Happy Groundhog Day!
I originally hail from a small town in Pennsylvania near Punxsutawney. (The Punxsy Chucks were our high school's arch rivals.) Let me tell you, Groundhog Day in Punxsy is nothing to scoff at.
For some inexplicable cosmic reason, Feb. 2 hasn't been so good to me or the ones I love. On this day in 1989, my grandmother died. Ten years ago today, my wonderful husband had brain surgery. Last year at this time, I was in L.A. trying to salvage what was left of his brain from poorly prescribed and monitored medication. Like I said, historically, Feb. 2 and I don't get along.
At least I'm not Punxsutawney Phil. The Fat Boy is taken from his lair and held up in front of thousands (literally!) of people who normally couldn't tell a groundhog from a vole, and who would gladly have target practice with a woodchuck the other 364 days of the year. Then the Grand Poobahs "listen" to Phil tell them whether or not he saw his shadow.
Ah, but who am I to make fun of the ritual? It puts a teeny-tiny town on the map once a year. And last I saw Phil, he looked like the groceries were plentiful. :)
Enough about groundhogs. Other updates scream for attention.
This week has been one for ongoing news in recently written-about areas of interest. For instance:
A Million Little Problems
Berrien County native James Frey's little book continues to generate press. Slaughtered by bloggers and pundits everywhere, taken to task by Oprah Herself, and now, losing his manager. It's rare indeed when poetic justice happens so swiftly and surely.
Yesterday, the AP reported that James' Frey's literary agent dumped him . Which is kind of interesting, since it's my understanding that the agent in question (Kassie Evashevski of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment) originally offered "A Million Little Pieces" to some publishers as a novel, and to others as a memoir.
Proving once more that the American public doesn't care much for The Truth, however, the book continues to sell well. Take, for instance, this excerpt from a recent news story from the "Detroit News" (published on 1/29/06):
Kate Anderson, 30, an elementary school counselor, was at a Borders bookstore in Atlanta Friday, buying the book on her day off. Her book club had recently decided to read it, despite Frey's admitted falsehoods.
"I've never taken autobiographies or memoirs at face value," she said, or assumed they were 100 percent true. "I've heard it was so good, despite the inaccuracies," she added.
At the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, an independent bookstore in Winnetka, Ill., a suburb north of Chicago, the store manager, Jay Schwandt, said only one person had tried to return "A Million Little Pieces" since it was revealed early this month that substantial portions of it were fabricated.
"We've been selling it left and right," Schwandt said. "It has not been a problem here. We just got 20 more in today, and they'll be gone by the end of the weekend."
While it was too soon to tell if Thursday's encounter with Winfrey would slow sales of the book, Doubleday said Friday it had decided that future editions of "A Million Little Pieces" will not carry the Oprah's Book Club logo. The company had previously said it would include both a publisher's and an author's note about the factual discrepancies in the book.
And, it appears, I was not alone in my desire to see Oprah interview our CIC . One of the more engaging reads went so far as to offer a sample transcript of such a show. Perhaps just as interesting, "frey" has now become a verb... See: Oprah "Freys" President Bush for more.
On a good note, "Brokeback Mountain" -- hands-down the best movie I've seen in years -- received 8 Oscar nominations, throwing a welcome wrench into the works of my prevailing theory that Hollywood wouldn't recognize a literary story if it tripped over it.
The Cat is Back
Imagine my flattered surprise when I received what can only be called "fan mail" from none other than the Berrien County Cougar yesterday. It appears that the Cougar has a recurring column in his own blog. One installment is particularly read-worthy.
In other, perhaps related, news, a neighbor woman has been noticing piles of meat and other food set out on her property, and near her house. Someone is obviously trying to bait something, but no-one is fessing up to it. One of the woman's older dogs got into one of the bait piles before she could stop it, and it died earlier this week. She's an older lady, and her dogs are her family. Some things just ain't right...
Geoff's Book Cover
The cover has not yet been carved in stone. Today, I received a new (and much improved) suggestion for the back cover. We're still playing with the flap text. But things look promising, and we're at the point where I'm happy with what they've done.
The Continuing Case of the Uncooperative Writer
Regular readers will remember the ongoing hijinks last fall with He Who Will Not Call, a writer who's project I was editing, who then jumped off the face of the earth and would not return phone calls or e-mails to either me or the publisher. We last heard from our Insipid Hero at the beginning of November. Well, the publisher is getting tired of playing the waiting game. (I must admit to a certain amount of irritation, too. I mean -- HHWNC's idiosyncracies have resulted in a decided lack of payment for the editorial services I rendered.)
Well, I recently learned that HHWNC has been served with a certified letter, requesting some sort of commitment on his part. The publisher got notice of the signed receipt earlier this week. This means that wheels are in motion for SOMETHING to happen on that project. Rah!
And there you have it. Updates, and all the news I see fit to print today. Who knew life here in Flyover Country could be so interesting?