I may have to endure this headline over and over again, but poor Scott Spencer had to endure this in last Sunday’s Times Book Review.

Willing” amounts to a Scott Spencer blooper reel, and in it the language moves along with the undignified haste of a purse-snatcher in flight.

The reviewer, Tom Bissell, goes on to list some awful Spencer metaphors.

An erect penis, for instance, is likened to “a Nazi salute.” A pair of nipples are viewed as resembling “security guards protecting” a prostitute’s heart. A man’s sweater is said to look “so soft it could have been edible.” Later, a character’s loafers are “so soft looking they seemed made of nectar.”

Ouch. And this for Scott Spencer who, starting with “Endless Love,” has always been one of my favorite writers. Although I admit to the fact that my lips did curl up in astonished amusement at Bissell’s meanness. Was it Schadenfreude? Do we actually enjoy other people’s suffering?

Julia Cameron, in “The Artist’s Way,” has sound advice about how to deal with bad reviews. Too bad I don’t remember it.

I’ve long thought that my experience at Baristanet prepared me for any reaction, no matter how bad, to my books. For four years, I’ve had cathar and ROC nipping at my heels like hungry Rottweilers. And Warren had a great reaction to Ritter’s “ending fizzles” review of my book. “Look at ‘No Country for Old Men,'” he said. “Everybody said that had no ending. But it won Best Picture.”

I guess I can take a bad review better than I can take the resounding silence. With “Rattled” I got a new review almost daily. It was like being some Southern belle, with the doorbell constantly ringing, flowers showing up and boys lining up outside the front door.

I guess that’s why they call it a “debut.”

You only get one coming-out party. Then afterwards, you stand there like a wallflower on the side of the room, scowling at this season’s pretty young debs.

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