So Dave Eggers is a funny guy. Apparently I’m not his only fan (I had some idea of this, but really, I didn’t expect to be five minutes early (which was actually an hour and five minutes before the lecture was supposed to start), only to be #219 in line. They let 250 of us in. Lacey and I were pretty lucky. They were going to have the books signed in order, too, and we were on the verge of parking-ticketdom, so we didn’t stick around for that part. Too bad — I think he would have talked to everyone, even #218 and #219, for a while. He said he was going to go to a bar after the signing, too. He also informed us (after being asked) that his brother (Toph) is single, but really, I was always more interested in Dave, who is happily married to a gorgeous woman with a child.
I’m looking forward to reading his most recent book, too, What is the What?, which is based on the life of a Sudanese refugee. It was good to hear the process of writing it — he felt like he was failing at making this completely journalistic piece, and so he opted to write a novel heavily based on the life of his friend, with some details filled in here and there. Honestly, I think that’s what all memoir is, maybe even most non-fiction. We fabricate a lot, not in a malicious sense, but it’s our way of making sense of the world. James Frey haters, feel free to comment.
Honestly, I started to get a little annoyed at all of the “literary” people at the talk. There were two professor-ish guys behind us saying things like “Oh, I hear he has a publishing house…” about Mr. Eggers, and talking about former adjuncts who are now adjuncts elsewhere. It makes me glad I didn’t go that route. I think academia (in that sense, anyway) is not for me. I did like the girl in front of us with braids who pulled out her little blank book and wrote in it as we waited… I guess I appreciate the actual act of being a writer, but the politics of it all is exhausting.
Speaking of politics, I’m the secretary for Phi Beta Kappa at school/work, and it’s been a pain in my ass for the last couple of weeks — the outgoing secretary apparently did everything, and now I’m expected to do everything (but I’m not going to!). The latest is this lecture we’re co-sponsoring… I had some posters printed and distributed last week, contacted some newspapers, etc. And then today I found out that I’d neglected one of the sponsors, and the professor telling me this was quite upset over it — we really need to make their name prominent, so they’ll feel good about giving money to the university, it’s “unfortunate” that won’t go out to the press, and we didn’t catch it on the posters, blah, blah, blah. I felt really bad about it, and at the same time mad at her for asking me to do all of this, but not giving me all of the information, and then blaming me when it wasn’t all there. I didn’t have to do anything at all. And then like four hours later it came out that this particular sponsor actually no longer sponsors lectures at all, hadn’t sponsored this lecture, and didn’t need to be mentioned… Whatever.
This was offset by interactions with another professor, the one who ordered all of the concert poster images a while back. What a fun, unpretentious guy (honestly, like most of my department, though some of them make me a little crazy sometimes anyway). He thinks he might be turning into a modernist (he’s trained as a medievalist), but then figures the “real” modernists “wouldn’t touch this stuff!” (Meaning the art of rock and roll). I think things might be changing, though — the establishment, recently joined by our own Denver Art Museum, is starting to appreciate this type of art… Might be a good side project for him… How many people are there who are equally passionate about psychedelic rock and St. Ursula? Probably not many…