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A Literary Nostalgia Trip

November 09, 1986

Reading Mike Wyma's "Eager to Read Your Pride and Joy--for a Fee" (Oct. 30) was a nostalgic trip back to New York 20 years ago when I interviewed for a manuscript reader position at Scott Meredith. The reading fee was much lower then, but the principle was as ludicrous then as it is now.

I rejected that position in favor of a similar one at a small literary agency. Eventually, however, I was hit by a wave of disillusionment during those Woodstock days. I ultimately dropped out of the agenting rat race, grew a beard, and sold Indian bedspreads and African prints in Greenwich Village.

But I've never forgotten the New York literary agency days, particularly one letter I received from a grateful client who had just been informed that a vanity press was honoring his terrible novel by offering to print a very limited edition . . . for only $2,550. I kept his reaction pinned to my wall for months: "I always wanted to be a writter; now I are one."

BARRY LEVIN

Sherman Oaks

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