Thursday, August 19, 2010
Imitating the actions of the literary tigers
Re, "Norman Mailer's letter to Ernest Hemingway after his novel, The Deer Park was rejected by eight publishers and finally taken by Putnam's" (Ivan's blog, Sunday Aug. 15, 2010).
Frankly it strikes me as childish. "Give me what I want or I'll never talk to you again!" Kinda sad to see that from one of the luminaries. But, of course, the luminaries are/were human.
Ivan, I thought you might find this article of interest: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2010/08/a-self-publishers-primer-to-enhanced-e-books-and-book-apps224.html. Perhaps another option for distribution of your work.
(Chris Benjamin is the Sustainable City Columnist for The Coast (www.thecoast.ca). In 2006/2007 he worked as a journalist in Ghana. His first novel, Drive-by Saviours, will be published by Roseway in Fall 2010. His first book of nonfiction, Green Souls, will be published by Nimbus in Fall 2011. He shared an honourable mention in the 2009 National Magazine Awards. Chris has written fiction and features for The Toronto Star, VoicePrint Canada, This Magazine, Now Magazine, Descant, Third Person Press, Nashwaak Review, Pottersfield Press, Rattling Books, The Society, University of Waterloo Press, Z Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, The Chronicle Herald, Coastlands, Progress Magazine, and many others.
And sometimes we neophytes imitate the actions of a petulant tiger.
When I was writing for Starweek, Toronto, I was on a Hemingway kick, as I was using the very desks and typewriters of The Great Man when he had been with The Star.
Said the editor,
"You seem to come on like six-foot-four in the body of a guy five-foot-eight. Tough guy. Boss...And you write like a tough guy. But you're not, you're really not."
But he did, oddly, send me on the same kind of assignment they once sent Hemingway, whom Harry Hindmarsh, his editor hated.
"Take the longest streetcar ride in Town, Queen Street-- fifteen miles. Give me your impressions."
Hemingway had come back with a crackerjack story, the ride somehow reminding him of taking the Staten Island Ferry in New York; the ferry seemed to go everywhere...And so did the Queen Street streetcar in Toronto.
...Well, I came back having intereviwed the streetcar conductor, whose passion in life was to be a railroad engineer...Well, he was. Kinda.
The story worked. Made the front page, especially when I made it plain that the United Arab Emirates wanted all our streetcars, which the TTC in its wisdom, had decided to replace by trolley buses. Shortly after my story ran, the TTC changed its mind and decided to keep all the streetcars, whose new modern versions can still be seen today.
I tried to find THE LONGEST STREETCAR RIDE IN TORONTO in Star files but Google doesn't seem to have that old story from 1972...And if I went into Star files, I would have to pay, big time. Anyway the story was my stab at bigtime journalism...I had made it, but not for long. They promoted me to editor, and then, egad, fired me.
I'll check out the links you provided. Thanks.