In my first work of fiction – a six-page story about a caveman and a dinosaur, written in caveman language – the asterisk makes several appearances. To a five year-old, flailing away on her father’s manual typewriter, the asterisk was a thing of a beauty. A little flower, a daisy, the prettiest piece of punctuation there ever was.
On April 22nd, an asterisk will power me back onto the New York Times printed list. I’ll be at #16, but the asterisk that follows the 16 means I’m considered a tie for 15 (Christopher Buckley’s BOOMSDAY, which I’m reading right now), and therefore included on the printed list. Call it the Maslin effect, for I can see no other rationale for the book’s comeback.
And now, maybe, just maybe, I can enjoy a week as a New York Times bestseller without the world’s worst head cold. The fact is, between altitude sickness and the cold, I don’t think I’ve had a truly healthy day since I first heard that I was going to make the list. However the cold seems to be abating. Then again, I’ve felt that twice before, and I’ve relapsed twice before.