Attended panels on Editor-Agent Relationship, a psychologist who counsels authors on unrealistic/unrealistic expectations, and humor in thrillers.
First one informative and especially on a publisher's marketing commitments -- it will change and the trick is to manage the communication so the author knows what's going on. True in may case, Rodale did a lot of what they said, didn't do some chunks they had offered, and then went on and did some new stuff after the initial launch we had never discussed.
Second one started out useful because as the speaker said, the extrinsic rewards of being an artist are akin to the syndrome of irregular reward behavior, i.e., like a compulsive gambler who knows that if s/he keeps doing certain things, s/he will hit a jackpot of varying sizes, only one never knows the correlation between what worked and what doesn't. An author's true reward is in the work, but as far as financial success and other recognition, it's emotionally hard being an author and she can help. True enough, but this workshop it ended up feeling like an infomercial and so I left.
Third -- lots of yuks as Rosemary Harris read from "Pushing Up the Daisies" and another author read from his movie-rift title "Some Like it Hot-Buttered" thriller (his next one is entitled "It Happened One Knife).
Closing reception at the Campus President's home is well tended, good buffet food of moussaka, render skinless chicken breasts in some kind of sauce (but no knives to cut), asparagus with some tasteless orangey goo on it, a too-rich chocolate dessert with creme fraiche, and flowing with booze. One of the agent presenters and I regale a young lass/writer-to-be (named Wistar) nervously on edge of being accepted (or rejected) for an MFA program at UV. Notice in mail today, Monday, or certainly by Tuesday. Unnamed agent describes MFA programs as like being a printing press - - it takes your talent, flattens it out, and produces some kind of cookie cutter product -- recognizable, but is it you. My gratuitous advice to same lass is if you have a voice, a program might mutilate it -- not suppress, or altar, but mutlilate beyond repair. Option - send out your ms. to unnamed agent and others and if you get enthusiastice representattion, quit the program. I thought that the Iowa School really helped Chang Rae-Lee to find his voice and develop his skills for example (but too many flourishes). Unnamed agent modifies earlier comment to say that if you find people teaching you to achieve your goals of improving your first novel great. But if the program is geared towards short story writing, he though it useless and quite. .Same agent's enfant terrible author arrives and adds nothing to the discussion. We hear the bar just closed and so we all leave unceremoniously.
An older couple who are too tired gives me two tix to hear Mike Ferrell's key talk at the revamped art deco Paramount Theater on the pedestrian Mall. Ring up Herman Carillo who is MIA at the party. He's crashed from a month of too many receptions like the one he just missed. We catch Mike for awhile and it's clear he's continuing his great work witnessing and bringing attention to the worst horrors of today's world. A local Amnesty International is campaigning in the lobby for an innocent man who had inexplicably confessed to murders that forensic evidence indicate the could not have committed.
After awhile, Herman and I adjourn to Eppie's to have foreign wheat beer with copy clearly aiming at a college educated crowd. The beer is described as "mahagony" in color instead of brown and ends up with something about providing a "...sense of purpose..." Still a good beer. One is enough because Herman, as lively a wag as always, is still a bit peaked and I have to rise at 4:30 AM to ready myself for a 6:20 AM flight to ATL and then to Brunswick.
Highlight insight of our departing chat -- seeing relationships as art projects. We're both too free and needing our own time as writers/thinkers/madmen to hew to the conventional. And clearly (specific persons protected) have both enjoyed being with someone in unconventional ways (despite conventional trappings) that have the qualities of creativeness, edginess, and stimulation of an art project as opposed to the settling in of most romantic couplings.
Next two stops, a break on Sapelo Island with my salt water Gullah matriarch and friend, Cornelia and family. Thursday, it's off to Dallas for the Writer's Garret - a Friday night reading and a Saturday memoir writing workshop.
Causes William Lee Supports
Kim Baptiste's Culture Clash Hip-Hop Clubs for Youth, SF Bay Area East Bay Meditation Center, availing Buddhist wisdom to inner cities Belladonna Sanctuary...