On scene: On writing well
October 12, 2007
Steamboat Springs — There are a few things that are generally true about people who write for a living.
They like to wear their pajamas all day, and rarely change out of them.
They like to be bought drinks (especially martinis, scotch and Guinness) at bars.
They like talking about their books on airplanes, and they hate editors, book jacket designers, and sometimes, their agents.
And they love talking about themselves.
Saturday’s 15th annual Literary Sojourn, presented by Off The Beaten Path Bookstore and the Bud Werner Memorial Library, was the perfect example of the unique camaraderie 450 book lovers and a few authors can share over five hours of quiche, cupcakes and wine.
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Michael Kun, part lawyer and part comedy-novelist extraordinaire, admitted that he loathes telling people he’s a lawyer. He definitely plays up the fact that he’s written several books, including his first novel, “A Thousand Benjamins,” which he wrote at 22 while surviving off friends’ notes, Mountain Dew and Cap’N Crunch during his law school days.
“People like to meet writers. They often buy you drinks,” he said Saturday. “People don’t like to meet lawyers. They often try to run you down with their cars.”
The rest of Kun’s 40-minute presentation about why he revels in the fact that he is his family’s best writer was speckled with short bursts of laughter and gasps from the crowd as he talked about being a swimsuit model, why his wife married below herself and how he no longer has the imagination of a “25-year-old,” and no longer can write novels because he has the imagination of a 44-year-old.
Like Kun, the Sojourn’s four other featured authors, Amanda Eyre Ward, Luis Alberto Urrea, Jane Hamilton and Frank Delaney, delighted a packed room with the gritty details about writing, often dishing out tidbits of advice, but mostly indulging the crowd with stories about themselves.
Hamilton recounted an embarrassing lifetime struggle to read Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and how she only received a B- when she tried to write “an above average high school essay” on the book for her teenage child.
Perhaps Ward best summarized what it’s like to be a novelist – and couldn’t help but laugh – when she wasn’t called back to participate in Career Day at her child’s school.
“It’s hard to describe the writing life to people,” she said. “I mean, I do a lot of staring into space, wearing my pajamas all day, watching TV. I would have gotten a little organized for (Career Day) and put a little coffee out.”
Sounds like a good day to me, but then again, I write for a living.
– Alexis DeLaCruz
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