I used to be smart and well read. My parents pretty much banned TV watching in the house when I brought home a C on my report card, so books were and remain my main form of escapism. I devoured books, in great big stacks, from the Little House on the Prairie series (how I loved Farmer Boy!) to illicit tours through my mother’s Barbara Cartland novels. In university, like the other neophytes around me, I wore my black leather jacket and read Nietzche, Mordecai Richler, Henry Miller, and Anais Nin religiously, all the while drinking cheap red wine and sucking on cigarillos. We were liked to believe we were a copycat version of Dorothy Parker’s Algonquin Round Table. It was a great time, feeling both writerly and scholarly. I loved debating the finer points of the relationship between Henry Miller and his lover June, the role of the church in 3rd world nations and everything in between.
I recently attended the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival to listen to author Charles Foran (who could very well be Canada’s answer to McDreamy) talk about the life and times of Mordecai Richler, the topic of his new biography, Mordecai: the Life and Times. The banter between Mr. Foran and host Bill Richardson was so witty and entertaining that I couldn’t help but buy the monster of a book when it was all over. As I stood in line to get the book autographed, I wondered about what I would say to the author. Should I let him know that I too, am a writer? That I thought his subject looked like Mickey Rourke in his good years? That his prose was both elegant and precise in a way that was inspiring? That I was wondering if there was a Mrs. Foran?
When I got to the front of the line, I blanked. Mr. Foran graciously tried to make small talk, while my once witty self, evaporated into thin air. I even forgot my name for awhile. Blinded by celebrity or early Alzheimers? Shit.