Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I goofed up

Editor's Note: I wrote a feature article on local author Gwyn Weger, which ran in the July 19 Leisure section and which you can read here. I made a bone head mistake and misspelled the author's name in the article. Shame on me.

The reader was right to let me have it for that mistake. I stand by the rest of my article.

Dear Marc,
After reading both of your reviews in this Sunday’s paper (July 19th), you have motivated my usually behind-the-scenes rear end off the couch and into action. And no, congratulations to you are NOT in order.
Your “review” of fellow writer and friend Gwyn Weger’s novel is absolutely shameful. If you have any conscience at all, my suggestions to you are as follows:
a) Just pretend you didn’t do that review and get ready to do another one. A REAL one in the upcoming weeks.

b) How about actually READING the novel. Your blog site states right up front that “Marc Cabrera has nothing better to do than watch a lot of movies and television, and listen to a lot of music…”. And look, that’s great and you do excellent work on movies, tv, and music. A good example being your “Reason to Watch the Emmys” article extolling the show “30 Rock” also this Sunday.

c) But you obviously don’t read books (nor do you claim to), so why try to do a review? Being a writer, you should at least have some idea of how much time, energy, heart and soul it takes to write a book (think article times 1000+), so the least you could do is to try to maybe spend at least an hour or so reading at least SOME of it, then at least fake it – and here is the important part young man – by rendering an actual OPINION/REVIEW.

d) And my rule (and recommendation to you as well) is: if you actually invest your time and read it, you can say whatever you want as a critic. Skewer it, give it a medal, whatever. However, if you don’t read it, then you are restricted to only saying good things about it. Here is a suggestion for a rewrite/re-review from me, a person who has read stuff from Steinbeck to David Foster Wallace, and who actually read Weger’s novel and thought it was a great read that I would highly recommend:
"All I really wanted to do," she said, "was write an entertaining book." And that is exactly what she has done. “She” is local author Gwyn Weger. The book is called East Garrison. Not only was the book entertaining, an easy read, and hard to put down, but I found it almost impossible to believe that East Garrison is Weger’s first novel. Buy it, read it, spread the word.
A few Examples without giving away the plot (just like your 30 Rock article).
A paragraph or two about the author. No more. Skip the stupid nazi stuff for Christ’s sake (Would YOUR mother like to read something like that? Come on Dude).
End with a reiteration of “I loved it. Read it” or “Not worth your time”. In other words, an actual critique. Anyway, I think you get the idea….

And oh yeah one more thing MarK: how about spelling her name correctly this time might be a nice touch (you don’t like it either, do ya?) It’s GwYn. Not GwEn).
And lastly, by emailing this little love note only to you and not posting on your blog or writing a letter to the editor or anything intentionally publically humiliating or degrading like that, my intent is to express my anger and frustration to only you (at least at first) with the sincere hope that my note has the desired effect to NOT embarrass you, but rather to you know that people actually READ the stuff you write, that your articles actually do have an EFFECT on the artists you write about, and of consummate importance, to INSPIRE you to want to “make things right” by actually doing your job and actually reading Weger’s book and doing another REAL review.
(name withheld to protect reader's privacy)

1 comment:

G.M. Weger said...

Hello Marc,

I'm the author of "East Garrison." I've been dealing with my name being mis-spelled all my life. It's quite common, and, although it's a pet peeve of mine, I'm used to it by now. So, I hold no bad feelings for you about it.
However, like every other starving artist, I would have been thrilled with a mention of "East Garrison's" appeal to the Central Coast community, since it takes place entirely on former Army base Fort Ord, and weaves in the local history of the base, as well as numerous events that have taken place over the 14 years I've worked out at the Department of Defense. Also, I know many people who have appreciated and enjoyed my memorializing of Fort Ord, where millions of soldiers and their families passed through on their way to war. I also (in a perfect world) would have liked a mention of the many great reviews "East Garrison" has been getting. Maybe it would have prompted some people to pick up a copy, perhaps not. Everyone is struggling to survive these tough economic times, but artists are particularly suseptible to economic downturns and (especially today) independent writers need all the support they can get. That being said, I hope you will one day finish your copy of "East Garrison" and let me (and everyone else on your blog) know what you think about it, good or bad. My desire was to write an entertaining story relevant to our world. I welcome questions and comments. Please check out my website at www.gmweger.come for more information and upcoming events, and write to me at gmweger@gmweger.com.
I look forward to talking with you. BTW, Marc, thanks again for the feature. Best wishes and keep writing!. G.M. Weger
PS. I too have a blog linked to my website.