Fast Reads, Writers, Other Sundry Thoughts

This evening, self was at Stanford.  She had to ask a rather tweedy professorial type where the Humanities Center was, and he didn’t know.  Turned out, he was standing right in front of it.

Maxine Hong Kingston, what a wonder you are.  65, but look 25.  Your mother lived to be 103 (Self may be using the past tense rather loosely; she thinks in all probability Kingston’s mother is still with us), San Francisco sent a census taker to your mother’s house to verify her age (as they do for all people who reach the age of 100!).  If your mother’s age is any indication, you said, you have at least 30 more years of life left in you.   As your rate of production seems to be “about one book a decade,” that means you can reasonably expect to write about three more books.  AND, you read for an hour and a half without visibly tiring.  How do you do that?  You even sang the parts of your manuscript that called for song.  (In contrast, self reads for half an hour and starts to slur her words.)

After the reading, self couldn’t help turning to the young woman seated next to her and saying, “She makes me feel so  —  lazy.”

While Kingston was reading, a young woman sat next to her and translated in sign language.  Self was fascinated by this young woman, whose face seemed to mimic every expression on Kingston’s face.  And, do you know why self thinks Anna Kendrick’s performance in Up in the Air was the best thing about that movie?  Because she projected that private school sense of entitlement so well.  And the woman doing sign language for Kingston was the spitting image of Anna Kendrick.  In fact, there were Anna Kendricks scattered all over the audience.  That’s how she knows Kendrick nailed it.

Meanwhile, self is reading Ben Fountain’s collection, Brief Encounters With Che Guevarra.  She’s reading really fast (compared to when she was reading Tacitus).  After only two days, she’s already arrived at the final story.  It’s the title story, so she’s expecting a knockout.

She also heard a little bit of Obama’s speech (in the car, on the way to the Kingston reading).  The parts she listened to were very good.  Especially the parts about how he has faith that the country will pull through.  And about how the 30 billion dollars that bailed out the banks (and which the banks will be required to give back), will be used to facilitate loans to small businesses.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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