Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Cold, Clear

I'm writing this from one of the free e-mail terminals at the book fair for the MLA Convention in San Diego.

The book fair is always a source of both excitement and anxiety for people in my field.

Personally, I absolutely hate having to introduce myself, be forward, sell my wares. But I enjoy talking to editors a lot, so I try to make a pitch for myself by not making a pitch for myself.

There are more books in my field -- post-1945 American fiction -- than previously and more accessible books in it (and elsewhere).

I like to think that the work that the folks at Bad Subjects have done over the past decade has contributed ever so slightly to that trend. I may be deceiving myself, of course. But hours of conversation yesterday with Gideon have me feeling a little better about my own unorthodox approach to getting the knowledge out.

Apparently, he read almost everything I ever published on the internet as preparation for the trip.

It felt strange and strangely flattering. I immediately thought of Laura's recent entry about the problem with making aspects of one's life public.

Because I haven't tried very hard to mask what I feel to be my real feelings, I don't have much privacy left with someone like Gideon, even though I just met him for the first time yesterday afternoon.

Mind you, I don't regard that as a bad thing necessarily.

It's just that I sometimes have the feeling that I'm a character in a work of fiction, miraculously come to life. The fourth wall has been breached. I'm like the actor who steps off the screen in The Purple Rose of Cairo. And I'm worried that I'm not three-dimensional enough.

That's a fun postmodern dilemma, I suppose.

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