Editors' note: Writer Paula Kamen will be guest-blogging here on Fridays in March.


This has nothing to do with literature, at least directly. For weeks now, I've been hooked on reality show The Starlet on the WB (making history as the first person over 30 to watch that channel), shown Tuesdays at 9 pm Eastern Time. A reason is that my friend's cousin Katie (the sunny blonde one from Chicago) is on it, and is now in the final 4 contestants!!!!  I tell you, the experience of reality TV is so much more engaging when you know a person competing, because then it seems more....real. I have gotten a kick out of her being very open about her ambition, and how she never fails to alienate the other contestants. Please pray with me that she shall win.

It's fascinating because it does show a lot about the process of becoming an actor, which I'm very interested in. Each show gives them a practical challenge that real actors would face: doing an awkward kissing scene, hawking a product on a commercial, doing a screen test with an emotional scene.

It's been so inspiring that I've started to imagine producing my own reality show for book authors. It would surely attract fresh fledgling writers like those "starlet" hopefuls -- all hoping to skip the years of drudgery and risk required by the typical career trajectory to get to the top.  The weekly challenges, also reflecting the real life lives of authors, could include: find the most cunning agent with a few slim referrals, beg/stalk acquaintances for blurbs, relate book topic to assorted current events, finance own 5-city book tour on less than $200, etc. I can't think of who would the larger-than-life fate-changing host, to be the  Faye Dunaway-like figure of the Starlet (or Donald Trump of The Apprentice). Maybe Judith Shulevitz of the New York Times Book Review?  I'm open to suggestions......

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