Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Things You Should Do

I went with Jamie to the reading and talk with Jonathan Lethem and AM Homes. Homes read from her soon to be published novel. Lethem read "Vivian Relf" from Men and Cartoons, which I need to read ASAP because this short story, even read aloud, was masterly, amazing - Lethem is so in control of language, it makes me jealous. And then Deborah Treisman, the fiction editor of The New Yorker asked both of them questions about their work, their writing habits, and of course, about their lives and how much that entered into their own works. I was shocked when Treisman came out, not knowing what she looked like, and seeing how young she was. I imagined that the ficiton editor of The New Yorker to be a frumpy, old lit professor looking type, perhaps wearing something a little unfashionable. But Treisman can't be too much older than thirty, if even, and she is really attractive and fashionable. This sort of stung for some reason, that this person is not only pretty and young but has probably the most coveted [surely, the most powerful] literary editing job in the US. People should not have it all. She is in contact with everyone and gets to read through the submissions of literary giants. I couldn't even imagine - I try to wrap my head around that notion of getting to sift through stuff from these people and choosing a story for each issue.

I have been doing lots of daydreaming today. I bought a lotto ticket for that big jackpot and no joke, spent a good two hours lying on my bed wide awake lost in daydreams of how different my life would be if suddenly 250 million dollars came my way. It was the first time I daydreamed in a long time and so really, a dollar well, well spent whether or not I won.

Both Lethem and Homes were really well spoken, grounded, and serious about their craft. It was such a pleasure to hear the two of them talk, particularly Lethem, who is such a good writer, so fucking skilled. He talked about who he writes for, and said he writes for dead people and told this beautiful story about being sixteen and reading seriously for the first time and how awed he was by just the books on the shelf, by seeing Borges and Calvino up there, and that that's who he's writing for, that when his book is on the shelf he hopes that the Borges and Calvino book lean in toward his to listen. Of course, he said this so well, much as he writes so well. It was a pleasure - I don't know what other word to use, what one could be more apt - to hear these literary idols of mine speak and talk about the habit of writing. I want to get into that habit. I was doing well for a while and made it a habit, was doing some every day, but I haven't even attempted in a month or so. This night has reenergized me and I think I might try what both of them do, to wake up early and write until lunch. I mean, it's not like I have a job or anything right now, so I should be spending this free time that so many people kill for not sulking about how I have all this idle time and no money, but instead utilizing it the best I possibly can. Wake up earlier, write early on in the day, then do some job hunting after lunch, and live your life and fucking smile more often and laugh more often and read some good books.

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