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Man Bites Dog

Posted Jul 20 2010 2:33am
Well, that was a pretty good dog story, don't y'all think?

Sadly, however, my agent says that while he likes all the Bali 'sketches' I have been sending him, he would have no idea where to market such offerings.

Oh well, who cares? I like writing them anyway. I guess that's the main point. Or should be if it isn't.

Strange things have happened in the publishing world since the time of the great American giants--Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, et. al. It used to be that worthwhile writing was the object of the market. The market existed for the sake of literature, and it was literature that made the market, not the market that made literature.

Nowadays writing is aimed toward a sales format, the big money's conception of what people want or should want to read. Write in accordance with the formula, or forget it. Nowadays publishers bluntly state that they will not open or read submissions that are either unsolicited or unagented.

Agents in turn make their money according to the sales of the published book, and are therefore careful to send nothing that does not fit the formulaic blueprint of the publisher.

Obviously, this is just about the best way in the world to stifle new ideas, new narrative structures, new literature. It panders to mediocrity, to the man with the hammer in favor of the man with the paintbrush and blank canvas, to the household name, the movie star, the newsworthy personality, the credentialed professor, the scientist, the talk show circuit and the talk show host.

It's all a bit nauseating, isn't it?
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