Again, the National Book Awards

During the past two days, there have been sparse entries on these pages. There are reasons for this: a few deadlines met, a few interviews conducted (one very journalistic, the other involving two people with funny brains approaching strange nexuses, or, nexii, as the interviewee playfully insisted on), some quiet stabs at the enormous humanistic thing that I am trying to finish before January 20th, and serious and constructive thinking about this website’s future aligned with the dawning reality that newspapers and magazines are dying, as jobs also fall off the board. I do not know if one can be simultaneously optimistic and grim, and I can report nothing in the way of mood swings here. If I had to choose one, it would be the former. But I have long claimed to be an optimistic realist — someone who maintains a basic faith in the overall goodness of people, while likewise being very well aware of our darkest impulses. And perhaps this yin-yang nestling in my head has caused me to be slower when it comes to some responses, while quick on the draw as ever with others. For this, I apologize. I shall try and be better.

If this ruminative dilemma has spawned a modest slowdown here, well, then I’ll certainly be making up for it on Wednesday night (wow, tonight?), where I shall be dutifully reporting from the press section at the National Book Awards, sticking my tongue out should journalistic nemeses bug me, and giving you something close to the strange and improvised coverage that was provided here last year. My laptop has grown rattier and I have deliberately maintained a small cake of dust upon the screen to distinguish myself from my flashier colleagues. There will be blog entries, tweets, and podcasts. And I will do my best to hook literary people together. I have no idea what will come of these experiments, but I am committed to fun. The mad rush of National Book Awards reporting should begin sometime around 6:00 PM EST.

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