I vote for football. I concede it was perfect weather for the Festival of Books. Not hot, nice breeze, a little on the cool side. But I hate crowds and it was crowded. The first panel was fine, mostly thanks to David Wroblewski. They each read for a couple of minutes from their books – he also read the best, but I imagine he’s also had the most practice. Here are a few of his nuggets: without an element of artifice, fiction doesn’t feel real; he likes the narrative tool of a good observer; the elementary structure of the novel is a braid. Plot is a tool for taking stories apart, not creating them – if you use it to create it’s like knitting with chainsaws (nice image). A novel = unnaturally long story. And from Joan Silber: plot is about how the writer thinks the world works. Bear in mind, this is a general public event, not one directed at writers.
Wroblewski recommended So Long See you Tomorrow by William Maxwell. Joan Silber recommended Remembering Babylon by David Malouf.
The second panel was an interview and it was pretty dull. I won’t name names. I sat there wondering why I was there listening to some mediocre questions on writing instead of going home to work on the novel. So I’m home now after getting jostled by crowds, eating a mediocre $7 cheeseburger and paying $3.75 for a bottle of water because I forgot mine at home. I couldn’t face two more panels, even if they were spectacular.
I guess it boils down to the fact that I get enough of writers talking about writing in grad school. Time to write.
p.s. The San Diego Chargers picked Larry English. Maybe this will finally be the year.