Lights, camera . . .


In May I wrote about author Jonathan Lethem and his unusual approach to selling the film rights to his novel, “You Don’t Love me Yet.” He invited submissions from all comers and said he would pick the proposal that struck him as being best big-screen adaptation of his prose.


I followed up today and learned that Lethem has awarded the project to Los Angeles film maker Greg Marcks whose credits include “11:14” a dark comedy about five suburbanites whose lives become entwined by an accident.


This idea of staging a conceptual shootout for the film right is part of what Lethem calls The Promiscuous Materials Project. I don’t have any other details and, meaning no disrespect to either artist, what I find most interesting about the project is its methodology. Dramatic fiction is a tough sell in print or on screen. I’ll try to track this particular bit of promiscuity from time to time to see whether this is a tactic to help niche creators find their audiences.


Calling all authors: Continuing on this theme of new ways to get one’s creative works produced, MediaPost reports that Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint will publish the first and second-placed winners in a book-writing contest that drew 2,676 manuscripts. According to MediaPost’s Emily Burg:


“Winner Terry Shaw’s novel, The Way Life Should Be, and runner-up Geoffrey Edwards’ novel, Fire Bell in the Night, will both be published in September.

The contest was sponsored by An article by Boston Globe reporter Robert Weisman describes this Massachusetts startup as:


“a kind of eBay for online writers and their readers — a gathering spot for musings and discussions on everything from wine and computers to fitness and spirituality”

Is it too late to add a postscript to yesterday’s “Bloggers are furious” entry in which I suggested that the hierarchy of talent in writing is not one’s position but one’s prose. I had wanted to add a thought that I picked up from Tina (Parental Wisdom) Nocera who wrote a blog entry titled “Do you want your child to be a plumber or a philosopher.” It contains this quotation from author John Gardner:

“An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society, which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor theories will hold water.”

To extend this to the blogger vs reporter debate, the society that disdains the possibility of philosophy arising from the exception plumber could miss a fresh voice. That, I think, is the genius of the new media in allowing the unexpected voice to be heard.

On the flip side, however, I understand the annoyance of paid writers with what I consider to be the fawning expectation of crowdsourcing afficionados that aggregating a sufficient number of plumbers will give rise to philosophy.