Talking Field Exam Reading Lists + Agent Referrals with TC Boyle

Since he's my thesis adviser + also a former teacher of mine, TC Boyle told me to stop by his office soon after the recommendation snafu to talk about my Post WWII reading list for fields. I also wanted to talk to him about getting a referral to Sandra Dijkstra. Stop on by, he emailed. After teaching, that's exactly what I did, a slight spring in my step. Must be the sunshine.

1. Field Exams

When I walked into his office, the dude looked fucking exhausted.

I shook his hand + said:
You look fucking exhausted. I am, he said, leaning his head back.I saw you on Bill Maher's Real Time.Oh yeah?
I nodded.
Yeah, it's the only time I've seen you in a group of people where you're not talking the whole time.
We both laughed.
I don't like dealing with talking heads.
After chatting a little more, I handed him my proposed reading list for the field exam I'll be doing with him, post WWII literature. He read the list + nodded:
Well, this looks great.I'm not sure what critical connections I'll make yet, but once I've read 1/4 to 1/2 of them, I'm sure I'l see them.Well, I've read almost every book here.I haven't a read single book on that list. That's why I picked'em.
He looked up.
I thought it would be a perfect excuse to read a bunch of books I've always wanted to read but haven't.That's brilliant.

2. Sandra Dijkstra

Once we'd finished figuring out the details for my reading list, I paused, turned to Tom + said:
—So can we talk about Sandra Dijkstra?—Sure. It's time to get you an agent so you can get your books published. What's up?—Well, I'm still waiting to hear from the Irene Goodman Literary Agency but I'm getting antsy + I don't want to wait anymore, so I wondered whether you might give me a referral.—Of course. I told you I'd be happy to.I took a look at her client list + it's pretty rad.*Well, I already talked you up to her.—Awesome.—Okay, how about this? I'll write her a letter right now. When will you send her a manuscript?—Tomorrow.—Great. Okay, are you going to send her Ninjas?—I'm not sure. I kinda want her to take a look at BLANK before I send her Ninjas. But I haven't decided yet.—Okay, well, he said, pulling out a piece of SC stationery + scribbling a note to Sandra Dijkstra, I'll send this today, should get to her by tomorrow + you'll send your manuscript to her tomorrow + a short letter mentioning some of her clients you admire. . .—Okay, great.

I'm not sure what's going to happen with any of this + I haven't closed the door to the Irene Goodman Literary Agency at all, but a little competition won't hurt anyone. Besides, from reading literary agent blogs, I get the very strong impression that agents are naturally fierce with each other + accept competition because they have to (it's part of the industry), even embracing it sometimes. So we'll see what happens. Even so, I'm flattered that Tom actually talked me up to such a big agent. That shit is flattering.

Now, back to The Ninjas of My Greater Self

*Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Lisa See, Susan Faludi, Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan