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Is It Hard To Make Arrangements With Yourself

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B+.  I give myself a B+ for the tour. Guys, I did everything I could. Wore dresses, heels, make up and  bling. I flossed like a mother fucker. I met some incredible booksellers and librarians. And lots of bridge ladies with teased hair and leopard print tops, bags and shoes. Love talking no trump with the bitches of South Beach. I have to take some points off for forgetting to use sunscreen and eating for two. Missed you guys.

What’s the worst author reading you ever went to?

How Do You SOlve a Problem Like Maria

I’ve spent thirty years as an editor and now agent talking writers off the ledge. That’s what we do. And it’s never more intense than in the two months before publication when anything and nothing can happen. When all your hopes and dreams could fill a dirigible floating over the city. Your fears and anxieties florid and deranged.

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HOw do I talk people off the ledge. First, I remind them their book is awesome, how much work it took, their dedication, their craft, how worthwhile it is even before a single copy is sold. Then I tell them stories the way you tell children stories to keep the bogey man away or stories to make them feel hopeful, about little trains that could. Or little books that grew up into mighty oaks. I get them thinking about their next book, about their inner life as a writer, about the long distance race. If all this fails, I suggest, they go shopping, to the movies, mani/pedi, hit the gym, start tutoring kids. If you’re in therapy: stay. If you’re not: start.

When I try to talk myself off the ledge, I realize something very scary. I am the ledge. Any advice?

 

 

Don’t Tell Me Not To Live

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Last night, I had the great honor of escorting my friend and client George Hodgman to the National Book Critics Circle Awards; his book Bettyville was a finalist. Ittook place at New School’s beautiful auditorium that looks like the inside of a deco egg. It was a star-studded event. To the left of us, Helen McDonald sans hawk. Directly in front of me Paul Beatty who I’ve loved since his first book of poems. Wendell Berry seemed annoyed to be receiving a lifetime achievement award. Everywhere in attendance proud editors, agents and family members. Margo Jefferson’s memoir Negroland won in George’s category, autobiography. No complaint there, but still I have to admit that in the moment before the winner’s name is announced, I found myself hoping with the fervor of a small child making a birthday wish. We consoled and celebrated over a long and delicious dinner with friends where much publishing gossip was exchanged. A meal in itself. When I think about reading the first pages George shared with me and sitting with him last night, and all the work in between that went into Bettyville, I feel so fortunate. Publishing doesn’t always fuck you over,

They Say as a Child I Appeared a Little Bit Wild

 

tumblr_m5agp4ws751rxiaoto1_500Someone recently asked me if I felt anxious about the book coming out because it is so personal. Get to know me. I’m anxious because it might not sell. I’m anxious because the New York Times might say mean things, or worse say nothing at all. I’m anxious because if I fail it’s not only in front of my friends and family, but the publishing profession where I work. I’m anxious because I’m not in therapy and I probably should be. I’m anxious because I don’t feel like myself, meaning I feel a little hopeful and that is just not part of the package.  I’m anxious because it’s all out of my hands now with the exception of boosting Facebook pages and going up and down Fifth avenue in the sandwich boards I’ve made with the Queen of Hearts on both sides.

What makes you anxious about getting your work out there? What’s your worst fear?

You’re Wearing Out Things That Nobody Wears

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No shit. Sebastian Junger shows up on The Affair. You know, the program I’m watching because I’m still in love with McNulty. Junger has a cameo. He plays himself and he says he claims to use reiki to help him write. Really? Let’s talk about this. I’ve never tried any alt methods to help with writing. On the contrary, I’ve always felt that writer’s block is god’s gift to man. I’m old school: the only thing that produces writing is writing. Plus, I love my demons way too much to release them. Plus, I’m ticklish.

What about you? Massage, meditation, yoga, long walks with a stick? What helps?

Stay With Me

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I want to create a TV show called THE VOICE which will based on THE VOICE. The four judges will be George Saunders, Marianne Moore, Marilyn Robinson and Don Delillo. Writers will have 2-3 minutes to read from their work. IF the judges like the work they will hit the button and their chairs will turn. Then they will coach you and possibly give you a blurb.

Who would you choose for a coach? And why?

I Know If You’re Haunting Me I Must Be Haunting You

TWO MORE DAYS LEFT to win a copy of THE BARTER by Siobhan Adcock. What was the scariest book you’ve ever read and why? Giving away first, second and third prizes.