Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Norman Mailer and Ira Levin R.I.P., Van Hallen, Rachel Ray and Walt Disney

I took a brief family vacation to Disneyworld, where I managed not to work (wait - I did meet with a client for breakfast). We jammed four days of Disney into three overnights, so we were up at dawn to fly out and in at midnight when we came back. But I love it, and I am so glad that my teen-aged son still wants to go with his middle-aged mom.

It should be no surprise to my readers that my favorite Disney ride is The Haunted Mansion, but I do love Soarin' and Mission Mars (the kinder, gentler version). My son and I also stayed for a full showing of activities at The Adventurer's Club on Pleasure Island, and that was a hoot and a highlight.

In order to take one day off (I was gone for Veteran's Day, but that should be a holiday, so it doesn't count), I was working until about 10:00 the night before. I did four contracts that week and two major submissions (meaning getting 15 copies or more of a proposal out) as well as mailing out the week's checks.

Came back to another contract to review and the changes to two of the contracts I had reviewed last week.

I am hoping to close on four books, possibly five, before the Thanksgiving break.

I went to a Women in Publishing meeting on industry blogs last night, which was great. It's amazing how many people in this industry are sharing their wealth. Made me ask myself the question, "Why Do I Blog," which I'm hoping will be answered in my next post.

But then I had tix for the Van Halen concert, which was probably the best one I've seen this calendar year (and that includes The Police, Sprinsteen and Rush, who were all pretty awesome). Said hello to Rachel Ray, who was in front of us (and much cuter and tinier in person) - a New York moment (I keep on seeing Tony Bennett walking his poodle around Central Park too).

But, as you know, Ira Levin died today, which is a loss. He was a major horror/fantasy writer who really brought my favorite genre into the social zeitgeist. Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives and The Boys from Brazil were amazing social commentaries.

When I was in high school he also wrote his social science fiction novel, This Perfect Day, which I loved, but it appears no one else did, because it didn't even make it into his obituaries.

Norman Mailer died while I was in Orlando. He was a mainstay of my literary pantheon, always there with Updike, Vidal and Roth. I kind of think of them as my literary uncles.

But I was never particularly fond of him. I read The Naked and the Dead when I was in college, and was not old enough to be impressed by how young he was when he wrote it. Then I discovered feminism (or it discovered me) and I was so appalled by his essay on giving women oral sex as the answer to all the problems between the sexes (I'm sure you can google this), I just gave up on him. The Gary Gilmore years were interesting, but let's not forget that he stabbed one of six wives and got a murderer released from prison so he could kill again. He was colorful, but just not my favorite uncle.


Anonymous said...

Haunted House is my favorite, too. Did you see the story on Fox News about folks spreading the ashes of their dearly departed while on the ride? Couldn't make that up in a book.

Glad you're rested and back on your feet.

Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

I totally remember reading A Perfect Day when I was a kid, and loving it. You're not alone!

Stuart Neville said...

I traveled to the USA from Ireland to see Van Halen in New Jersey (MSG sold out before I could get a ticket). Eddie Van Halen threw a tantrum (and a large stage monitor) and gave a mediocre performane, but all reports say they were spectacular at MSG the other night. *Sigh* I should have been quicker on Ticketmaster. Having said that, the timing of the NJ show meant I was able to see The Police on their last night at MSG, and they were excellent, if a little clinical.

This is the first I've heard of Ira Levin's passing. I'm a huge fan of Rosemary's Baby which I feel is one of the very finest horror novels ever written. Very sad news.

Anonymous said...

"Updike, Vidal and Roth. I kind of think of them as my literary uncles."

Me too...and my literary Aunt is Ms. Tyler.

Travis Erwin said...

I liked this post, especially the details about your trip with your son. It is nice to be reminded agents are people with families just like msyelf, and not the evil dream killing monsters us struggling writers sometimes envision them to be.

Of course not all of us get to hob-nob with the likes of Rachel Ray and Tony Bennett. :)