On this, the final day of 2012, allow us to draw your attention to what is—if memory serves—the most obnoxious letter to the editor of the New York Times Book Review of the entire year, conveniently published in yesterday's edition.
Let us first stipulate: authors have it hard enough already. They slave away for years on their book, which, when it is ultimately published, will likely reap them very little financial reward or fame. They must draw their pleasure from a sense of accomplishment, a mastery of their subject matter, a trickle of praise, and, perhaps, a chance to read their book aloud to appreciative listeners.
Ah, ah, ah—not so fast, authors.
To the Editor:
Congratulations to John Schwartz for discovering that there's an art to reading aloud ("Sound Check," Nov. 25). The discipline is called oral interpretation of literature and has been around since the middle of the last century. Oral interp is an art, one that requires study and practice. Writers are often the worst interpreters of their work because they think just saying the words is enough. Tina Fey tearing up at her own writing is not oral interp; it's emoting. As someone who has been in the field for over 30 years - as a student, competitor, coach, university lecturer, slam poet, speaker, author and performer - I beseech all writers who want to speak their words out loud to either learn the craft or, please, put a sock in it.
The writer has been a lecturer in public speaking at the University of Southern Maine for 20 years.
"Oral interp is an art *jack off motion*."
A slam poet is telling authors they can't read their own books out loud. A slam poet.
Allow us to... say, in the... style, of a... slam.. po-et, on be-half of all of the... be-lea-guered authors out there, that you, may.... orally interpret deez.
[NYT. Photo of Elizabeth Peavey: FB. Also: "Elizabeth Peavey has been a humor columnist since 1995. Her first regular column, 'Outta My Way,' ran in the Portland alternative weekly, Casco Bay Weekly until the paper's demise in 2001. After a two-year hiatus, she took up again with another column, 'Outta My Yard' (same carping, but from a suburban setting), for The Bollard, another Portland-based periodical." GTFO.]