Comme il faut

Tasteful readers!  Many thanks to everyone who submitted Kafka porn contest entries!  Frankly I received a few that were maybe a teeny bit more literal than I had been expecting, but I believe this is what makes the internet great.  I am delighted to announce the winning entry, by Lydia Kiesling: “Kafka porn is snuff porn that you didn’t actually watch but got arrested for anyway.”  An honorable mention goes to Dimiter Kenarov, for “undressing a person only to find new and new layers of clothing underneath.”  Unfortunately, neither Kiesling nor Kenarov wants the grand prize (my bed), so they get book prizes and I’m trying to sell the bed on Craigslist; big thanks to Andrew Leland of the Believer for already purchasing my (and my intern’s) favorite red chair, as well as two lamps, an ottoman, a saucepan, a carpet steam-cleaner, some geranium-scented laundry detergent, and approximately eight pounds of rice.  Buon appetito, Mr. Leland!

In other exciting news from the C-plus-list, I recently got my first magazine story killed!  It was a searing personal memoir of my Kindle drunk-dialing problem, commissioned by O, the Oprah Magazine, a publication to which I will always be grateful for its support of The Possessed. Unfortunately, as Oprah herself will tell you, no relationship is 100% smooth sailing, and O and I just weren’t able to see eye-to-eye on my Kindle drunk-dialing problem.  As a result, I recently received my first kill fee: a strange experience, because you realize at a certain point that what they are saying to you is basically “Take the money, take the money—just don’t make us publish it!”  For this reason, when I read the invoice that said “KILL FEE/ DRUNKEN KINDLE,” a tiny part of me felt like I had extorted Oprah. It was a strange, not un-empowering feeling.


In further empowering news, I am honored and happy to report that the Guardian ran a version of the Kindle piece on Saturday, so  nobody has to suffer in suspense regarding my super-classy ebook habits.  Read it and weep!  I mean it—it’s all very sad.

Beloved Bay Area friends, readers, and colleagues!  Speaking of weeping, I’m leaving town on Saturday, and will subsequently be in Istanbul for a year or so.  I’m going to be deeply and sorrowfully immersed in liquidating my furniture for the rest of the week, but will be really happy to see anyone who can make it to Feminine Wiles at Litquake on Thursday.  I would also like to say how thrilled I was on Sunday to meet so many incredibly lively and interesting Bay Area women writers at the WOM-BA/ Middlebrook Salon, gallantly hosted by the JCCSF; big thanks to Marilyn Yalom, Ellen Sussmann, Barbara Lane, and the amazing Kate Moses, author of Cakewalk, an amazing memoir about unhappy families and cake.  Kate made something like four different amazing cakes for the occasion, from which I departed clutching an enormous slab of brown sugar poundcake, fully intending to share it with my loved ones, only instead I somehow ate it all in the car on the way home (is there perhaps an O story in this?).  I’m really looking forward to catching up with you all in 2011, and in the meantime you can always check in here to see if I’ve run out of money.

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4 Responses to “Comme il faut”

  1. Anne Hruska Says:

    There is a short story entitled “My First Kill Fee” waiting to be written.

  2. Erlend Says:

    Incidentally, I just drunk-purchased The Possesed (after reading several reviews first of course)

  3. Zach Carmichael Says:

    A devoted fan, I especially enjoyed your Kindle piece in the Guardian. Was the O version, despite its untimely death, longer or more awesome?

  4. Talia Lavin Says:

    I recall a vivid experience in which I got really, really high and walked into a bookstore. I walked out with approximately seven books cradled in my arms – a more immediate and also more physically burdening experience than a Kindle can afford. Among them was a book of 101 Fashion Terms and a history of the plow. Terrible.

    Thank you for your beautiful talks at Harvard yesterday! It was wonderful seeing one of my literary heroes in person! Keep writing beautiful things.

    A devoted fan,
    Talia Lavin

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