It takes a writer to understand the shyness. And throw on top of that a job on a stage. So when the day off arrives, it's strange territory. You observe nature. Birds. Plants. The way low juniper and heather type plants reach like coral to the sun. Shuffle through the city street, across an avenue, into a Rite Aid where the homeless man outside the door with a colorful beard is good at asking. The basic need of food, animal protein, to take back to the lair and cook.
The reclusiveness. Roast a chicken, for the vitamins in the juices that come out of it into the iron pan. Take a nap. Take out the recycling, plastic bags, plastic meat wrappers, wine bottles, chicken stock quart containers and their lids, juice bottles, finally the big green Cascade dishwasher detergent bottle, of which there wasn't maybe quite enough, but it was good to run the dishes through, when usually you just do them by hand and let the machine be a drying rack for your tea cups.
Another writer understands the project. In public they'll appear not so crazy, and banter with the rest. But I would give credit, more credit, to the writer who is true to the craziness. Less the words, more the true person. Which to me is where musicians come in. Or athletes. Or someone who combines all three into a sustained performances, the bristling words of mountain climber energy, the restraint of them, all the energy, of lifetimes and all life's thoughts, captured, reined in for a moment but with respect. I'd give credit to the writer with the guts to stand before people. I wrote a book. That's good enough. And then I served a lot of people. With my own two hands, and with my ears, my eyes, all my senses, didn't talk too much. And when I was done with the week I, yes, took up the surfboard of writing, and hoped there were waves.
The waves, taking out the trash. A dusting of snow. The parting of the laundry. Watching an important literary fest run by women, better at its exchanges, its work, its partnerships, its application. Whereas I sit in my cave.
But through the mountain top, the words, there is what must be connection, deep form. Through the quiet solitary work something that speaks, better than the fancy cocktail to imbibe.
I don't know what. I don't know how to say it. People try. They fall short. Social interactions fall short. But writing is monkishness. Intimacy one sided, waiting to be read. Honesty.
The Lit Fest.
A private venue, that's what you need...
Then Michael Chabon on literary failure and other things...