word nerds in rented tuxedos isn’t quite sex on a stick. The author as rock star just doesn’t quite hold up. Some have done their share, of course, and some are downright gorgeous. But this face lift on the ceremony speaks to the essential problem: most writers are generally lumpy, they don’t have tremendous fashion sense, and they prefer to sit behind their computer by themselves for a reason. They are about the sweetest creatures on earth. Good luck tomorrow night!

Do you have your speech prepared?

34 Responses

  1. Yeah. I thank my parents for giving me a face for prose. Otherwise, I may have been too fucking busy, or vice versa.

  2. Surely what the awards show needs is a few sparkly vampires to sex it all up. I hear they’re hot.

    Can’t focus on my speech until my ms isn’t a POS. Maybe tomorrow, right?

  3. I hate speeches with a passion. If they eliminated the speeches from this event AND the Oscars I would never stop dancing.

  4. I thought Richard Ford was about as hot as a man could be–looks, brain, bod, charm, enough talent for a generation. Then I spent a week at a writers conference where he wore short shorts all the time. I mean short. Hanging out short. I didn’t buy his books for years though I did just get Canada.

  5. In the unlikely event that I ever do something speech-worthy, Shanna will be my stand-in. She’s already promised, and she’s pretty sexy so my rep will remain intact. Or, um, be created.

  6. The only speech I have ready is the one I’m delivering to my kids if they don’t have the playroom floor picked up in time to cram two air mattresses in there for their grandparents to sleep on Tuesday night.

    But I’m pretty sure, in the unlikely event that I am ever in this lifetime presented with an NBA, my speech will go something like this: “We all know at least one writer who communicates much better through the written word than the spoken. I’m one of those. So I’m going to thank the Foundation and the judges for this award and sit down before I can inadvertently test the hypothesis that embarrassment can be fatal. Thank you for this award.”

    • I am impressed. How do you get the grandparents to agree to air mattresses? My mother in law wanted me kicked out of my own bed after labor and a c section. After 2 decades, I finally announced she is a crazy fucking bitch and I hate her and will never see her again. She acts like it never happened. No jury would convict me.

      Hey, that could be my speech. Thanks to the inlaws for instilling the need to spew my hatred on the page. I’d like to announce my next book is a memoir.

      • Actually, I’m feeling gracious and helpful today. Maybe an Etiquette for Inlaws Guide instead. Rule #1. Do NOT show up on your son’s honeymoon.

      • They requested it, Deb—they usually get my MIL’s guest bedroom, but my SIL and her dog are in there. We offered to rearrange, but I think they secretly dislike the guest bed (concrete can sag, who knew?).

        As Mom said, they’ve slept on far worse than a nice, thick carpet. Dad asked if they could borrow our mattresses—theirs are made to keep sleeping bags off cold, wet ground rather than to make the sleepers comfortable.

      • On the honeymoon?! I’d read that book . . .

      • Yup. I wrote down a few other boundary issues with ‘those people’ and converted them into sick humor today. Laughter the great healer.

        Your parents sound like peaches. They can come stay at my house anytime!

      • Deb- Forty years elapsed before my former MIL finally admitted her son was the problem, not me. It was my moment of vindication – I think a rainbow even appeared in the sky. Her apology started a new chapter between us and we had a good long-distance relationship for the last three years of her life. My ex-husband was quite put-out and made sure no one called me when she died.

        And people wonder why I don’t bother with a cable tv subscription.

      • Wow. Honeymoon. That’s some pretty impressive bad boundary shit. Very.

  7. “Do you have your speech prepared?”

    Of course. I think I’ve even beta tested it on this blog in previous comments.

  8. No speeches, especially if they sex-up the stage and beg me to mount it.

  9. So awesome Louise Erdrich won and gave a speech in two languages.

  10. It would be a relief to hang out with some lumpy writers! But I’m not sure about those shorts..

  11. I’m an unlumpy writer (because I lost 60 lbs.), with fashion-sense (only because I became a fashion designer in my formative years after being teased) that never wanted to be a rock star (but wouldn’t mind writing songs for a rock star) and by day I prefer to be a producer (but only because by night I can then afford to be across the bed with a laptop) … … …

    So maybe I haven’t that push quite right yet. I’m wishing on a mini-magical book deal, but mostly I’m just a poot in the universe of all this stunk.

  12. Maybe what’s called for is a presentation a la THE VOICE where the winner goes behind a blackened screen to give his or her speech. Better yet have the audience sit in swivel chairs and make them turn away from the stage once the winner is announced.

  13. Ah hem…tonight I’d like to thank the inventor and manufacturer of Spanx because without your Madonna full body gut-sucker-inner, with padded d-cups and snap crotch, I would not be able to fit so trimly into my Kmart Jaclyn Smith little black dress.
    If that’s not sexing it up I don’t know what is.

  14. They should have a new category of award at the NBA. They need to recognize the authors who don’t win awards but who single-handedly save the entire publishing industry by their book sales. And they should start by honoring Stephanie Meyer, whose books I have never read but who deserves respect because she wrote a story that millions of people want to read and also she recently lost 100 pounds and looks AMAZING.

    And can you imagine how cool it would be to see E. L. James honored for her contribution to the book business by, say, Junot Diaz? He just won a MacArthur so he can afford to be gracious.

    If not for writers like Meyer and James would there be enough money in the game for writers like (fill in with name of some mid-list literary darling)?

    • Vivian, just your rumor that E.L. is attending sexes up the awards. Had I known, I might have bought a ticket–airline that is. Lurking by the fake palm plant in the lobby, I could rush onto the elevator just as she stepped aboard. A little prestidigitation and there we would be, stranded between floors six and seven. I haven’t read “Grey” but how exciting to speculate that there is one horny woman left in the world. Of course, they do say it is fiction.

    • Where is this weight loss documented?

  15. I’m not lumpy. I dress with edge, and I’m really, really tired of thinking of book industry stuff. In reality, no one but a select few even care.

  16. I’m lumpy, I have horrible fashion sense, and a face for radio.

  17. No speech prepared – I can’t let myself think like that since I’m a bit superstitious. Not black cat, walk under a ladder, break a mirror superstitious – just a spritzing of it. And, if I imagine any sort of award, if I even let my brain drift in that direction, I simply re-read my latest paragraph.

  18. Damn straight I’ve got one prepared. It’s a doozy, a ball-buster, articulate, scintillating, one for the ages. I should live so long.

  19. This past weekend I went to a lecture by Junot Diaz. This is one writer who is not lumpy at all. Nor does he seem to be the walking embarrassment that I am. Sorry (not really) to use the teenage vernacular here, but he was kinda hot.

  20. Congratulations to Louise Erdrich!! I went to bed so happy last night, just knowing she won.

    That said, I did love Kevin Powers’s THE YELLOW BIRDS so much I finished it in one day.

  21. When I think of speeches, I’m ruined by recalling Jean Hagen’s portayal of Lena Lamonte’s speech after the premiere of The Dancing Cavalier. But her dress was wonderful.

  22. Not sure why but I have this computation to say “I laughed I cried; it was better than Cats” in front of an audience of people. Not sure why. It cracked my therapist up anyway. I think that if I am ever so lucky as to receive so much attention as a bad review I’d have my body painted with them in lie of a dress. The more spectacularly bad the better. Think yesterday’s NYT slam of Guy Fieri’s Times Square place. Or maybe not. I have a friend who’s a brilliant designer. As for the speech there are so many people who hold me up as a writer and I couldn’t even begin to list them all. But since I write about my wife… It’s a crazy love letter I’m sure, all these words to make sense of breathing.

    Congratulations to the finalists! I have a list of books added to my list of books.

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