You've been to these sorts of things before. You go see someone whose work you like, but they're jet-lagged and tired, and you can sniff the obligation suffusing the fringes, the homework assignment of it all. How they're maybe wishing they didn't have to go through with it: the part of you that enjoys complaining about a luxury.
The thing is, I'm just not that famous.
That's part of it. But moreso, I have a tendency to default to wonder. Joy. What does this really mean? Being able to get excited necessarily means being able to admit you don't know everything. Wonder contains curiosity, and a know-it-all cannot be curious, cannot be excited. Do I want that? No.
I want to feel the joy that comes in the gratitude of ordinary things. This is what I've learned from the people closest to me. It's how they operate. "I will find joy in all I see," a character says in Terrence Malick's The New World. It's a decision, and it pays dividends. "I still like hotels but I think that'll change," wrote Lorde, just before hitting the cusp of superstardom. I like to think I'll never be of the position nor the inclination to dislike hotels, openings, publicity events and the like, or that if I do, I'll do something about it.
I've listened to a lot of people throughout life tell me "just you wait," "you'll change your tune when this happens," "when you get to be my age..." I appreciate their concern, but in nearly every case time has revealed they just didn't know me well enough.
All of which is to say: I'm really excited to be doing this author event for you. I love this kind of stuff. Not from pride, no, nor thirst for attention– I just really enjoy sharing. I love the pleasant anachronism of sharing this lowbrow, odd-angled and rough-hewn landscape of my bus driving friends, my world, with the cultured, erudite highbrow milieu of art, film and literature– also my world.
Aren't they both great?
I love finding ways of sucking the pretension out of art events. I enjoy the thrill of public speaking because it's an opportunity to share enthusiasms, and we know how contagious those are. There are more wonderful author events than otherwise, but we've all been to the type of thing you know I'm referring to: where you can't tell if the guy took sleeping pills, and the only questions that get asked are 'what inspires you' and 'do you ever get writer's block.'
This won't be that. I'm having too much fun here. I mentioned a surprise in an earlier post. This is it. Maybe you saw it coming. I didn't. I naively thought nobody would want the book!!
Forgive my spareness on the blog this week and next, as I prepare for this. I like to get things right– whether it's the book, these blog posts, the photos, or the film I'm still in post-production on. I want to make them worth your while. One day I'll know how to relax. Right now all I really know how to do is bend over backwards making the best possible book, art, bus ride, experience... for others. People I care about. You.
I hope to see you there.