August 10th, 2006

Crazed and Unlikable




In a small village like Forio, the tourists are easy to spot. Some are more attractive than others, especially in the late-afternoon sun.

Anyway, on another topic, while I was in New York last May I sent the printed manuscript of MEMORIA NERA to a top New York literary agency. I waited patiently for three months, then the other day I sent a polite email asking them if they had come to any decision. A sophisticated agent with a stable of successful authors replied, “I don't believe we ever received your manuscript…”

My attention fastened on his phrase “I don’t believe.” I took it to mean that he was calling me a liar. Smoke and flames spewed from my flared nostrils. I saw red. I hastily sent him a screen shot of the UPS tracking site that showed delivery of the package to Inkwell Management's "SHUEL" at "RECEPTION" on 05/09/2006 at 9:31 A.M. The agent immediately offered to reimburse me for the return postage I claimed I had enclosed. “That’s not necessary,” I replied, “now that you have sufficient proof I am not a liar.”

This morning, in the cool light of reason, I see the agent’s comment was hardly the attack on my honor as I had first thought. He meant only that nobody at Inkwell had seen the manuscript. He had not called me a liar. I just took it that way.

I recall a comment of my favorite ex wife, Elizabeth, which made an impression on me. She referred to one of my extended angry rants as part of “The tyranny of the easily offended.”

Note to self: NEVER reply to anyone in a state of anger. You risk making yourself look even more crazed and unlikable than you already are.