A Moment of Jen
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Friday, January 01, 2010
posted by Jen at 1/01/2010 10:26:00 AM

Last week, an editor at the Times wrote and asked for my New Year’s reading resolutions. After I scraped myself off the floor, I submitted about a paragraph’s worth of resolutions, which got whittled down to two sentences (with a hyperlink for Gary Shteyngart, and none for me, because, other than the bestseller list, what would they link to? The Times, she does not cover my books).

Here's the in-full, annotated version of what I submitted:

In 2010, I will not reflexively assume that all-male best-books-of-the-year lists or book reviews that ignore romance and chick lit are evidence of a vast sexist plot. It could totally be a coincidence. Yes, it could. (Author’s note: the editor didn’t want to include this because she argued that not everyone was familiar with the Publishers Weekly kerfuffle after its best-books-of-the-year list included no women. Also, I assume that it’s regarded as bad form to let authors trash your section in your section).

In terms of the Russians, I will read Anna Karenina, and stop using Gary Shteyngart’s last name as a curse word, even though it is extremely effective. (Author’s note: this is true. I actually do use Gary Shteyngart’s last name as a curse word, and have ever since the Times ran two reviews of his book, plus a lengthy wet kiss of a profile in the magazine. This is nothing personal against Shteyngart who, male acquaintances assure me, is actually quite funny – I’d use Charles Bock’s last name if it was a little more dirty-sounding).

If an author says her favorite beach read is “The Mill on the Floss,” I will nod politely, instead of rolling my eyes and muttering “as if” or “pretentious much?” (Author’s note: I will not link to the writer who swore, in the Times, that she does indeed shlep “The Mill on the Floss” to the beach each summer. I will merely note that I read this and muttered ‘Shteyngart!’)

I resolve to write an edgy, creepily personal account of my devotion to an outre sexual practice so that my work will be reviewed by the Times and I myself will become a Times reviewer and change the paper’s policies from the inside out. Toni Bentley, watch your ass. (Author’s note: Toni Bentley is the author of a memoir called The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir, about her decades-long love affair with anal sex. The Times reviewed it – a little skeptically – and, ever since then Bentley, a former ballet dancer, has been reviewing regularly for the paper, writing dismissive reviews of other women's memoirs in which she accuses them of oversharing. I don’t get it.)

Finally, I will not cyberstalk Katherine Dunn or Tabitha King in hopes of convincing them to publish new novels and will instead confine myself to the occasional plaintive blog post. (Author’s note: I understand that Dunn, author of GEEK LOVE, is maybe too busy putting the hurt on petty thieves to write much. However, Stephen King’s book “On Writing” mentioned a Tabitha King book that has never seen the light of publication. So would someone, as a New Year’s favor to her fans, publish it already? Seriously? Please?)

So there you have it: my resolutions. New Year’s greetings from Mexico, where I’m swimming, sunning, chasing the toddler and revising FLY AWAY HOME. May all of your dreams for 2010 come true!
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