Friday, February 12, 2010

Junot Diaz

I saw Junot Diaz last night at Butler University. He kept it very short, just read two pieces. And the first he read off his iPhone because he forgot to print it out.

He seemed to have three personae: Jersey ghetto (which he was in most of the time), Dominican (he spoke in Spanish to some Dominicans in the crowd), and professor (when he expounded during the Q&A). Pretty entertaining. Made me want to go back and read *The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao* again. Haven't read *Drown* yet. Probably will soon.

He said some interesting things about reading and novels and how important they are. Well, I forget exactly what he said, but this is what I remember: reading is way more important to him than writing. I’m always encouraged when I hear that. I can get kind of stupidly depressed when I think about the fact that I want to write something, but I haven't. Everyone wants to write. Not everyone can. But you can read. And, I’m remembering now, I love hearing Borges (in his Norton lectures--they're on CD!) say that first and foremost he's a reader. And an interview by Bolano, where he says that what's really important is that we keep reading--writing, not so much. Is there a Spanish language connection here? Anyway, you can do worse than be a pathological reader, I guess.

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