Because I interviewed Gil Gross, CBS News commentator, as part of my take on turning the tables on the media who covered the Nora Roberts/Janet Dailey situation, I sent him a copy of the column, along with the news that I was no longer writing Laurie’s News & Views for The Romance Reader due to editorial differences. Not only did I want him to see the entire segment on turning the tables, but I wanted to illustrate to him the sorts of discussions romance readers are involved in, how serious they can be, and how they sometimes (although certainly not always and perhaps even not often) provide jumping off points for issues of greater social importance.
I am sending copies of both the column and Gil Gross’ comments to the AP and The Washington Post. Who knows?
Here is what Gil wrote me in return:
I’m sorry about what has happened to you. It is something that we are faced with in this business, and despite your fears, it seems to me that you are facing it with courage.
Good things generally come of episodes such as this, though it can take time. I quit ABC NEWS because of an editorial disagreement and I think that incident gave me a strength which served me well in latter years, though the incident itself was far from pleasant.
I am especially certain you will come out of it OK, because I was impressed with your column.
Though I’m still not ready to take romance novels, nor even the mystery books I read (have you ever read the Anna Pigeon mysteries by Nevada Barr? I think you’d like them] quite as seriously, the issues you discuss using the novels as a platform are very important, and if these books bring such intelligent discussion of issues such as anti-semitism. . . and rape, and our attitudes about both, then you may be raising the genre to a higher level.
I must confess, though you could certainly do the same sort of thing with other popular genres, I don’t think I have seen this elsewhere, and to read any sort of intelligent discussion of eroticism in a society that in public discussion only seems to recognize the extremes of pornography and puritanism was amazing in and of itself.
Have you thought of sending copies of your work to Cosmo or some other major magazine? I would think using romance literature [ok, I’m going to give in and call it literature because you’ve raised it in my estimation] as a platform for discussing the things you would do would be quite a sensation.
I’m also impressed that I was quoted correctly, fairly and in context, something I no longer take for granted.
Stay in touch, and let me know how you’re going on through this. I enjoyed our conversation too.
It may sound corny, but it is true that for every door that closes, one opens.
I think you’ll gain great strength from what you’re going through and surprise yourself by where that strength may take you.
Return to Issue #31 of LN&V
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