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A snowplow woke me up early from a dream in which I was at Bread Loaf.  It was the first evening; people had just arrived; it was that moment in the dining hall when you're wondering whom you'll sit with and feeling very betrayed by life because the kindly adults had told you it would never be like junior high again, but here it was, that same feeling. 

I'd already had a very quiet, friendly talk with Terry Tempest Williams, but we got separated, and I ended up at a table with these two men about my age.  One was very nice, very modest, and quite interested in other people--not at all what you'd think from his books, given that he was Bret Easton Ellis.  The other one was Michael Chabon, who kept tossing his mane around and making over-large, bony-wristed gestures.  I wondered what Ayelet Waldman saw in him.  Then I remembered exactly what Ayelet Waldman saw in him, and I wished I'd been sensible enough to marry a writer who'd gush publicly, so to speak, about my skills in the boudoir.  My sandwich kept falling apart.  I'd used too much mustard.  Bret E.E. was very friendly and inquiring. 

I woke up and lay there in bed, wondering if it was hard for writers like Ayelet Waldman and Vendela Vida:  absolutely fine, talented writers in their own rights, yet attached to meteoric superstar literary Wonder Boys--sort of like being Mary Shelley, only not. 

Then, as I lay there staring upward, I remembered my desolation last year over Bread Loaf.  Then I remembered my stunning realization, last night, that 50 is the next major birthday port-of-call for me.  Then I thought that I should probably stop remembering things, because obviously I was on a roll I shouldn't be on, and got up to start the day.

Now, on to you.  Something useful for my writer friends.  If your friends and family members, prompted by the dictates of the holiday season, are wondering why you're so stubbornly reclusive, remind them of the wisdom of Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley):

I have Graham Greene's telephone number, but I wouldn't dream of using it.  I don't seek out writers because we all want to be alone.


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November 7, 2012 9:17 AM

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