Dave Eggers and Junot Diaz

Intersections for the Arts hosted a talk with Dave Eggers and Junot Diaz for a fundraiser to support the arts community. This is why I love SF. The event was held at Glide Memorial Church. Reverend Cecil Williams’ wife came up to say a brief intro. I bet she’s around 50 but she’s super hot. She wore this tight skirt and black stilettos and her hair was huge. Anyways, as she was introducing the church, one of the first things she said was “We took down the cross b/c it’s the symbol of death and filled it with new life.” My sister and I glanced at each other. Ironic that the sanctuary still looked empty and dull.

In any event, I thought the two authors were going to just talk about the work they do, but the whole event was geared towards mainly Junot, since one of Intersection’s best selling stage performances, Fuku Americanu, is based on Junot’s book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. This book has always been on my wish list on amazon, but I never got a chance to read it before the talk. Junot is hilarious. He’s so socially awkward and fidgety, well Dave included, and really nerdy. Not to mention super humble, genuine, and goofy. Like a fella from the hood. Junot talked about writing his book for 10 years and how strongly he felt the humility of a decade of failing. After all, he said, Melville wrote Moby Dick in something like 6 months. He graduated from the MFA program at Cornell and now teaches creative writing at MIT. He complains how those techy nerds step into his class, and the first thing that comes out of their mouths is, “I’m only here b/c they forced me to.” Lame. Junot, stop wasting your time there and come hither!

Dave and JunotWhat I love about both Junot and Dave is how they’re so passionate about working with the underrepresented. Dave works with high school kids in the mission and publishes their stories. He started McSweeney’s, a publishing company for local writers and students. Read some of the stories. They’re amazing. Junot started Voices, an organization for colored folks who want to be writers but circumstances like family and low income prevent them from going to graduate schools. He said he was sick of reading any more writing from 26 yr old hipsters. lol. Skin privilege is for reals, mang! And what’s more impressive: Junot’s favorite book is Song of Solomon. People cheered when he shared that. Or maybe I cheered so loudly in my heart that I heard sounds around me. He said that it shows the possibility of transformation at the most fundamental level in the human world. Amen brother. Dave said his favorite is a new translation of the Koran.

Anyways, my friends, as Junot said,  we’re in a war to keep reading alive. Yes, we need lots of writers to keep producing stories to overcome the vast silence that still exists in our underrepresented communities. But what’s even more important is to have more readers to actually read the stories that writers produce. So read anything and everything. I’m so embarrassed that now, Americans can barely read more than 140 characters at a time, aka twitter. If you read my blog, well this entry up to now, you have read 438 words. Congrats! I hope it wasn’t too painful.

I want to start a secular book club. And I’ll be fine if it’s only me and Olivia. But you’re missing out.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Here’s more about the talk my sis and I went to…talk. […]

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