Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm Wide Awake on Memories

So, tonight was a night for great and terrible stories. First I met the supper club people at Shakespeare's and one of the guys there was training to be an over-the-road trucker. He was telling us about this old trucker who was his trainer and the stories were not pretty at all, but so amusing. The worst part was that the old school trucker guy never wanted to stop and kept a garbage can with baggies full of his urine and feces in it and traveled around like that. Yeah, I promise I won't go into any more detail, but just know there were a whole lot of people saying, "Ew" over and over again during the telling.

Then I grabbed the Coadster and we headed to Van Allen Hall for the John Irving reading. Like many people my age, I fell in love with his work after reading The World According to Garp in high school. It was so dirty and quirky and there was so much mention of Iowa, that I wanted to live in that twisted world as long as I could. Then in 1985 when I lived in the redwoods and we had to drive all the way to Eureka to buy art supplies, music and books, I was starving for anything decent to read. My brother sent me the hard copy of The Cider House Rules for my birthday that Summer and I spent an entire weekend, lying on my favorite rock on the Eel River reading that book and pissing off my favorite river otter who really didn't want me hanging out on his turf. So, I was so excited to not only hear him read, but share it with the Coadster. She loved the movie Simon Birch when she was a kid, and was really interested in his work.

The hall was packed. So packed, in fact, that Lan Samantha Chang had to get up and tell us that we were officially a fire code violation and all had to move to a bigger lecture hall in the business building. It was kind of funny to watch so many people elbowing and running over to the new venue to get a decent seat. Once we were there Samantha Chang said that it was great to see 500 people all walking down the street for something other than a Hawkeye football game.

Irving was an excellent reader. He chose a chapter from his soon to be released novel that took place in Iowa City in 1967. Coadster has always loved reading about the 1960's, so she was really intrigued. Then toward the end of the chapter, he described the block on Iowa Avenue right where we lived until Coadster was seven. She knew every place he described. It was fun to see her get so excited about a reading. The best part came when Coadster said, "This was really awesome. We should go to some more readings together." Oh yeah, I done bred myself a little nerd girl child, just like me.

18 comments:

jeci said...

Sounds amazing! I *just* finished reading The Cider House Rules. He's an incredible writer. It's so cool to hear that your daughter digs reading too!

evil-e said...

I am not very familiar with his work. I have heard of the titles, but never read any them. Maybe one day.

My ex-girlfriend's dad was a long-hauler and would always grace us with stories of his road-weary weeks. He had some interesting tales to tell, and yes, they did get a bit graphic. Thanks for sparing those details for the sake of others. I know them!!

NoRegrets said...

I love that photo. But I am a fan of photos taken on an angle.

Mrs. Big Hairy Woman said...

I saw the movie Simon Birch and Cider House Rules.. both excellent movies.. but of course we all know it's not the same as reading the books.. That's sweet you tow got out and both enjoyed your "nerd time" together

Tara said...

I'm so glad that Coadster liked it so much and wants to go to more!

Never been to a reading myself, but I should pay more attention and find out where to go. I know they have poetry readings at Borders sometimes.

Gyuss Baaltar said...

I am squirming with so much jealousy that you got to hear that.

DJSassafrass said...

Thw world needs more women like you--glad tht Coadster is falling in line!

booda baby said...

I'm sure I'm totally wrong, but I like to believe it's that easy, to show - no, to demonstrate to kids how rock-starry writing and reading and arting can be.

No. I don't think I'm wrong at all. I think it takes a parent to offer it.

Who in the WHOLE world wouldn't love an afternoon on the Eel river, reading in the sunshine?

Remiman said...

Churlita,
Wow that is so cool. I'm green with envy.
After I read "Garp" there are certain activities I refrain from participating in since. ;)

laura b. said...

How excellent that so many people turned out for an author visit! It's really cool to hear how much Coadster enjoyed it

Just The Three of Us Ladies said...

OH MY GOD! I am so jealous. John Irving!

fringes said...

Glad to hear he's still alive and writing. I loved him when I was younger.

jenny said...

Oh - I love John Irving! I've never heard him read, so I'm totally jealous. Yay for book nerds!

not said...

Yay! for Nerd Child Mamas!!!!

LOVE to hear Irving has a new book coming out.

I adored Cidar House Rules and his description of the Christmas pageant in "Prayer for Owen Meany" makes me cry and pee my pants every time I read it.

TLB said...

Was he simultaneously short and insanely tan and kind of hot, with that shock of white-white hair? Did he tell hilarious anecdotes before launching into his reading?

*Sigh.* I so fucking miss Iowa City.

Poptart said...

Yea!!! That is so cool that you took Coadster! I went to see him read way back in the day in IC and it was jam packed too. I never read the book he read from that day, also a soon-to-be-released one, and now I can't remember what book that woulda been.

Anyway, you rock.

another good thing said...

incredibly cool. you done good.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Hey - first of all I Lurve John Irving too
Second: I know exactly where you were in the "Redwoods" cause a few years ago my company flew me to Reading (Redding?) and I had to drive to a job in Eureka. It took me 3 hours to drive thru those mountains. I cried and shook the whole time because once I got up high enough it started snowing and there was ice, no cell phone service and no one to hear me scream.
Anyway... on the way back I spent the night in Weaverville.

I can't believe you actually lived there.