Psssst. United States of America. You are starting to rub me the wrong way.
Seriously. I gotta worry about that irrelevant nutcase Ted Nugent offing the President (because what’s more American than wanting to kill its legitimately elected leader). Then, I hear about the great “fiction snub” of the Pulitzer Prizes for this year.
I should have gone back to bed when Simon took a poop in the shower at 8:00 a.m. (Wish I was just adding that for effect; I’m not, it actually happened.)
No Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year. I heard the news yesterday on the radio, but naturally assumed I had mis-heard that there were NO prizes for fiction awarded. That’s impossible, I thought, as I swerved to avoid hitting a bicyclist without a helmet. I don’t live in a country that would withhold a national honor from writers and the public. I dismissed it as my bad hearing, a result of listening to Cypress Hill too loudly on my iPod.
Nope. I was wrong and my hearing is still in tact. Whoever is on the panel that decides such things declined (for the 11th time since 1917) to award a winner in fiction. And I am pissed. Because even though I was battling post-partum depression and sore nipples for most of the year, I read some amazing books that deserve to be honored. (There were three finalists in line for the PP: Karen Russell’s Swamplandia, Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, and David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.)
More importantly, I want to live in a country that celebrates imaginative writing as much as it celebrates Angelina Jolie’s 6 kids (or is it 7)? Is it too much to ask that we spend a little time and space honoring story telling, one of the most ancient rituals of civilization? I am sorry, was Swamplandia not original enough for you? You panelists were so over stories about a decrepit theme park in the Everglades and a strange bird man rapist? God, if I had $100.00 for every time someone tried to tell me about her baby alligator. (Don’t know what I am talking about? GO READ THE BOOK.)
What about The Marriage Plot? Yes, the ending was a total phone-in, but until those last 5 pages, that was a great story about the landscape of American life. I admit it wasn’t as good as Middlesex, but shit, that book is a once in a lifetime achievement. If Tom Hanks can have 15 Oscars, then Jeffrey Eugenides can have at least 2 PPs.
For a brilliant OpEd on this bullshit, read my girl Annie P (Ann Patchett) here. (Her book, State of Wonder, would have been a fine addition to the PP legacy.)
Don’t try pulling the “no prize” card next year, when my four books are coming out, because if I don’t win, I want to at least have someone to
punch in the face hate for stealing my prize out from under me.