Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Day 1

Call it Gonzo. Call it reality blogging. Call it whatever you want, but I'm introducing a new topic on the blog where you get to see my real life hustle to get a writing gig. The target: I absolutely love the writing on this site and it has been a dream of mine for the past umpteen months to contribute to their book section. So every few days/months, I'll update you on the job hunt. If this were basketball, it would be the equivalent of following a college senior through the bumps and bruises of trying to play professionally. This should be fun or depressing. Anyway, here's the first note I sent them...

Dear Mrs. Carstensen,

I’m writing because I would like to contribute to your literature section. As thorough as it is (Laura Miller’s last review of Pynchon’s Inherent Vice really left no stone unturned), I think it could be benefit from a minority writer. You guys have done a marvelous job of covering the big name contemporary authors of color, but I think there are more minority authors that your progressive audience would love to read about. For instance, I noticed that you have a very meticulous review of Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but no review of Edwidge Danticat’s Brother I’m Dying, which came out around the same time (and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award). I saw a terrific review of Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbor, (which I read with both delight and discouragement), but no review of Toni Morrison’s A Mercy. Those are the gaps I can fill.

Though my experience is nowhere as extensive as say an Andrew O’Hehir or Stephanie Zacharek, I have a few strong suits of my own. One, I am a voracious, eclectic reader. I read everything from Margaret Atwood to Zadie Smith. I’ve gone broke walking out of the Strand with a canvas bag of books (yesterday I bought the Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine among a slew of other goodies). Two, I got one of those Ivy League degrees that may or may not grant me some legitimacy. And three, I’ve written tons of book reviews for I'm such a fan of's writing that I've modeled my reviews after those Laura Miller's.

So, why not give me a shot? I recently wrote a review for Victor Lavalle’s new book Big Machine. It’s being doing well with the major press. It's a 1500 word review in the voice. I pasted the link to it. Whaddaya say? At best, you’ll have an even more thorough book section with a dedicated contributor. At the very least, you’ll have to write a short pink slip to the author of a mediocre review.

Please let me know what you think--even if it’s one or two sentences—so I know that this letter was not just fired into the response-less ether. Thanks for reading this and hope to hear from you soon!

Sidik Fofana

No comments:

Post a Comment