Monday, August 04, 2003
SALAM PAX READS ME?; RODNEY GRAHAM'S TIME MACHINE
posted 10:34 PM
MESSAGES IN BOTTLES: THE SUBLIME GLOBAL WEIRDNESS OF CALL AND RESPONSE
I'm still trying to fit my head around the idea that Salam Pax read my books. It makes me proud and happy. But Salam Pax, more importantly, made me proud and happy before I knew that -- at a purely *species* level. And continues to.
MY FRIEND RODNEY BUILDS A TIME MACHINE
Rodney Graham has been my favorite Vancouver artist since he started doing what he does (about the same time I started doing what I do). He recently donated this extraordinary object to the city. I haven't gone out to sit in it, yet, but everyone I know who has comes back raving about it. Not just art-raving, but some species of more primary human delight.
The crucial but unknown collaborator on this piece is the Roman luggage-thief who made off with Rodney's camera, years ago, leading him to build a pinhole job out of a wooden matchbox, aluminum foil, and black tape. The matchbox mutated, over the years, into larger and more intricate structures, of which this landau is the most recent:
Sunday, August 03, 2003
HEADLESS CARGO; SIGN IN, STRANGER
posted 8:04 PM
RUR's thread about the oddest thing you ever (thought) you heard reminds me of a dinner I worriedly spent (I think there were mild recreational psychedelics of some kind involved, beforehand) under the impression that I had overheard the man at the next table use the sinister and mysterious term "headless cargo" several times. On leaving, and telling my wife about my bizarre eavesdropping experience, she explained, while trying not to wet her pants laughing, that he had in fact been discussing the last time he and his partner had "had l'escargot".
SIGN IN, STRANGER
Somone asks what I think of the people who turn out for booksignings.
Well, I'm grateful that they do, since the publisher might look askance if they never did. Publishers do count the house at signings, though not as closely as they count copies sold. But if that were the only reason I'm glad to be there, it would still be a pretty dire experience -- and it never has been, so far.
I enjoy the reading, the Q&A, and signing, though on a given night I might enjoy one more than another, depending on any number of things. Nothing like eyeball-to-eyeball connection with a reader who quite clearly has *gotten it*, to momentarily banish the eternal imposter-syndrome of being a published novelist.
I think that what I like least, particularly in this age of big-event, heavy-turnout signings, is the brutal, cattleyard efficiency with which people are moved through, getting usually no more than a "Hi, how are ya" and a signed book. But given the way tours work, and the numbers of people involved, I can't imagine what else one could do. Doug Coupland once gave each signee (?) on one particular tour a personal gift: a souvenir moist toilette.
The very first time I ever sat at a signing table was at a Norwescon in Seattle. I had been roped in because I had published a single story in OMNI, and they were short of actual authors to fill up the group signing table. Nobody there had ever heard of me, but a few determined souls had me sign their program books. I think that was where I first opted to use the now-familiar hand-printed "WM. GIBSON" logo, which I'd worked out years before to sign cartoons, rather than the labored cursive signature I use otherwise.