It was a wonderful Saturday. Dinner with Susan, John and Maggie, then a trip Bushnell-way to visit with Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jennifer Weiner at The Connecticut Forum (link to CivilTango). What a crowd, number one. The Bushnell is a massive theater space and every seat I could see was occupied. Yet, a huge screen on stage was good enough to bring the images of the writers on stage up to us in the mezzanine. This was an odd, new media experience, in that the writers shared the room with us, yet watching them was like watching a movie or TV. I took to leaning through the shoulder gap in front of me to watch the actual bodies.
Oates spoke a little about “Where are you going, where have you been.” It’s her most anthologized story and I really don’t mind this, given my fondness for it, which goes beyond what can ne “said” about the story or much of Oates’ and Vonnegut’s fiction. We have relationships with the “content” of books that is hard to explain. Slaughterhouse-Five, for example, evokes more than its story in the public square. Most of our young will recognize the name and not Billy Pilgrim.
But there is a lesson: these writers are excellent novelists and story writers, and that’s what they apparently do with bells on. They may be wise through their characters. Colin McEnroe’s questions did not probe far enough into potential.
What a fantastic time, though. Thanks John and Maggie.