Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Mighty West Coast

While tilling the patchy areas of the lawn today, I got to thinking about the ways that west-coast literature is underrepresented. It's no secret that what gets published is influenced by a number of factors; it's a lot more complicated than simply printing the best stories.

To be sure, the stereotype of west-coast excess has led people to dismiss the place. The Hollywood lifestyle and those damn shows "The OC" and "The Real Housewives of Orange County" have done a good job of showing the rest of the country how vacuous southern California can be. It can lead people to believe the only stories coming out of here involve sun-kissed debauchery. Except this isn't true.

But even if it were, Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis did a superb job of writing "literary," "heady" works about east-coast excess. So what gives?

(Parenthetical aside--thank God for ZYZZYVA.)

I talked about this a bit with Rick Moody while at New York. His response was that it's due to the agents and publishing houses being on the east coast. They privilege what they know.

Sadly, this seems true. I thought people read literature to discover new worlds. Maybe they just want a mirror.

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