Friday, June 01, 2007

Flea Bath Time (Instead of going to BookExpo)

(NOTE: News services with dead space will paw through blog entries for catchy, zippy, and darn swell headlines. Once inside the blogsphere, they read the appended article in the hope the writer has not blown his or her creative output on the headline. The good stuff is grabbed and splattered everywhere. From now on, this blog plans to sport inflammatory titles like a spiked collar on a Pomeranian. Forewarned is forewarned; forearms are near the elbow.)

THE DOG has shown its true nature and won the gold medal for Writing/Publishing at the 11th Annual 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY). Other books in the running never had a chance. Publisher Cynthia Frank took home the gold on Friday, June 1, in New York at “Books Off-Broadway: A Celebration of Excellence in Independent Publishing.” She went without asking me who I wanted to thank. As long as she dressed well, showed up on time, and was gracious to all concerned, I’m fine. Better her than me since the event was held at Providence on West 57th Street, in the downstairs Triumph Room. The club started out as the Manhattan Baptist Church in the 1920s until somebody with big ears noticed the acoustics. Faith-based real estate was replaced with Media Sound Studios in the 1960s, and why I stayed away. Going to a location responsible for atrocious albums like Van McCoy’s Disco Baby, not one but five by Barry Manilow, and Peter Frampton’s Breaking All the Rules is an affront to the sensitive ears of THE DOG. The studio went bust in the 1990s and the building changed to Le Bar Bat until its current fresh coat of paint known as Providence. Some sins should never be forgotten or forgiven. Disco Baby is one of them.

Many thanks to the Independent Publisher for recognizing THE DOG, the one with the waggely tail. We’ll have refreshing adult beverages together at the show in Los Angeles next year.


THE DOG WALKED DOWN THE STREET is packed with pungent comments on writing and being a writer. Sal Glynn uses humor to deliver the simple truths every writer needs to know. His book is both a reference of good practices, and a comfort for those times when writers struggle. I recommend it to every writer I meet. Wherever I go I make sure to have two books with me, Sal’s and Strunk and White.
—Marvin Mitchell, president of Northwest Association of Book Publishers and publisher of Beachwalker Press

Sal Glynn abandoned his job as an editor working within the confines of publishing houses to become, in his words, a book midwife, assisting writers directly and intimately with birthing their works. In this slim volume, Glynn provides concise, friendly, and practical tips on writing and publishing, with many funny references throughout. He concludes with an annotated bibliography of useful books on reading, writing, and publishing. Not indexed.
— Reference & Research Book News, February 2007

JAN CAMPBELL, 1952–2005

In the early 1970s, the Vanguard Bookstore on Granville Street was where anyone in Vancouver serious about Left politics gathered. The narrow hallway behind the store opened to a large lecture hall, kitchen, and offices. Loud, beery, all night sessions silk-screening picket signs and posters announcing the next antiwar rally were common. The ink-slopped Gestetner machine cranked out leaflets in favor of legal abortion and against nuclear testing.

The word ruled and two 50-cup coffee urns percolated the damp out of our bones. We fed each other, screwed around when time permitted, and talked big issues to exhaustion. These were good times. Queen Elizabeth planned a visit to the city at the cost of one million dollars a day while one out of every ten Canadian under age twenty-one lived below the poverty level. We made banners and greeted her motorcade with “THE QUEEN’S TOUR MAKES US PUKE!” Royal Canadian Mounted Police waited for a reason to stomp us, except we were well mannered even if our banner was not. A student radical newspaper out of Toronto asked me to contribute an article about the rabble-rousing. With soft pencil, I scribbled out a couple of pages laden with rhetoric, bad grammar, faulty judgments, and general stupidity.

Jan Campbell was a student, either at the Vancouver School of Art or Vancouver City College. She read the draft and fiddled with the frames of her eyeglasses. “This needs a little work,” she said. We commandeered a desk and cups of coffee, and started goofing toward legibility. Jan crossed out the teenage effluence and activated the passive sentences with cheerful patience. Never did she slam the writing, only show how gracefully the words could be strung together.

When I came to the end of the manuscript for THE DOG, I dedicated the book to her: “A wave of the blue pencil goes to Jan Campbell, who introduced me to the editor’s way....” I last saw her at a publication party for VANCOUVER SHORT STORIES before moving to California and she was still Jan, enjoying herself in the crowd. Where was she now? I tracked down friends and set them off looking for her. She had married and moved to Calgary had one report, but no address or telephone number. Finally, news came in last week: Jan had passed away from cancer. Good-bye, Jan. Thanks for sharing your smarts, back in the old days when we were young.

NEXT: Curs and Curses



Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

Wow. I'm so sorry about Jan but what a wonderful tribute to her. I imagine she is smiling down, or up, or... maybe she's just smiling. Wherever that may be.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Sal Glynn said...

Thanks, GGC. I'll go for the non-demonational middle, full of good folks guiding those of us lost on earth.

10:19 AM  

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