Matthew West

April 17, 1999

Post #828 – 19990417

Captain, our Captain. Found this web site and got irrational. Had to write too quickly. Hadn’t gathered my thoughts. Dangerous. What I did was make this big mistake. I decided I would go through the archives page by page and make sure my questions or comments hadn’t already been addressed. That took a long time, and it turns out not to matter, because I’m still gonna say the same stuff. One quick thing: Daniel Feldman, if you’re out there, write me at the above address. That said: The cover on the recent Lizard Music sucks. So I’ve got a solution for all of those out there who agree and want to lend your books out but don’t want to taint any early impressions: Put a big, fat piece of duct tape over the cover, and write the title in big black permanent marker. This will also make the book last longer. Captain, your illustrations are half the fun–they go with the content. Strange concept for some, I guess. Next, I should make it known that my friends and I took a couple of your books a little too seriously, and did some Snarking of our own. Word of advice to young readers who would like to try it out–don’t get caught by your parents. I got grounded for a month. It was really a drag. Why is WORMS underrated? What’s to be underrated? I loved that book. Who were the underraters, and where can I find them? Finally, and I promise this is the last word–at least for a few days…I have a proposal for you, Captain Pinkwater: I now own a coffeehouse in Central Arkansas. I am proud of the establishment. I would like you and your wife to come and fill my chairs as you prepare your future works. Perhaps this would be a draw to these southerners who do not, for one reason or another, understand the concept of a coffeehouse. Which is, of course, to sit, read, fellowship, buzzzzz. In return, I will give you free coffee, cheesecake, and encouragement. What more do you want. Negotiations are open. When’s that next compilation coming out? Get with it, or there may be some trouble ahead. That may or may not be connected with the illuminati.

Daniel replies:

I have pretty much given up trying to control what they put on covers of paperbacks. They have ways of their own, and are proud of being stupid. Starting to wear me down. Nowadays, when confronted with the tools of my trade, I'm most often beset by recollections of the various indignities, scams, insults, goofs, and vandalisms worked by publishers, and become dispirited, and leave the house, go walking with the dog. I received the contract for that next anthology. It bore no resemblance to what I had discussed with them, much less money, inapposite clauses, that sort of thing. I marked it up good, and sent it back. If the publisher follows form, a brand-new, equally irrelevant contract will come in a couple of months. The day comes when an author asks himself, ""Given that I can make a nice living rolling drunks in Poughkeepsie, NY--and given that the people one deals with in the publishing business are so hopeless--wouldn't it make sense to try something radically different?"" Please stand by for information along these lines. I'll need directions to that coffee house.