Dark Thoughts (Inspired by Announcement of “Five Under 35” Award from National Book Foundation)

Self has struggled more than half her life to “make it” as a writer, and now comes the announcement of the “next generation,” from the National Book Foundation.
Truly, the guy (Filipino) who told self in Berlin, three years ago, “If you haven’t made it by now, you’re never going to make it” was right (if only it had not taken self three years to realize full import. But, once again, I digress)

Well, self could say, I did have my first book out when I was 33.

Yeah, (voice in her head says) but what have you done since then? One other book and an anthology. Pathetic.

So, move aside, self! Without further ado, the next generation of under-35 writers, newly annointed by the National Book Foundation:

    Sana Krasikov
    One More Year: Stories
    (Spiegel & Grau, 2008)
    Selected by Francine Prose
    Nam Le
    The Boat
    (Knopf, 2008)
    Selected by Mary Gaitskill
    Fiona Maazel
    Last Last Chance
    (FSG, 2008)
    Selected by Jim Shepard

Why can’t they have a category for over-40 writers? Or over-50 writers? Or for writers who have made it to middle age without giving up? Surely writers in the last group deserve some kind of recognition for their dogged tenacity? How about something for writers who-are-soon-to-be-no-longer-with-us? Oops, self forgot. The latter category already exists: it’s the Nobel.

Self, what is up with you today? Can you not just quit your everlasting whining?

Here are some award categories self would like the National Book Foundation to consider:

Awards for Writers with the Most “Chutzpah” and/or Tenacity (for writers who have reached a certain age and are still writing, without benefit of encouragement from any publishers whatsoever)

Awards for Writers Most In Need of a Massage (for writers who have incurred carpal tunnel syndrome, back problems, and other disabilites incurred during selfless pursuit of their avocation)

Awards for Writers Who Took the Longest Time Between Their First and Second Books (Self believes she actually might have a crack at this one, for her gap was 14 years)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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