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Archive for December, 2007

And I hope all the little children in Italy are happy

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Now that it all seems set and ready to go, after many wonderful and a couple of not-so-wonderful adventures, finally it appears that a children’s book — written by me, illustrated by Daniela Tordi — will be published in Italy next year. In March, I think. It’s called Elynora, and it’s about a mother and her son and their extraordinary life (and death) and life. Hard to explain without giving it away, and I wouldn’t want to ruin it for all those Italian kids who keep up with this commentary. Daniela Tordi is an amazing illustrator, and (though we’ve yet to meet) clearly an amazing woman. It’s a beautiful book thanks to her.

Thank you, Daniela.

For those keeping score, this is the second book of mine that’s been published in a foreign country without first being published in this one. (See here for the first.) Two books. Isn’t that a little weird? I think so.

Okay. Here’s the cover for Elynora!

File under: Humor

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

“Ambrose apologized for inadvertently quoting some passages in full . . .”
The Times

“I mistook a quote in my notes for my own words.”
Doris Godwin

§§§§§

Apology


It has come to my attention that some of the passages in my most recent novel, A Day in Dublin, were inadvertently plagiarized. How this came to happen is, as most fiction writers know all too well, an understandable phenomenon, but one which nevertheless should in the course of editing be dealt with, and in the following cases it wasn’t, and I apologize.

1) On page 1, first paragraph, my hero, Steve Dedleus says, “I grow old, I grow old, I shall buy a new pair of trousers later today, oh, my yes.” Clearly, this is a reference to “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” I have mentioned in many interviews and articles what a huge influence Eliot had on my writing, and in such cases it’s not surprising that, completely inadvertently, images from his writing would infiltrate my own, but in this case the infiltration is probably a bit much. I apologize.

2) On page 2. “All happy families are alike; all unhappy families are probably a lot like mine.” I thought this was completely my own. Imagine my surprise when it was brought to my attention that something like it was originally written by Tolstoy, who in fact I have never read in my life. My apologies.

3) On page 3. The following dialogue occurs between two minor characters.

“Well then who’s on first?”
“Yes!”
“ I mean the fellow’s name!”
“Who!”
“ The guy on first!”
“Who!”
“The first baseman!”
“Who!”
“The guy playing first!”
“Who is on first!”
“Now whaddya askin’ me for?
“I’m telling you Who . . .”

In my forward, I explicitly thank Abbott and Costello for “honing my skills as a humorist.” I thought this covered it. I guess it didn’t. In hindsight, I would have put this passage in quotes, and included a laugh-track.

4) The craft of writing fiction is complicated, laborious, time-consuming, thankless, and labor which goes virtually unpaid. There is just so much paper around. Give me a break.

5) The plot of my novel is said to have been completely borrowed from James Joyce’s Ulysses. This is quite true. But as I have said many times, “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.”

6) On pages 67 – 219. The computer age is a bit of a mystery to this quaint and old-fashioned writer, whose first books, Catch-23 and Lord of the Spies, were written entirely with pencil on scraps of tissue paper. While cutting and pasting A Day in Dublin, I somehow inadvertently downloaded the entirety of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. My apologies to the author.

In closing, I hope these few, careless lapses do not detract from the larger issues my work hopes to address – the plight of the individual in a faceless, corporate world which awards not plain virtue but rather naked ambition and sexual exploits with co-workers. I am sorry. This won’t happen again.

Quandary.

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Can you say “NO” to rejection?

It’s time to admit I have a problem

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

I have a problem.

And so it begins. Again.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

One of the most dismaying things about publishing a book is also one of the most dismaying things about life in general: it’s over way too quickly. Or not quickly enough. What I mean is that it’s something you anticipate for months, for years and then . . . the day arrives! The book is here. Then: Some people like it, some don’t, it sells well but not well-enough, you wish you’d gotten that review in the NYTBR, but then it feels good to hate them . . . so many things happening all it once.

Then: nothing. No readings, no reviews. Bookstores don’t even stock it anymore. Oh, well. That’s the way it goes . . . and then — then —

The paperback!

And it’s a whole new ballgame. Look for it on the shelves in a little over six months.

(not the cover, by the way. I tried to upload it and the colors
were all wrong, so I didn’t)



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