‘Behold the Void’, ‘Sacculina’ get nods in the New York Times Book Review (6/4/17)


June 4, 2017 by Philip Fracassi


I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a big deal.

I know, I know. Be cool. But look, I’ve only been in the genre game a little over a year now, and the reality is I’m an unknown writer on an indy publisher – and guys like us just don’t get written about in places like The New York Times.

Writers like myself (new to the scene, still cutting our teeth, etc.)… we desire everything – success, praise, awards – but feel we deserve nothing. Praise is an uncomfortable blanket on a cold night. Awards should be etched with: “Yeah, but what have you done for me lately?” on their plaques so when we look at them a year on we feel that familiar anxiety more than pride. Success is more a primal need than black accounting. Success is the wrong word to use really. Validation is more spot-on. Still…

To be mentioned in The New York Times – yeah, it feels great. So does winning the lottery. Like the lottery, it also feels somewhat undeserved. A battering of invisible positivity protons hammering through my writer’s mind but leaving no trace of accomplishment behind. I do an internal search for the positivity, the validation, but find only determination (read: pressure) to continue the Work, to continue to write, to create, to double-down on the donut production because there are mouths to feed, hopefully more than there were yesterday. I can’t worry about who I’ll be feeding tomorrow. Maybe someone, maybe no one. But that’s out of my control, and always will be.

Am I honored? Of course. Is it a bucket-lister? Definitely. An undreamed of checkbox filled. Will it help? To be seen. More than anything I’m humbled. More than that even, grateful. Grateful to the writing community for keeping my chin up. Grateful to readers for supporting and – most importantly – enjoying the work. Still…

Do praise and validation and each small success add pressure to work harder? To type faster? To create bigger and better ideas? To write with my heart tossed out onto my desktop and my brain pushed to overdrive while the muse is whipped and bullied to justify everything that can be construed as positive – every kind word, every 5-star review, every public mention?

Yeah, and she’s right tired, my muse. Lying on the mat, panting a bit.

So I showed her today’s New York Times. And she smiled. Looks like she might even be ready to get up.


To read the New York Times article online, click here: http://nyti.ms/2qUQwaI


Photo by Stephanie Simard


2 thoughts on “‘Behold the Void’, ‘Sacculina’ get nods in the New York Times Book Review (6/4/17)

  1. S.E. Casey says:

    Congrats Philip! I think I have a NYT around, I’ll have to read this. I read ‘Altar’ the other day, btw- great story.


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