Thursday, 23 November 2006

I Stand Corrected

Ahh, reading tours. Hearing writers talk about why they are writers and what their modus operandi is/are is a bit like Jimi Hendrix going on the Purple Haze: A discussion tour ... "well, I played a modal fourth and then a diminished ninth and then I ate a sandwich. Jam putty, I think". Basically, the whole joy of writing and reading is your own interpretations, the escapism into somebody's imaginary/real world. Your visualisation of the characters involved. However, there are exceptions to my flimsy "no reading tours" policy. One is Jonathan Franzen, whose darkly-autobiographic novel The Corrections is, to me, an amazing piece of work. Amazingly, he was in Beverley, a really genteel, slightly jam-making town about six miles north of 'Ull. So we took the opportunity to escape Hull Fair (it all kicked off) and Hull FC (they kicked off, it kicked off) and amble to a gleaming new church hall attached to 13th century St Mary's to hear him read from his childhood memoirs, The Discomfort Zone. Lovely to hear this drone-like St Louis accent just yards from pubs full of rugby fans, even if he was sat directly underneath a giant religious cross. I imagined an Omen type scene if he read a particularly droll passage. It was very good, but then the questions started. Me, I'd want to know what he thought of Bush, did he like Jazz, the films of Robert Altman and where he got his nifty focal prescriptions. But the assembled crowd wanted to know whether he should have substituted the word "narcolepsy" for "narcoplectic" in a "two-way dialogue between the man as mirror and cartoon". Ouch. So we went to Pizza Express.In other news: Teachers may be armed with guns following a spate of shootings in the US. Hmmm, like that's gunna put an end to violence! (source Daily Mirror, UK)

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