I got a little nostalgic yesterday and I blame it on two things: The New York Times and my impending milestone birthday.
It's an old story, buffed and polished for the internet. Shunned by the establishment, these younsters started their own literary gig. Marcel Proust did it once, and so did Queen Christina of Sweden, The Bluestockings got their thing going, and these ruffians did, too.
Yours truly has fond memories of following this same bliss. Back in the prehistoric year that was 1998, I helped get this going concern off the ground.
On April Fool's Day that year, Victoria Sutherland, Anne Stanton, and I plotted to launch a book review magazine to give independently published books their due. It still amazes me that I was standing at the top of the escalator at BookExpo America in Chicago just two months later, eager in my new lime green suit to hand out copies of our first issue of ForeWord to the rising throngs. And boy, did they take them! And read them! And visit our booth to subscribe! We had launched!
Then, some spoil sport called security.
Apparently even back in 1998, you couldn't occupy such high dollar real estate for free. No, the book fair had a protocol for guerilla marketing like this and said protocol involved a fee for exhibitors who greeted attendees with swag. And no quarter was given for high brow literary swag, either.
But no matter. Even two of McCormick Place's thuggish rent-a-cops couldn't wipe the triumph off our faces that fine day.
Tomorrow I turn 50. And you know what? I've still got that lime suit.
What's your gig?