Saturday, October 25, 2008

Getting all Sarah Palin-y. . .

Don't worry. I'm not wearing a skirt and spouting folksy gibberish (now there's a visual I'm not sure the universe is prepared for). I'm actually just conducting a cull of my library. I've gone hunting for all the crappy books that have taken up space for too long (some since high school). (I guess hunting for books is sort of like hunting for moose. . . ) At the same time, I'm also hunting for some of the merely ok books I'm not likely to open again. It's been somewhat painful, but I'm feeling better now. Now I just need to find a place for the carcasses to go. I'll probably check with the local library first.

So now I'm taking a break. I'm listening to The Rat Pack Live at the Sands and wishing I had a martini. And a cigar. Though I don't smoke and rarely drink. The persuasive power of music. . .

Went out to a reading at Harbourfront last night. 5 authors - 3 Canucks, 1 Yank and 1 Brit. I went mainly to see Richard Russo - who was good - but I was blown away by Rohinton Mistry. What a wonderful reading voice. It was magical.

Listening to a writer read his or her work - especially a favourite writer - is always a crap shoot. As much as I love his work, my appreciation of Bukowski took a hit the first time I heard him read. There was just no connection between the voice coming from the speakers and the voice I heard in my mind (of course, watching him fly into a rage and kick his girlfriend during an interview didn't help matters much, either).

With Mistry, it went the other way. You just knew you were in the presence of a natural storyteller. It's a good thing he was the last one to read because there was no way anyone could follow him and not seem like a total bore.

Afterwards, I proved yet again just how big a geek I am. For reasons I don't really understand, I get starstruck meeting favourite authors. It happened last summer when I saw Sherman Alexie read. When I went up to talk to him after the reading, I just clammed up. Any semblance of eloquence left me and I stuttered and stammered and just barely managed to say I loved his work. True, my goal was to tell him I loved his work and to basically thank him for writing these books, but I did it in pretty much the most awkward, embarrassing way possible.

Last night was a little better, but not much. I waited until all the people with books to be signed had got them signed (I hadn't really thought far enough ahead to bring my tattered copies of Mohawk or Straight Man with me) and went up to talk to Richard Russo.

Richard Russo is one of my all-time favourite authors. He writes the sort of novels that I truly get lost in, big stories about not so big people living mostly in small towns and cities. He's a yarn spinner and I look forward to a new Russo novel in much the same way I look forward to a new Irving.

You would think that, having read all his books, I could come up with something at least a little bit interesting to say. You would be wrong. I got nervous. My mouth went a little dry. I had to content myself with tossing off a few lines about loving his work (kind of obvious) and how I look forward to his next one (well, duh).

Next time, I should probably just write a letter.

The upside is he told me he should have a new book out next year (which is surprisingly quick for him).

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm very glad to hear that Rohinton Mistry was so compelling. I have always found his books to be utterly fascinating, but that doesn't necessarily translate into a good speaker all the time.