DEREK JETER AND JON KARP. KARP’S OFFICE AT SIMON & SCHUSTER. MID AFTERNOON.
KARP: What about Mattingly? Something along the lines of a history of hitting. Or maybe a how-to guide to hitting?
JETER SHAKES HIS HEAD
KARP: Why not?
JETER: Doesn’t feel right.
KARP: Too close to home?
JETER: Yankee thing.
KARP: Right, right. I see that.
KARP: What about Lee?
JETER: Still doesn’t feel right.
JETER: Baseball thing.
KARP: How do you mean?
JETER: Too obvious.
KARP: In what sense?
JETER: For the list I’m trying to build here.
KARP: Do I need to remind you that the first book we have under contract is “Derek Jeter’s Guide to Baseball.”
JETER: I know.
JETER: I’m thinking it’s a mistake.
KARP: A mistake?
JETER: But I’m willing honor that commitment because I don’t want to disappoint the kids.
KARP: Well that’s a relief.
JETER: Did you hear about that book by Hallberg?
KARP: Garth Risk Hallberg?
JETER NODS AGAIN
KARP: I was in that auction, Derek.
JETER: Well. See. Right there. That’s disappointing.
KARP: Disappointing in what sense?
JETER: You didn’t come to me.
KARP: Come to you?
KARP: Why would I come to you?
JETER GIVES KARP A LOOK.
JETER: The ambition of the book is what I’m talking about. That’s what people see in me. That’s what my list needs to be.
KARP: It’s a 900 page novel for chrissake.
JETER: I read it.
KARP: You read it?
JETER: Lamb sent me the manuscript on the QT. He knows how much I loved Harbach’s novel.
KARP (MOSTLY TO HIMSELF): I can’t believe we’re having this fucking conversation.
JETER: ’77 was a special year for me, Jon. I was 3. My mother took me into the city for the first time that summer and I remember the grit and the smell and the life of it. People came here to escape their circumstances, not to make a killing. It was before New York became a bright shining Bloombergian object. Hallberg captures that vitality better than any other novelist in memory.
KARP: I read the proposal, Derek.
JETER: And then there’s the symmetry of it all. Do you know how good we were in ’77? Guidry. Hunter. Munson. Dent. Rivers. Piniella. Chambliss. The World Series in six against the Dodgers.
KARP: We never had a conversation about fiction, Derek. We talked about sports books, lifestyle books, business books.
JETER: Jon. (PAUSE) I say this with a great deal of respect. (PAUSE) But that is a failure of your imagination. (PAUSE) Baseball is about narrative. Baseball is about story. And novels are what I want to publish. Forget the lifestyle and business crap. That’s for Workman and Portfolio. I want to produce a list that rivals Knopf and FSG.
KARP HAS HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS AND IS SLUMPED OVER IN HIS CHAIR.
JETER (LOOKING AROUND): Nice office, Jon.
JETER REMOVES A COPY OF SUSAN ORLEAN’S RIN TIN TIN FROM KARP’S BOOKSHELF
JETER: Here’s another one.
KARP: Another what?
JETER: Writer I’d like to publish.
KARP: Susan has a two-book contract with me.
JETER: I had dinner with her agent last night.
KARP: How do you know Richard?
JETER: We do colonic cleanses with Dr. Weil every year.
JETER: No need for that tone, Jon.
KARP: I’m not sure this is going to fly with Carolyn.
JETER: I’ll handle Carolyn.
KARP: And how do you aim to do that?
JETER: We’re going to discuss it tomorrow evening.
KARP: I don’t think so, Derek. (PAUSE. KARP SMILES) She’s attending the National Book Awards.
JETER: I know. I’m her date.
JETER TURNS, EXITS.
Tonight. Shaken, not stirred.
If you get up every morning and write, then you’re a writer. Publishing doesn’t make you a writer. That’s just commerce. — Joanna Rakoff Smith, “My Salinger Year” (fabulous book about publishing, due out in 2014)
My award-winning colleague, ready for her close-up. I work with STARS.
“Of course, all the hype about how connected you are has contributed to a counternarrative — that, in fact, your generation is increasingly disconnected from the things that matter. The arguments go something like this: Instead of spending time with friends, you spend it alone, collecting friend requests. Rather than savoring your food, you take pictures of it and post them on Facebook.
I want to encourage you to reject the cynics who say technology is flattening your experience of the world. …
Technology is just a tool. It’s a powerful tool, but it’s just a tool. Deep human connection is very different. It’s not a tool. It’s not a means to an end. It is the end — the purpose and the result of a meaningful life — and it will inspire the most amazing acts of love, generosity and humanity. …
I want you to connect because I believe it will inspire you to do something, to make a difference in the world. Humanity in the abstract will never inspire you in the same way as the human beings you meet. Poverty is not going to motivate you. But people will motivate you.” — Melinda Gates
This is the kind of commitment I’m talking about. #BadMonkey
"The woman beside her opened her purse and extracted a paperback, which she seemed to be handling rather reverently, like a missal. Nina was curious. The woman moved unsubtly away, taking her elbow off the common armrest.
Nina entertained the idea that the woman had sensed a core truth about her, which was that she always wanted to know what people were reading. I can’t help it, she thought. She always wanted to know. It had been embarrassing from time to time when people saw her craning around inappropriately to get a clue about what they were reading. It was just that knowing made her feel better. Somebody could be reading Mein Kampf. And she didn’t like people who covered the books they were reading in little homemade Kraft paper jackets. She couldn’t help taking that as a challenge, apparently. Definitely the woman was getting tense. But she might as well relax, because Nina already knew what she was reading. She had figured it out in a glance.” — Norman Rush, Subtle Bodies
“The power of the novel in the nation’s culture had weakened. It had happened gradually. It was something everyone recognized and ignored. All went on exactly as before, that was the beauty of it. The glory had faded out but fresh faces kept appearing, wanting to be part of it, to be in publishing which had retained a suggestion of elegance like a pair of beautiful, bone-shined shoes owned by a bankrupt man.” — James Salter, from “All That Is”
“The culture of food, then – how to grow and preserve it – needs to be safeguarded just as scrupulously as other achievements in learning and the arts. If we willfully discard it or even carelessly allow it to lapse between one generation and the next, then we lose something much more serious than a sheaf of recipes. A bit of civilization is lost, at the extreme transforming us from muscular, self-reliant citizens into feeble consumers. Eating home-canned goods is a modest but meaningful way to assert our self-reliance as citizens.”— Kevin West
LOVE THIS BOOK. YOU WILL TOO.