Chillin With Trillin
Anyway, Mr. Trillin's book---A Heckuva Job: Further Poems From The Bush Administration---is really wonderful, and during the question and answer section, I realized that this is a guy I've known about since forever. I made up my mind to be a humor writer in high school and I studied every existing essayist there was, right about the time that he published Uncivil Liberties. And yet, in the intervening years, I've read almost nothing else the man has written, except for occasional pieces in The New Yorker, and his collection Too Soon To Tell. (I've had Tepper Isn't Going Out---his sole novel---on my to-read list for years. A novel about parking! How can I resist such a high concept?) Mostly I've just spent the intervening years re-re-re-reading Ian Frazier, Woody Allen, and P.J. O'Rourke. I should have done more research before the interview. A quick scan of Amazon shows that he actually has no fewer than FIVE books of poetry to his name! I should have been a fan of his long ago!
In any event, he was very gracious, and when I handed him my small paper sheaf, he looked at it, smiled weakly and said, "What do you want me to do with this? I'll do anything but read it."
"Uh," I said, "It's just a gift. No one does light verse these days, and this is to thank you."
"You don't expect comments or ...?"
"Oh, no. Since no one actually publishes light verse, it would just be nice to share it with another writer who enjoys the same idiom." [Note: I just made myself sound more coherent than I actually was, since his comments were the opposite of what I'd expected. Mentally add hemmings, hawings, and a mumble or two. I really had to wing it.]
Anyway, I realized how much crap he must have to put up with on a tour---to have an "I won't read it" policy means he gets stuff shoved under his nose all the time---and it struck me again just how incredibly fucking hard it is to get noticed in this town, where everyone is shouting for attention of some sort or another. How will anyone ever know that I'm the real deal, that I'm better than Susie Housecoat and Johnny Punchclock, if I can't even arrest someone's attention long enough to get them to read a single page? Yeesh.
The trip took all of my after-work day, and now I have to crash, so on top of everything else, I don't even get the joy of being able to post a really cool entry today. Pah! Fortunately, things get easier starting tomorrow.
By the way, I was going to hand-deliver my cartoons to the New Yorker at lunch. That travesty-in-waiting will have to wait until next Tuesday. Tuesdays are the only days they see the cartoonists, and there's probably going to be fifty of those guys, too, all clamoring for attention. My head hurts just thinking about it. Maybe if I try hard enough tonight, I'll be able to generate a pleasant dream.