Tuesday, December 2, 2008


At nearly four in the afternoon here, the shadows are lengthening. Following an early morning "jack frost", as the locals say, the air is soft. Our windows and doors are open to it. A light breeze stirs from the south, accompanied by a feeling of expectancy that's broken only by the rhythmic trill of a cricket. No birds, no machines.


Husband is immobilized at the computer downstairs, working on his Sunday column. I have walked the dog for a dunk in the pitifully shallow tank (Texan for pond) followed by an intense session of retrieving tennis balls.

Unaware of all this bucolic serenity, an editor somewhere in the northeast is reading my novel manuscript. He began yesterday and found the first page riveting. Fantastic. Only 352 to go…I expect…nothing much, really. I do not expect lightning to strike with a contract. I do not expect publication at all, in fact.

The news from the world of publishing is bleak. Last week I heard that venerable Harcourt (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) has announced it’s no longer acquiring adult trade fiction manuscripts. The editor of that division promptly quit. Editor Jonathan Galassi, winner of the Maxwell Perkins award for excellence in publishing, said recently that no one in the business really has any idea of where it’s heading. They don’t know how many people are still reading.

Yikes, y’all.


PJ's talkin'.... said...

That is not a good thing to hear. I want books that I can hold, feel, touch. Not download... or whatever they call it.
I want a spell checker on comments. I do creative spelling, but sometimes people don't get it... just like my art... :)

jonnie said...

And I thought the economy was in bad shape. Sounds like the literary world may be deteriorating as well.

I have worried about the future of newspapers for quite awhile. I read recently that only 35% of adults regularly read newspapers. I can't imagine getting up in the morning without coffee and my newspaper.

Ahhhh! Real paragraph breaks. Life is good. Thanks for the tip.

Cher said...

Kiss your doggy extra special tonight. Mine is sleeping in the vet hospital tonight with an IV in her leg. Poor girl. Between us, hubby and I visited her three times today.

Good luck with that editor!!!!

The Texas Woman

Bdogs said...

PJ, that's the way I feel, too. On art, I've decided that it doesn't matter if people in general don't get it. There's always someone who does, and they're your audience.

Jonnie, you're welcome. And now that we're Chronicle-less up here, I've transferred my coffee and paper habit to the online versions. I still prefer the paper paper, though.

Cher, I'm so sorry your dog is ill. I know how that feels.