Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blount Words

Speaking of the literary life . . . I don't know what prompted Editor Charlie to finally send me this photo he took of author Roy Blount Jr. and me at the Miami Book Fair last November, but I'm very glad he did.

As I blogged at the time, I was honored to be invited to speak/read at the Fair with graphic novelist Neil Kleid. I liked Neil a lot and think our session went well. I met Mr. Blount--a terrific prose stylist with a distinguished writing career--at the end of my long first day: fuzzy-headed from a cross-country flight, hungry from missing lunch and dinner, whisked off to a boozy author's reception without a chance to change (which explains my casual attire). By the end of the evening I'd lost my voice, which was probably a blessing because I doubt I was making much sense anyway. This photo was shot around midnight as a group of us waited on a balmy Miami street corner for a chartered bus that took forever to arrive.

I'm a fan of Mr. Blount's but, as I also blogged at the time, I am probably the worst sort of fan he could have: I've read a lot of his work and loved it, but I could not for the life of me think of a single specific piece of his to talk about. "Remember that one thing you did that one time? That was great." I may not have used those exact words but that how stupid I sounded in my head. He was nevertheless gracious and charming, and remembered me kindly the next day when I happened to run into him at the Book Fair. Having a chance to chat with him was a definite "not in Kansas anymore" moment for me and a highlight of the trip.

I have no larger point to make. I was just surprised to find this picture in my e-mail folder today and wanted to share a happy memory. Thanks, Charlie!


Jim O'Kane said...

It's funny -- Captain Girlfriend and I were having a discussion about triggers and memory while we were in a hotel stairwell in Richmond, Virginia this morning. I had smelled the scent of chalk dust, which instantly transported me to my elementary school back in the 60's. And here, a brief glance at a picture in an email put you back with Mr. Blount faster than Doc Brown's Delorean ever could.

Our brains really are little more than giant games of Pik-up-Stix, each waiting for the next twitch to bring some old memory to the surface.

Brian Fies said...

Speaking of chalk dust, y'know what really takes me back? The smell of mimeograph. Especially warm mimeograph. Sadly, much harder to find these days, and all the more precious for it.

Jim O'Kane said...

I haven't seen, or much less smelled, a mimeograph machine in decades. Must be some hippie California revolutionary tract-making thing. :)