My love affair with Junot Diaz has largely depended on fate and faith.
I’ve mentioned him a couple of times before. A Pulitzer prize winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Diaz fell into my existence at the tiny bookstore in the Ferry Building. After an early October dinner with the visiting parents, we took a stroll down the frigid piers, usually filled with tanning sea lions during the day. Now, it was just one harsh breeze after another. So I stole away into the bookstore. Hoping to find a gem.
Obviously, I was attracted to the book because of it’s simplistic cover. More so for the fact that it was an autographed version (best investment ever). So I bought it. It was $30. A lot more than I usually pay for a book.
I took it home and devoured it. Something was so familiar. The nerdiness of Junior? No. The references to Santo Domingo, which had been one of my favorite vacations to date. My alleged learning of Dominican history. A similarity to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Not because they’re both latinos. Because of how the book was constructed. The passing on of narrative voice and perspective.
It was good. [not good. gooood.]
So I proceeded to tell all my friends. People nodded and smiled respectfully, but Junot was still my very own.
Months go by. Then more months. I sporadically add him to my “favorite book” category for new social networks.
Then, John sends me an invite to GoodReads. I’d gotten a similar invitation before but was anti-more-crap-social-networking-sites at that moment. Now, I’m much more receptive. Reformed if you will. Assimilated. So I sign up.
I start by stalking Mary Roach. Afterall, I loved the book Stiff, was reading Bonk, and now am reading Spook. Cadavers, sex and the afterlife. Interesting-strange topics to be sure. Interesting-good books.
When I got bored of that (and reading that omg, everone’s favorite book is Eat, Pray, Love and people were putting Dr. Seuss on there), I meandered over to author events. Ah… there is fate again. That sneaky bastard. Junot Diaz. Herbst Theater. 401 Van Ness. September 18. 8:00pm.
I haven’t been sleeping very well, you know. I keep waking up from nightmares of Ty hating me and hurricanes. The details aren’t clear but the emotional trauma certainly is. By the time 5:00pm rolls around, I’m exhausted. It’s like I’m pregnant, except I’m not. And having to wait three more hours just to see an author? One who’s potentially full of himself, a bit elitist and completely self-righteous. Sure, that’s exactly what I want. I’m about to pass out on the lawn in Union Square, and Rico here wants me to wait three more hours to hear him talk.
Fine. …. Pendejo.
Fast forward to 7:50. I’m running late (seriously, why the hell would I be running late… I had 3 hours to travel half a mile). The bandage on my big toe has been scrapped off because I angled my foot to walk forward but hadn’t lifted it high enough to avoid the concrete. It’s already swollen and infected from a brief meeting with a wall during the weekend. The guy sweeping the floor at Peet’s Coffee hands me a bandage. I’m pretty much running now.
The man in the suit asks me for a ticket. A what? The GoodReads event page hadn’t mentioned a ticket. A $20 ticket, in fact. Fuck it. I’m already here.
<Insert riveting brain orgasms>
Fucking hell. It was so worth it. Art is my sex. Artists my priests. Interpretation my religious rites.
… And fate. He’s just the fucker who injects me when I’m losing faith.
Some of my favorite quotes:
- When people see a crack, the first thing they want to do is fix the crack but the crack isn’t the central problem.
- What’s scary is not Trujillo but the eager people who carry on his moronic fables and want that authoritarian rule.
- Artists trying to remind humans of their humanity has always been a function of art. It’s nothing new.
- The only person who hasn’t the privilege of entering into the text is the writer. That’s just one of the sacrifices we have to make.
- Most of the books out there are crap. You know… no one has a monopoly on crap.
- If I wanted to have a light shine on me when I talk, I would not lock myself in a closet and write. I wouldn’t.