Friday, May 02, 2008

In the presence

Yeah, it's Charles. Big deal.


So last night Rose and I went to see Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco at the University of Rochester. Wow. I was reminded of the gulf that exists between what they do and what I do – no insult intended to me, just a straight statement of fact. These guys are frickin’ brilliant. They read from their works – Rushdie from his newest-yet-to-be-published-in-the-US, Eco from Baudolino, both captivating and humbling. I have read a lot more Eco than Rushdie – The Name of the Rose is one of my top ten – but Rushdie’s new book seems to be so in line with what I write that I might be adjusting my top ten. There was a short “conversation” facilitated by a U of R professor/author, but the joking asides by the two, Rushdie and Eco, were priceless. The main point they discussed (if that can serve for what they did) was the purpose of fiction in modern society. It’s too complex for me to recount* – suffice it to say that I am not treading water in a dying art.

The most important thing I took away from the night? A deep discussion on the subjectivity of the written word and why that is an amazing thing. Now forgive me, Rick and Paula will be here any second and I don’t have drinks mixed. This is truly unforgivable since I did not discuss the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont, PA, or my pal Lorraine Bartlett’s new book OR Vicki’s new house. Ah well, I blame it on the Beefeaters.

*Given that I’m on my third martini. But don’t worry, Rose and I are in deep discussion of the state of literature as I type. And she is soooo wrong…

5 comments:

NL Gassert said...

I heard Umberto Eco speak in Germany once. That was awesome. He had quite a presence. It was inspiring.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Eco and Rushdie are two of my favorites, too. I'd love to hear more about what you took away from this conference. What a great opportunity, Charles! Way to go. I'm going to read the two books you mentioned.
Debby

Lorraine_Bartlett said...

And what were you going to say about my new book?

I am curious...yellow, orange, and green....

: )

Donis Casey said...

I missed my blog date since I was out of town, but I do want to say that I love both Eco and Rushdie. Salmon Rushdie writes with such feeling about people he loves and understands right down to the ground, and yet his own belief system and understanding of the world is completely different from theirs. He is a great inspiration to me.

Jared said...

An "I Am Curious" reference? My, this IS a literate blog!