Hello Yvette — you express your ideas with such elegance and precision. I agree regarding laziness as well — I believe that because I am so “nice” I seldom think to apply that term. Rather I think my mind goes to “inobservant” and “incurious.” But you’re much more correct.

They tell themselves that their product is what people want, then when (in the case of books) only a few people partake, they blame the customer. I have seen gross deterioration in the book industry in the past 10 years. Things were never great but there were shining lights of creativity here and there.

I also believe there is a dark undercurrent of vice which, when I was young, seems to have been promoted through association of non-vice-ridden work with being boring, irrelevant, childish, prudish or moralistic. By vice I mean paeans to addiction, from superhero tales with extreme cartoonish violence, to books that routinely begin with the discovery of murdered nude female bodies and minute explorations of various sexual obsessions like Philip Roth. The situation with storytelling has telescoped to the point where it’s almost unspeakable, how little expression of non-sick, non-twisted, nonwhite, nonmale experience and ideas is allowed.

If I look back at my art & literature degrees, I see so little of what was done in the past as being able to ‘succeed’ in the present. WW 1 poetry written by dead young white men would be unknown as there is no room for new poetry and no room for anti-war ideas.

It is as if all we see and are told is as promoted not just by a white man, but the worst, least-human of them.

Yesterday morning I got an ad from S & S for Bill Gates’ summer reading recommendations.

I was very naive and my nature is not to suspect or see the worst in others. For years I believed that these things were accidental. I even believed the assertion that the stuff was the way it was because “that’s what readers (or filmgoers)” want. With art it was more obvious as that is right in front of one’s face — that the contemporary art world was a clique which existed in its own bubble of at-best, weird quirkiness and at worst, debased abuse.

I was even angry with my own father when he, born a poor boy in Hell’s Kitchen, told me that my mother could never have made it as a fine artist.

It’s a miracle she did as much as she did.


According to Harlan Ellison and my grandmother, “You’ll go far Amy, because you have heart.” Author of 40 books, former exec., Nebula Award nominee, Poor.

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