Thursday, April 26, 2007

Literary Rock Stars

A new installment of the PEN festival of writers. This year seems to me quite boring because the theme is "Home". And I just can't get worked up about it. Seems like a bit of a tired cliché to me. In any case, we sneaked into the big Town Hall reading where there were some nifty literary superstars. Unfortunately, we missed our favorite, Don DeLillo. But we saw Nadine Gordimer, and Salman Rushdie and Neil Gaiman, who is the most rock star of the literary rock stars and commands huge lines of fans. He writes fantastical things which is why I haven't bothered reading him. If you must know, I loathe fantasy and whimsy. Thus, I bought the new book by DeLillo, Falling Man, which is, in typical Delillean fashion, about 9/11. I figure if anybody can write about that day that I can stand to read about without cringing, is him. Libra is one of my favorite books of all time. I bought an autographed copy of Falling Man (duh!) so I decided I just wanted to take a look at the guy. In the flesh. To see if he indeed exists. My friend said: talk to him, why don't you. I wouldn't know what to say except that Libra is a fucking masterpiece and I liked White Noise too, so beautifully paranoid and I still haven't finished Underworld (who has?) and I love him to pieces, so no. He already knows that somehow. In any case, I find the whole book signing ritual slightly creepy and surreal. I want to sleep with writers, eat their brains, steal their talent, not get their signature. Anyway...
So as I turn the corner to see my beloved author, in typical Dellilean fashion, he is not there. Vanished without a trace. God bless him. But Rushdie is there, charming as always, and Nadine Gordimer is there, small, wrinkled and elegant, waiting for fans, and some new other flavors of the month are there, signing away, and Neil Gaiman has a line that goes down into the lobby (which unfairly makes me seriously not want to read him), and Tatyana Tostoya sits there, wanting to die because no one is bringing her a book to sign. This other writer with an Arab name, same thing. I feel so bad, I almost go down there and buy their books so they can sign them for me. Literary stardom is just as silly as any other kind of celebrity or worse.
That is why I eschew it altogether, my dear readers.

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