Lady Lazarus

Dear Andrew Foster Altschul,

Do you remember reading the opening of your new novel, Lady Lazarus, (pictured below) at the Sewanee Writers' Conference?

Do you remember how after you finished reading everybody was all "Ooh" and "Ahh" and telling you "Oh-my-god-that-was-so-brilliant" and asking "When is it coming out? Can I buy it right now?"

And then do you remember how I walked up to you and said, "Dude, seriously? That's the best you got?"

Well, Andrew Foster Altschul, I just want to say that I was only joking. I mean, if I'd really hated what you read (and I didn't, I swear. I mean, I loved every frickin second of it) I probably wouldn't have said anything at all. I would have just left the building, wiped my hands of you completely.

But I didn't hate it, Andrew. I just didn't want to be like everybody else (and by everybody else I mean the seventy or eighty people who were all super-stoked and standing around asking other people who were still in the auditorium, "Did you see that? Were you here for Andrew Foster Altschul's reading?" Like, duh. It was two minutes ago. You think I walked in here right after he finished?). I didn't want to be like the rest of those people, those Altschul-lovers. That's why I told you your reading was terrible. But, like I said, I didn't mean it at all.

And just to prove that I didn't mean it, and that really I was probably only jealous of you and the amazing opening to the novel you'd written, I want you to know that I just pre-ordered Lady Lazarus from Powell's. In fact, I ordered five copies, so that I can give one to my mom and one to my wife and the remaining two to strangers I pass in the street. Those strangers may think it's odd, my handing them a book, but what I'm going to tell them is, "Read this. Right now. Andrew Foster Altschul is a god."

I hope they don't freak out.

And I hope you'll forgive me, Andrew Foster Altschul.

Your (kinda, maybe) friend,
Chad S.

P.S. I think it's cool that Calliope Bird Morath, the protagonist of Lady Lazarus, has her own MySpace page. I'm going to send her a friend request right now.

P.P.S. I think it's cool, too, that you worked with Stephen Elliott on that new book that arrived at my house the other day, Where to Invade Next. I've been reading bits of it before I go to bed, and holy crap does it give me nightmares. You and Stephen and McSweeney's are all awesome.

P.P.P.S. I hope this whole post isn't funny to only, like, two people.


Donna said...

Well, it's funny to me. That's one.

I'm interested in this novel for the way in which it exemplifies what Henry Jenkins calls Convergence Culture, the way old media and new media mix, so that a novel refers back to a poem (which was convergence culture, I guess, in the 18th century) and forward to the web. Pretty neat.

And back in January you asked about readings for a Web 2.0 class. So there's one for you. Henry Jenkins.


Andrew Foster Altschul said...

Dear Chad,

What, only FIVE copies? After all that 'tude back in Sewanee? I don't know, dude. Maybe you DID hate it. Maybe you DID think, and I quote you, "Lady Lazarus sounds about as interesting as a Mitch Albom novel on quaaludes." I don't know, man - this other guy at Sewanee, this Matt Pitt fellow, he bought TWENTY FIVE copies. How about that?

And when you get arrested for assaulting strangers with a 500 page book, don't call me for bail, Chad! I'll be too busy working at McDonalds, since all the royalties I got off your purchase added up to, like, a pack of smokes. But that's cool - at least you didn't have to "be like everybody else."

Yours eternally,

P.S. Thanks, buddy. And congrats on the Sun - great publication. Can't wait to check it out.