My publisher droned when she talked, word after word in an endless, often meaningless stream of syllables. After ten minutes, I finally figured out the gist of her call; a poetry reading for a club at a small university; three hundred dollars, transportation, lodging and food. My first impulse was to just refuse and get back to work on my poem, but I knew I couldn’t. Marge had only agreed to go to the expense of publishing my book of poems after I promised to do whatever support engagements she could arrange. I tried to come up with an excuse, but my imagination has a way of failing at just such moments.
Lord Malinov, Flowers of Malinov