Monday, December 30, 2013

Logrolling in My Time

Readers of a certain age (i.e. older) may recall Spy Magazine's pithy and satirical features and columns, specifically those with a focus on New York's crass 1980s cultural buffet of absurdity. Before I had even finished my first novel (which was published second), the Logrolling in our Time column stuck out for its deft exposure of cronyism in mainstream publishing. 

One author would write a praise-filled jacket blurb for a fellow author, and then, later on, that author would do the same for his/her colleague.

"See?" my frustrated twenty-something wannabe author self would mutter internally (and often externally). "That's why I'll never get a publishing deal!"

Actually, the reason was that my work at the time wasn't very good.  But it is true; logrolling, that is. One famous author offers a generous superlative, and readers and potential reviewers are then supposed to be impressed enough to like that book. 'Well, Famous Author #45 says it's good, so it must be.'

And so, books get sold, and trees get felled. At least that's what my naive self thought was the derivation of the term logrolling; the publication of books led to trees being sacrificed for authorial ambition.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


This is a photo of me with author David B. Feinberg at an ACT UP New York meeting at Cooper Union in 1990. Maybe it was 1991, or 1992. I don't remember. 

What I do remember is my desire to capture us together while the meeting took place in the historic East Village hall, where the AIDS activism group, having outgrown its weekly space at the LGBT Community Center in the West Village, continued to develop ideas for protests and information-gathering groups in the fight against the AIDS pandemic.

On that early evening, some thought in the back of my mind might have been, "He's going to die some day, and this photo, with the very interesting checkerboard tile pattern, may be one of our only documented moments together."