So while enjoying today’s hit of Poppy Z. Brite, I paused and then backed up to her latest mention of OUTSIDERS: 22 NEW STORIES FROM THE EDGE. I thought to myself, ‘This seems an intriguing and attractive anthology, as it includes many writers I enjoy.’ And then I thought, ‘Wait a minute, this is a Penguin/Roc book! And I myself am a Penguin/Roc author! In fact, our books are coming out at the same time, which means there must be an Advance Reading Copy or two kicking around, in, or near my editor’s office. So perhaps I could exploit this relationship and get her to hook me up.”
Emails were exchanged; the ARC was asked for and obtained; and then somehow we got on the topic of Canadians. My editor Liz mentioned that she had been ushering a crew of Canadian friends around the city, that it was like herding very friendly and polite cats. I wondered if she hadn’t just nailed the essence of the Canadian character (I myself am from Peterborough, Ontario, and did an English degree at Queen’s. When I started living in the US, I very quickly realized that people tended to assume that “Queen’s University” refers to some school in Queens, New York, but it wasn’t until a couple of years passed that I learned people often mistook my Canadian Ontario for the town of Ontario that exists in California, and to which I have not yet been. So I learned to further clarify those elements of my life story when speaking with Americans. But I digress).
One reason I like Liz is because her emails tend to sound like this: Drinks in July indeed, my fine friend. I have recently found a restaurant near me, much-vaunted, with terrible service but a large bar area and cocktails of truly disturbing greatness, and I’m not even a cocktail girl.
And when I told her “There’s no crying in publishing!” — doing a feeble yet self-amusing riff on Tom Hanks’ famous line in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN — Liz quickly set me straight: Justine my dear – Oh, there’s crying in publishing. It falls into two categories: 1)editorial: jumping up and down and thumping the walls, weeping, hurling manuscripts, while Brave Friend From Publicity slips aspirin and margarita promises under the door, and 2) authorial: quiet, demure, Audrey Hepburn ennui while sipping a dry martini, grammatically correct in every respect.