Tomorrow I leave for a weekend away, and as soon as I return I'm leaving again for a week away. The destinations are different, and I have two fully equipped sets of anxiety about the trips. Yay.
So instead I'll tell a story I meant to tell some weeks back. One of my planned tripartite film essays is about Last Tango in Paris, a film I don't particularly love but which gave me an incredible epiphany when I was about 20. There's this wonderful film site, Bright Wall/Dark Room, which publishes long, thoughtful, specific, intelligent essays about film and media. The site put out a call a while ago for a themed issue on "Body." This is the precise theme around which I had loosely assembled my ideas for the Last Tango essay; it was the focus of my epiphany.
I was pretty slammed at the time, but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to match a tripartite essay with a market and themed issue that coincided with it. So I emailed the editor to say hi, I'm Kat, I write weirdo essays about film, I really want to work with you, I have this idea but no time to execute it, how strict is your deadline for this themed issue? I included links to the tripartite essays I'd previously published, in the hope that the editor would see how neatly my work matched with his site.
He wrote me back promptly, and I hope I'm not misinterpreting his email to say he seemed as excited about working with me as I was about working with him. However, he said, the deadline is moot. After he and the other editors at BW/DR found out about Bertolucci's treatment of Maria Schneider during the filming of Last Tango, they decided never to feature an essay about that film on the site. They didn't want to break that rule even for a promising and/or feminist essay. He said he was sorry about it, but would love to see other work from me in the future.
I was overcome. What a refreshing, ethical, transparent, reasonable rejection. What a splendid perspective! What a fantastic team of editors. Whatta mag.
|WHERE MY WHATTA MAN GIFS, INTERNET|
I legitimately bounced up and down in my chair. And I wrote back as effusively as possible to say thank you all for being goddamn human beings and of COURSE I'm not upset to get turned down for that reason. And let me figure out a way to work with you soon.
The following month I pitched another idea, which the editor showed interest in, and which I have since failed to write timely. Way to go, Kat; sabotage a relationship before it's a relationship. I really do mean to write it, but my discipline bucket is totally empty at the moment.
Two of the books I reviewed at the beginning of August seem to have taken all the air out of me. I've blogged about them before, but I'm still kinda blaming them for my inertia during these last couple of weeks. I haven't read any books this week, and I think it's because of the page count of those others. Also, I was disappointed in both books (in very different quantities), and usually it takes me a bit to get going again on reading after a couple of books I don't like.
Plus, as I told a client in the process of explaining why I completely failed to meet a self-imposed deadline this week, I conducted a handful of interviews this month that I wasn't expecting to, upping my workload. I think I've mentioned this before, so forgive me, but I don't understand why I've started getting requests to interview authors (sometimes completely out of the blue). My mentor Chris was entirely right to say that doing an interview series would help me a lot in terms of contact with authors and general circulation in the literary world, but I don't think interviewing is a particularly strong skill of mine. I'm grateful for the work and the confidence, and I'm also a bit baffled. Does it seem like I'm good at interviewing? Does this appearance of competence merely come from being a good reader?
As literally everything else successful this year has come, for me?
Out in the world:
I reviewed a book by Dawn Raffel with fascinating implications - The Strange Case of Dr. Couney - for the Mantle. I'm planning to work with them some more in the future. Very nice editor and wonderfully thoughtful site. The book is well worth checking out, and if it seems like it might even be a little interesting to you, grab it.
For this month's Books I Hate, I interviewed Kelcey Parker Ervick, the author of one of the finest hybrid texts I've ever read. She was lovely enough that the parenthetical part of the interview was really the primary one.
I reviewed a novel, Summer Cannibals, for the Arts Fuse. I liked the book, but my reviewer side had to be honest about its flaws. I'm looking forward to more work from this author - she writes extremely well.
And I reviewed a pretty difficult memoir, A Certain Loneliness, for River Teeth. I'm excited about appearing in River Teeth, where I've tried my essays a bunch to no avail, and I'm pleased to be able to give this book some attention. As with the other two books above, it's a flawed piece of work, but well worth reading. This book, like Dr. Couney, has more important qualities than whether it's perfectly crafted or not.