I check my email about every five seconds these days. This query/submission process is rougher than waiting for someone to ask you to the prom.
While I’m waiting, I’m trying to get my head in the game. I have a couple of other books out to some of the most wondrous beta readers in the universe, and I’m just beginning a new project. I have a hard time holding lots of stuff in my head at once without mooshing it together, so my post for this week is a little different.
I recently acquired a secondhand copy of a vicious little book titled Fighting Words: Writers Lambast Other Writers, from Aristotle to Anne Rice. As I put my work out in the Big Scary World to face criticism and rejection, this book is especially darkly funny to me. So as not to be selfish, I now share with you, in the spirit of the “Top Ten” lists I grew up with, this
TOP TEN LIST OF INSULTS BY WRITERS ABOUT OTHER WRITERS
10) That’s not writing–that’s typing.–Truman Capote, on Jack Kerouac
9) Reading him is like wading through glue.–Alfred, Lord Tennyson, on Ben Jonson
8) I can’t read ten pages of [John] Steinbeck without throwing up.–James Gould Cozzens
7) He leads his readers to the latrine and locks them in.–Oscar Wilde, on George Moore
6) As a work of art it has the same status as a long conversation between two not very bright drunks.–Clive James, on Judith Krantz’s Princess Daisy
5) [James Fenimore] Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.–Mark Twain
4) As a writer he has mastered everything except language.–Oscar Wilde, on George Meredith
3) If it were thought that anything I wrote was influenced by Robert Frost, I would take that particular work of mine, shred it, and flush it down the toilet, hoping not to clog the pipes.–James Dickey
2) He writes like a Pakistani who has learned English when he was twelve years old in order to become a chartered accountant.–John Osborne, on George Bernard Shaw
and my personal favorite……….
1) The more I read him, the less I wonder that they poisoned him.–Thomas Babington Macaulay, on Socrates
Bonus!!! It’s not exactly a pithy zinger, but you can’t beat it for overall condescending vehemence:
Such writing is a sort of mental masturbation–he is always f-gg-g his Imagination. I don’t mean he is indecent, but viciously soliciting his own ideas into a state, which is neither poetry nor any thing else but a Bedlam vision produced by raw pork and opium.–Lord Byron, on John Keats
Does anybody else have a favorite literary insult?