Thursday, November 19, 2009


My martial arts career is still on hiatus, although I did finally get the chance to watch the Haye-Valuev match in full from my sickbed. With no martial arts gossip to report, I am forced to revert to publishing gossip.

So, back to Marquez. I was still struggling to take that in when Beth Gramsky walked in. I am changing her name, of course: New York is a town I would like to eat lunch in again.

I was surprised by her youth. My agent had described her as an editorial force majeure, but she didn’t look much older than twenty-five. She was a tall, cheekboney thing with a helmet of blonde highlights, very Viking.

She shook my hand and sat down at the conference table. Bracing herself on a stack of manuscripts, she leaned conspiratorially in my direction. “Great to meet you at last, Claire. I loved your book! I had to tell my assistant not to put any calls through when I was reading it!” She seemed like someone who really enjoyed having an assistant and lots of calls she was too busy to take.

“There’s really only one thing I’d ask you to change if we worked on this book together.”

I tried to look as though I lived for crappy advice. “Tell me,” I said.

“There’s not enough sex. It needs lots more sex. We have to see them doing it.”

“I see.” I imagined my grandmother reading the pornographic passages and shuddered, visibly. I hoped Beth would think I was just aroused. I wondered if they were saying the same thing to Márquez, down the hall. Not since my beloved Floridad Juvenal de la Concepción ran off with a young, proud telegraph operator from Aratacara had my patience been so sorely tried– We chatted a bit more; I told her she’d inspired me more than Tolstoy, shook her hand again, and left.

I called my agent as I walked down Park Avenue. I told her about Beth’s request for more sex.

“Yeah,” she sighed. “She’s been like that ever since she passed on Candace Bushnell.”

Beth Gramsky did not, by the way, buy my book.

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