We dropped in on our anon friends over at LROD this morning, reading the morning blogs over a cup of Joe, always interested in the latest rejection news, and followed a suggestion to an article by Bill Keller over at the New York Times Magazine, “Let’s Ban Books, or at Least Stop Writing Them,” about the time-consuming, low productivity, empty and worthless promise called writing a book. Bill knows, for in his position as executive editor at the Times, he’s seen many a sabbatical come back with sunburned hands holding a bellyflopped book. He even confesses he’s tried it twice, writing a book, both times coming up for air before finding the pearl, and he’s against the writing of any more books. Bill’s proposal is censorship fullproof: don’t ban books; ban the writing of books.
But these lazy cats at the Times are already writers, wallowing in ink and books, rich with paper and pens, we assume, expert at hammering out the text by deadline, so why do they need a sabbatical to write their boobook? Let them write it on their own time, like all us other hacks, for they’ve already a leg up on the process, not to mention free lunches with the agents, and twitters with the editors. That will separate the wheat from the chaff.
Yet a side benefit, though, should we adopt Bill’s idea to ban the writing of books, would be universal atonement for our guilt of not reading them.