Friday, August 25, 2006

Letter from NYC (from, um, ten years ago...)

Earlier this summer I read this article in The Village Voice about a site called The Silence of the City. That site is a project of an NYC writer and editor named Mac Montandon, and basically it publishes stories that were written for the Talk of the Town section of the New Yorker, but ultimately were not published there. I loved this idea and went to the site, read the pieces, had a great time.

Quickly enough, my thoughts turned to ... me!

I had a moment, in the mid-1990s, of trying to get into the Talk of the Town section. I actually succeeded on one occasion, and I thought I had made it. Of course, I hadn't, and all my subsequent attempts to get anywhere in that section, or any section, of the magazine, fizzled. There was one piece in particular that I spent a lot of time on, and that seemed so right for the section, to me. Of course, that was the piece that was not only not published, but was basically the end of my "relationship" with the magazine: The relevant editor simply stopped returning my calls. I got the message: Rejected!

It just so happens I still have that piece in my hard drive ... so I sent it to Montandon. And he published it! It's all about a night club singer in a Russian night club in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. I won't say I'm proud of it, but I couldn't be happier that it has, finally, found a home, a mere decade after the fact. At the moment it's the second item on The Silence of the City, "Nighclubbing: A Big Starr In Little Odessa." But you should check out as many of the pieces on the site as you can. It's all really cool stuff. My hat is off to Montandon...

Update (August 26): Montandon talked about the site earlier this week on Leonard Lopate's show on WNYC; you can listen to it here. Lopate's other guest in the segment is Jon Friedman, host of The Rejection Show, which I wasn't familiar with but sounds pretty interesting. As I understand it, The Rejection Show has been done live at Mo Pitkins (site of the one and only New York City reading in support of Letters from New Orleans, as I'm sure you'll recall) on Tuesday nights, but will next appear at the Spiegeltent in New York (I guess check the show's site if you want updates or details on that). The Lopate segment is quite thoughtful, and recommended.