writer run-ins

I've had a few recent run-ins with writers. First, there was Wordstock. I set myself up for that one. I met Richard Ben Cramer who writes non-fiction. Politics. Biographies. Books like that. I read his Joe DiMaggio book and loved it. He read about Isreal and Palestine and had some good ideas about what to do. He'd been there plenty. He was funny, dry, serious and smart. Afterwards, he sat at a table and signed copies of his books. I didn't buy one. Didn't have a reason to talk to him. I walked out of the hall. I saw him later asking a woman which way to the bathroom and I walked with him there. I told him he reminded me of a scene from his DiMaggio book, signing autographs. He reminded me that Joe would put a dot over and under the "i" in his last name. I asked if he had a trick and he said he was no Joe DiMaggio. He thanked me for being a reader.

The next day I returned to Wordstock to see Ivan Doig, Susan Orlean and Alice Sebold followed by Russell Banks. I had read Rule of the Bone by Banks and fell in love with his style. The coming of age book was inspiring, entertaining and a family favorite. My bother introduced it to me and after I was done reading it I gave it to my dad. He took it to Romania, read it, and enjoyed it so much he gave it to me the following Christmas, forgetting the fact that it came from me, originally from my brother. Returning it to my father, it's in his collection. I wanted it again and wanted Banks to sign it. I wasn't disappointed when he read from his new book and probably should have bought it, but I bought Bone again for fun and with a reason to talk to him. I had a chance to visit with him before he read, I recognized him on a balcony of the convention center smoking an American Spirit and talking to a couple of kids who were working the event. I recognized him, but didnt' want to be a star fucker, so I avoided the situation. I was also trying to quit smoking at the time.

Chuck Palahniuk came into Borders last week when I was working. He signed some of his books and I got him "autographed copy" stickers. I talked to him a bit, but I was working and customers kept bothering me. I found out he still has a house in Portland, but lives elsewhere so he can get work done. I didn't tell him about a house in my neighborhoond with a sign out front that reads, "Rules: 1. don't talk about fight club. 2. Don't talk about fight club." I told him I was new to Portland, but I didn't mention that I was a fugitive and a refugee, nor that I have two lives but am still looking for my third. I held off explaining those things, but asked him to personalize his new book, Haunted, for me. He said of course, and wrote: Mister Smith, the keeper of many secrets. The book is fantastic and I wish I told him I wrote poetry.

I was playing darts
with a girlfriend of a guy
this is how it is.

I talk to girls with
guys with issues with myself
my bad? or bad world

Holy shit. I'm it.
I'm the one that has to deal
with reality.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Brother Smith,

The Bone certainly is the gift that kept on giving. Don't forget that Dad was the one who gave me that book in the first place. And around and around we go! Great notes and glad to see you know your place among the world of stars. But don't forget ye a star yerself. Shine away, brothah man!

J