“Hey you, you frisky whippersnapper! You and your newfangled internet get off my lawn!”
—The New York Times Book Review
I don’t think the review the NYTBR gave my book was quite curmudgeony enough. Come on, NYTBR, Max Byrd? I was hoping you could get Andy Rooney to write up my novel.
Seriously, what a bizarrely ill-conceived match between book and reviewer. If this dude were a Pokémon, he would be a doddering dinosaur named Crustasaurus with a tattered American flag draped over his back. His special battle power would be halting progress.
Speaking of progress, I have been thrilled watching the events in Egypt unfold. I can’t remember anything this wonderful happening on the world stage since Berliners pickaxed their wall. I hope Europe in 1989 is a precedent for this; I hope this populist freedom movement roars across the entire Middle East. Let History move, and move well.
Meanwhile, my self-cloistering this week has yielded fruit. I finished a draft of my dog thing. Here is a brief sample from one of the non-Gothic parts:
Tom took the fence down. Bundled the posts and rolled up the wire into the back of his pickup. Asked me if there was anything else I needed. I said nothing I can think of yet.
Now the back deck opens up onto a big unobstructed rolling property, with lots of trees. The winter rains have made it all unbelievably green, the grass almost knee-high. When I threw wide the door, Sandy absolutely exploded out of it, moved faster than I’d ever seen her move. The way she runs around out there, I’ve never seen anyone or anything so goddamn happy. She barks: chase me chase me! I chase her around a bit, knock her over and she twists and writhes on her back in the grass. She is all joy and panting pink tongue. She gets up and runs a ways off and barks again, vibrating with the expectation that I should run after her. Where does she get all that energy? Maybe I should have gotten a more depressive breed, like a basset hound.
But no, it must be, she’s good for me.
See what I did to myself writing that? Now I want a doggie! Oh, and while I’m here making requests, I also want a T-shirt that reads, “the prudish reader may feel that no bodice on Rue [sic] Thérèse is safe from ripping–NYTBR.”
Sadly, women didn't wear bodices in 1928. Bummer, eh, Max?
Let me leave you with another in my series of marriage samples, which somehow manages to relate to both my encounter with the NYTBR and the Middle East:
– Me, feeling sorry for self: “The New York Times says I suck!”
– Husband, pointing out the obvious: “Well, The New York Times also said Saddam Hussein was capable of gassing North America with unmanned drones.”
– “Hmmm. Good point.”