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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Spiers’

Well, I See By the Clock on the Wall…

Routine is a funny thing, especially on a professional level. It forces you to get up early every morning, perform a specific set of work-related tricks until the day is done, and then it’s time to get up early the next day and repeat the same process. For two years, routine has been my fall-back as I scoured for the best, relevant and occasionally bizarre bits of publishing-related news and commentary to share with GalleyCat readers.

After today, that routine will no longer exist. This is my last day here, after which Ron will take the site over as a solo act for the foreseeable future. Instead I’m creating a new routine, or perhaps an anti-routine: one with more freelance opportunities and larger projects to work on. One where I can spend more time on neglected matters: fiction-writing, my own crime fiction-centric site, or making some use of that forensic science degree after all. One with equal parts possibility and uncertainty. As to why now, the Jewish New Year – which begins tonight – probably has a lot to do with it. New Year, new beginnings, that sort of thing.

In other words: after two years, thousands of posts, scores of parties and readership that’s more than quadrupled since Ron and I took over GalleyCat in October 2005, it’s time to see what’s out there beyond the publishing industry’s idiosyncratic, mercurial and fascinating borders. I’m thrilled and scared, but risk has that effect on a person. And sad, too, because I’m going to miss so much here. When I first started, I had an amateur’s fascination with publishing. Now there’s more, but also so much I’ve still yet to learn. So most of all, thank you for being here as I tried to understand the way things work, from mergers & acquisitions (HM/Harcourt, Wottakar’s and Hachette/Time Warner Books, here’s looking at you) and bankruptcies (AMS/PGW) to more scandal-ridden fare (really, if not for James Frey, J.T. Leroy, Kaavya Viswanathan, and especially OJ and Judith Regan, there would be no GalleyCat in its current format.)

Thanks also to Elizabeth Spiers for the initial chance; Aileen Gallagher, Dorian Benkoil and Dylan Stableford for editorial support in the early innings and Rebecca Fox, Noah Davis and Chris Ariens for the same, late-in-the-game; Laurel Touby for continuing to push for breaking news and original content; my fellow bloggers-in-arms, departed and still current; and Ron, for being Adolph Green to my Betty Comden (even if I’m breaking up the act a lot sooner than they did.)

And while we’re on the team theme, had I been more tech-savvy there would have been a YouTube clip of my favorite childhood comedy duo delivering the goodbye song I reference in the subject header to open this post. But I’m not, so instead I’ll quote from the last lines:

Adieu, mon vieux, a la prochaine, goodbye till when we meet again!

Some sunny day, I suspect.

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Scene @ Granta Young Novelists Party

grantaparty.jpgTypically, relying on a cameraphone to convey the joie de vivre at Cafe Loup last night after nine of Granta‘s Best Young American Novelists read and spoke about their work at the New School‘s Tishman Auditorium leads to blurry, non-specific photographs like the one to the left. But even if the persons captured are hard to identify (Nell Freudenberger‘s in the center, that’s about all who is recognizable) those who attended both reading and afterparty generally had themselves a good time. I got to the reading on the late side, missing out on readings by Gary Shteyngart (whose oratory skills convinced at least one reader to pick up a copy of ABSURDISTAN), Olga Grushin, Akhil Sharma and Daniel Alarcon – handpicked by Ian Jack and Matt Weiland to read on the alleged grounds that they wrote non-American settings, or were born outside of America, depending on whom was asked (when I asked Jack and Weiland about it, each deferred to the other, which was actually pretty funny.)

The other five – Freudenberger, Jess Row, John Wray, Uzodinma Iweala and Gabe Hudson – didn’t read but took questions from the audience. One that elicited the most amusing answers was the old standby “why do you write?” Because, evidently, that’s all they can do or, as Shteyngart and Wray explained, they had been fired from any other job each tried.

An early beeline to Cafe Loup along with Lizzie Skurnick, Kathy Daneman and Rachel Grady (co-director of JESUS CAMP) meant exchanging greetings with Kate Lee, Elizabeth Spiers and Sloane Crosley, who were having dinner with Whit Stillman. (I also thought I spotted Ian Spiegelman at the far end of the table.)

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