Ah, late September, a time when love is in the air. All the more reason that Elizabeth's first literary crush really tugged the heart strings--a teen girl in love with a gay octogenarian WWI poet is most likely doomed to failure, but she persevered nonetheless. So Elizabeth, salve your broken heart with the knowledge that you've won last week's contest (and new contest below!), and call Kristi for your free therapy (yes, blog comments are contractually binding. I know this because I watch a lot of Law & Order).
These kinds of broken hearts happen in the quest for great literature, it seems. The answer? Don't read great literature. Read John Grisham instead! He doesn't write literature, he says, and he fully supports Dan Brown's quest to also not write literature. They will probably start a Get Rid of Smelly writerS club, in which they buy first editions of Stephen King and light cigars with burning Gutenberg Bibles. I would join their club but, alas, I only write fine round up literature, and we all know anything good tends to get rejected. Some poorly written money makers also get rejected--which editors will only admit to anonymously. Agents, on the other hand, are wily rascals who we love for their lies, because their honesty is overrated.
I think the answer is to sell out (at least sell something) and get stuffed animals of your characters, CDs packaged with your books, and fans who bring guns from your historical fiction to your readings. Who needs MacArthur grants and to be one of a few great writers invited to read torture memos aloud? With political resonance? We can have Moby Dick written in emoticons, or be part of the Manga hall of shame, or try and revive a career as a former head of state by insinuating that you slept with Princess Di.
Or maybe you can get a ghostwriter--especially for your work in medical journals and your letters to friends (letter writing is an art, you know). Hey, it's not like there's anything new to write, no matter how many literary techniques you learn from dinosaurs (Lisa, that one's for you). Plus, small children will be better at plots than you anyway.
Well, maybe that's not true; you're probably better at plots than at least one kid. Maybe the reason no one loves you...er...your book is because it isn't a book. Maybe it's a non-fiction graphic novel for children. Maybe the detailed ethnography that is your dissertation is really a cookbook. Or maybe your book just really, really needs a subtitle.
What it doesn't need is dirty, rampant sex...ism. Not sex either, because writing about sex is awkward, but mostly not sexism. The British Fantasy Society chose not to interview a single woman on their horror panel (horrific!). While female characters are missing from sci-fi in general, actually excluding the lady-types is pretty not nice. The creator of modern horror was, in fact, a lady-type. The BFS swears it was only "lazy sexism" (as opposed to that active, gym going sexism) but others are saying the line in the sand has been drawn: horror is for men, paranormal romance is for ladies.
And the discrimination doesn't end there. Why hasn't there been a sci-fi Booker winner? Virginia Woolf liked sci-fi. I like sci-fi. Sci-fi even has some serious, real world type rules. Potentially, the sci-fi titles aren't that good. But more potentially, the Booker people aren't closet sci-fi fans. Either way, the odds can only be evened by joining a writer's club, potentially in Second Life. I mean, why not? Publishers are learning to love the web, so you should too.
Yes, the book world is changing. You know how I know? Diablo Cody is adapting the Sweet Valley High books for the big screen. Now Elizabeth and Jessica will call each other on ironic phones and wear ironic tees and oh my god they'll be terrible terrible hipsters. So my contest to you (which I think is entirely unwinnable, by the way): come up with a worse pairing of classic, beloved book or series and a modern writer. I call Jonathan Franzen's adaptation of the Babysitter's Club. Just so he will learn the value of writing characters that aren't thinly veiled versions on himself. ...Was that mean? I think that was mean. You're very talented Mr. Franzen! But there was no need to cast yourself as the hero of The Corrections!
Well, that's all from me. Submit pairings for my contest, and remember to pine for me until next Friday.