I’m Just Saying: Coming soon, to a newsstand near you…
I (and perhaps many of you) don’t really consider myself a writer.
After all, the idea hadn’t occurred to me until an editor of a local paper back in 2006 asked me if I’d be interested in writing a weekly column. Which turned into a syndicated column. Which meant some very well-meaning readers nagged me into writing a novel, which I did last year.
Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy writing, especially this column, because it’s easy. The novel, however, almost killed me because I haven’t the discipline that real authors have who dedicate a specific time to write each day.
Typically impatient, I had to knock it out in one sitting. Which lasted eight weeks. Surrounded by coffee cups and beer bottles littering the kitchen table, depending on what hour it was.
Finished and triumphant, I swore off caffeine and hung my liver out to dry.
But I don’t really consider myself a writer. Or a comic. Or an actress.
Mostly, I consider myself a horsewoman who takes whatever gig comes around to pay the feed and vet bills. If there’s a horse I really want, I might knock out another novel.
Then, early one morning a couple of weeks ago, I decided to check my email, and this greeted me on the subject line: “Inquiry from The New Yorker.”
Must be one of those junk solicitation emails that sneaked through, I thought, believing it to be a subscription request. My eyes casually swept over the body of the email. Then I caught my breath.
The inquiry was that this particular staff writer, Kathryn Schulz, wanted to interview me.
Wait a minute, I thought, googling her name furiously, surely not that Kathryn Schulz. Not the Pulitzer Prize winning Kathryn Schulz, who also has served as the book reviewer for New York Magazine? Law, Law — suddenly I realized that I was not only considered a writer, but a writer of substantial credibility if The New Yorker — that sleek, sophisticated and historic magazine — wanted to interview me about my novel.
Holy cow, a favorable review could propel it onto The New York Times best seller list. Just think of the dressage horse that might result from that…
However, in the sad trombone (wah-wah) fashion that has typified my life whenever I’ve begun to idly consider myself of any importance, the interview with Ms. Schulz had nothing to do with my novel. Or my acting. Or my stand-up.
Her awareness of me came about as a complete fluke from doing a bit of research on the subject of which she was writing. Kathryn ran across a column I had written in 2015 about what happened one afternoon when I had mistakenly left the French doors to the back deck cracked open…
“It’s a funny story,” she graciously complimented me over the phone. “Is it true?”
“You betcha,” I said. “Can you mention my novel?”
Er, no….nor may I, if I want to personify journalistic etiquette, even mention what the article is about until it comes out the week of March 5, both on newsstands and online.
We don’t have any newsstands in Landrum. I can get a copy of Jail Birds and the I-Wanna at the Sphinx, but I’m pretty sure they don’t carry The New Yorker.
I may have to drive to Charlotte. Because, while it’ll be fun to read the piece online, it simply isn’t the same as holding that revered magazine with its signature typeface in my own two paws.
Me…in The New Yorker…both heady and humiliating at the same time. I don’t believe I’ll be framing it, no…
You’ll have to see why for yourself.
But my novel really is pretty good.
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