I’ve been getting a number of emails about BEA. And by “number,” let’s just say that it’s not a big number. In fact, the number is so small that I have been spending hours trying to rebuild my dwindling ego and pretend that the number is actually greater than it really is. Keith Gessen probably gets more emails on the subject of BEA than I do. And he’s in Russia right now. And goddammit, that makes me so mad. Why should Keith Gessen get more emails than I do? I mean, I’m spending a good deal of my time burning pictures of Keith Gessen that I download on the Internet. Particularly the ones of him in which the top button or two of his shirt has been unbuttoned. He has replaced Steve Almond as my primary subject of hate. So fuck you, Keith Gessen. And fuck you, New York Post. (It seems to me that I should likewise throw a random newspaper into my sad mix of enmity and self-loathing. And, well, why not The New York Post? I will cut it out of my life from now on. It’s the only way to be sure.)
Before I tell you what my decision is about BEA, let’s talk about the world. After all, the world revolves around me — and by “world,” I’m talking about an extremely small part of the literary world, and by “literary world,” well, let’s just say that half of half of half of half of one percent of anybody who has had the good fortune to shake my hand in the past six hours really cares about any of this. But it is a world nonetheless. And it is an ego that must be groomed, trimmed, and otherwise packed into a precious valise.
But in thinking about the emails that are coming in and in thinking about how this relates to the solipsistic world I live in, it’s permitted me to think about the possibility of whether or not I might be attending BEA.
Let us establish my credentials: I have taken in every BEA that has ever happened like blow snorted off the top of a Hollywood hooker’s sternum. When it comes to BEA, there can be no better expert than me on how to attend, report, and take meetings. I am the BEA Master. There will be an area of the exhibition floor named after me. That is how much I matter.
But I am not so sure I can be coaxed to make a decision until BEA actually happens. Let’s just say that I welcome speculation on whether I will or will not be at BEA from anyone who cares to send speculations.
P.S. Please buy my paperback.
P.P.S. For something far less egotistical and commercial-oriented, consider the Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Boys.
[UPDATE: In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the narcissism being satirized in this post belongs to Mark Sarvas, not me. But to set the matter straight, I have added a 2009 introduction to the 2005 post I wrote about Steve Almond. Other than this preface, I have not altered that post or the comments in any way. Unlike Mark, I actually maintain history and I own up. I have also emailed an apology to Steve Almond.
To read all the boring sordid details, you can go to that post. I’ve learned, without even going out of my way to do so, that Mark has been meaner and snobbier to far more people in the publishing world than I could ever possibly desire to be spiteful to. (And I fully admit that I’m not always the easiest guy.) But, boy, was I wrong about Mark big time.]