A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick, Amazon, Authors United, Brooklyn Book Festival, catherine kirkpatrick, catherinekirkpatrick.org, Doug Preston, Friends of Authors United, Hachette, Meryl Meisler, Photospire.org
It’s been a very bookish year. In the spring, Meryl Meisler came calling. First I was asked to edit a piece for her book A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick. Then I was asked to contribute the introduction, then edit another piece. There was a quick turnaround for Meryl and everyone involved (including yours truly). Everyone was so busy churning stuff out they didn’t have time to think about what it all meant.
Her show of these historic Bushwick/disco images opened at the Black Box Gallery during Bushwick Open Studios 2014. There were parties, celebrations and fun, then the media storm hit. There were articles in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Oui Magazine (I think that one’s a little racy), and The New Yorker (more sedate), where yours truly was quoted. I also had the privilege of writing about her for the Arts in Bushwick blog.
In September we participated in the Brooklyn Book Festival, Meryl as herself, me with my newly formed org, the New York Book Society. We had a great day (it didn’t rain), made new friends and contacts, and got high on the fumes of literature and culture. It was fun. The thing that impressed me most were the independents: individual poets, authors, small presses and enterprises that represent literature and books. Very refreshing, what America is all about.
I also support the efforts of Authors United, the group of 1,000 plus writers that has banded together to protest Amazon’s tactics of sanctioning individual authors in their price dispute with publisher Hachette. No one is going to roll back the digital onslaught (thank God, because I am a digital girl), but many people would like to see the collisions handled in a kinder, better way, especially in the field of books. Books are special. They are the key to education, learning and self-improvement. They uplift and console us; they make us who we are–as individuals, as a species.
So if you are in favor of a diverse book environment, please follow us on Twitter at FansAuthUnited, or like us on Facebook (okay, I need to update) or trace the thread of the story at FriendsOfAuthorsUnited.org (has links to various stories, and yes, needs to be updated too).
Till we chat again, happy reading! Because books count.