a weblog for readers and writers

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

John Irving & Me


John Irving rarely does book signings, or so I'm told. Early in my writing career, I hauled a couple of his hardcovers to the National Book Festival only to find out that he was exclusively signing his newest book. So I went to the Book Fest tent to buy it, then got in line.

Irving says his writing is often painful. "But you don't not write something because it makes you feel uncomfortable. As a writer, you don't get to choose your obsessions."

"I use details from my own life," Irving said at the book fest. "It, like anything of mine, will have more imagination than autobiography to it. But there are always elements from my own life. Childhood is the basis of a character."

In person, Irving did not appear to be in the pain his books suggest. He came across calm, cool, comfortable, in his casual shirt and jeans, with his gum-chewing smile, basking in a long line of dedicated readers. He greeted me with a smile and signed my book.

Having met Wolfe and Irving in the same day, I can see why their books naturally gravitated to opposite ends on my bookshelf. Still, I wish I'd convinced Irving and Wolfe to join me for a drink after the festival.

As a reader, you don't always get to choose your obsessions either.

John Irving – Official Author Website (john-irving.com)

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home