Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How stuff works..

If you've got a moment, read this appreciation, from the New York Times, of old-school publishing figure Simon Michael Bessie. It's fascinating and perspective inducing (yes, if you manage to reject Lolita and The Godfather, you will live to tell about it).

And, yes, to answer the question you will all surely ask, when I make an offer, it goes exactly like this:

"One day, as [John] Cheever was staring out the window, a sailing yacht appeared in the harbor and dropped anchor. A man in white flannels and a double-breasted blazer was rowed ashore in a dinghy and announced in the voice of a literate aristocrat to the small crowd that had gathered to greet him, 'I’m looking for John Cheever.'"

“It was Simon Michael Bessie,” Ms. Cheever writes, “a senior editor at Harper & Row, and he had come to buy ‘The Wapshot Chronicle.’ ”


Susan Fine said...

Given that I live two blocks from Lake Michigan, I think it is possible for you to do just that -- when the next novel has been proposed! We will, however, have to pay close attention to the infamous wind in Chicago, so that you won't blow overboard.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

How patently ridiculous. You came in a hot air balloon when you made my offer.

Barbara Shoup said...

Cornelia Bessie was the editor for my first novel NIGHT WATCH at Harper & Row in 1982. The first time we met, she took me to Michael's office to meet him. I was terrified--a young writer from Indiana just sure I was about to make some kind of dreadful gaffe. He greeted me warmly, gestured me to a chair. "You've written a wonderful book," he said. Then, eyes twinkling,"It's okay to smile." And I did. (Breathed, too.) It still seems amazing to me that someone who'd edited such truly great writers had read a book I wrote--let alone liked it.

Alas, no yacht was involved. But I like to think this was only because Indianapolis is land-locked.