I was away for half the weekend, but I got back in time to catch a little of this weird and totally-awkward-to-watch author meltdown on Twitter yesterday.Â I can’t say I know what Alice Hoffman was thinking (did she just not get that people read Twitter?), but I feel bad for her, that whatever kind of writerly wretchedness she was experiencing happened to be broadcast all over the internet. Oh well, when all the newspaper book reviews go away, maybe she’ll want advice for dealing with crappy online reviews, and then perhaps she can read this Buzz, Balls, & Hype blog post that Jami and I contributed to back in January (and somehow I never managed to link to it before now) about how not to let Amazon reviews get to you.Â I don’t know, I guess writers had somewhat different coping skills before the internet, back when you didn’t get to see reviews in other city newspapers until your publisher found them and clipped them and sent them to you via stagecoach* mail delivery. Now it’s all so much more immediate, and the immediacy goes both ways.
(*Can you tell I’m watching a lot of Little House on the Prairie lately? Remember when Laura won some big writing contest and went to Minneapolis and her publisher wanted her to completely rewrite her books, so they stuck her in a hotel and made her work there because FedEx hadn’t been invented yet?Â That’s totally how publishing worked in those days! And then authors were sent off to live in sod shanties for three months while the reviews came out so that they couldn’t recklessly telegraph their vitriolic responses! Really.)
As long as we’re talking about books, you should check out my friend Dave Reidy’s story collection, Captive Audience, which is his first book, and he is just now embarking on a grueling schedule of readings and Quimby’s karaoke parties and no doubt would love any support you can give (i.e., buying the book, coming to the reading, signing up to sing “9 to 5,” etc.).
I can’t believe it’s the middle of summer already. Because of all the work I have to do in my home office this summer, I broke down and got an air conditioner for that room. I tend to hate window air conditioners for the way they make noise, ruin a perfectly good view outside, and just sit there on the windowsill threatening to tip out and kill pedestrians on the sidewalk below. But somehow this year I really love this damn thing; I love that slightly musty air-conditioner scent that it has, because it comes with all kinds of sense memories of grade-school summer vacation. Basically my home office smells like NO SCHOOL FOR THREE MONTHS. I don’t know how that’s going to affect my work ethic, but I am digging it.
Finally, I’m totally late to the elegy party, but here’s how I’ve been breaking my own heart for the past four days…
…by watching all of Michael Jackson’s early low-tech videos. Like the one above and this one.Â There’s no John Landis, no gazillion-dollar budget, no fourteen-minute prologue, but holy Jacko, look how exuberant he looks. And look at how funky his moves were! I know everyone loved his moonwalk, but I’m pretty wistful for this era when he was decidedly more earthbound.