I’ve mentioned Ozu, one of my favorite directors, before. When he films his domestic dramas he flatlines the camera close to the floor, at or below the level at which the characters are living. Recently I saw his first color film, Equinox Flower. There are scenes in an office building and even those are shot close to the floor. I love the humility. It does justice. Amos Oz writes close to the floor.
When I’m talking with a customer about a book, I’m thinking to myself about three stories: the writer’s, the book’s, and the customer’s. The best outcome isn’t just that I make the sale, it’s that the customer likes the book enough to tell someone else about it. One bookseller can’t possibly sell every single copy of an author’s book. We can start the onversation about a book. At our best, booksellers are evangelists.
The Radleys is a vampire novel, and it is amazing. Totally riveting, funny whimsical and un-put-downable (that’s a phrase I saw in the New York Times Book Review…) I am savoring this, really, I know you are laughing right now, because I can sometimes be a literary snob.
I’m protective of myself as a writer. I’ve had to be, in order to keep writing. Focus, time, quiet, isolation, commitment, patience, effort—that’s what I need. FB, Twitter, and blogs are distractions. They can give the illusion that whatever a writer spits out needs to be read and noticed.
If Herve le Tellier was served to me on a plate, I’d eat him. I’d like to fly to Paris and beg him to have dinner with me so I could have three or four hours of urbane conversation. It would be like walking onto the set of my own personal My Dinner with Andre.
As I grew older, books continued to shape my life. Roald Dahl brought on fits of laughter. Diet for a New America made me a vegetarian for 10 years. Motherless Daughters reminded me that I’m not alone. Thoreau taught me that it’s okay to be alone sometimes. Jeanette Winterson reminded me that I have a heart that thumps and a brain that pulses. Faulkner made me pay attention to language and narrative and consciousness.