Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The Elliot Bay Napkin

I loved reading at Elliot Bay Books in Seattle--more photos as I get them off the camera. It's a legendary bookstore for good reason--the selection is carefully culled and the staff takes great pains to read and recommend particularly meaningful books. This made me happy. I like it when books are so appreciated. And I loved meeting the staff. There is a notebook which all authors who have read at the bookstore sign--I flipped through, looking for people I knew, and was delighted to see co-Graywolf author (my labelmate!) Salvatore Scibona.

People also had questions. One question was more like a free association kind of thing about Van Gogh and the search for truth and Japan--all subjects which do in fact bear a relationship to each other, for those of us who are fond of leaping from idea to idea and looking for connections. "I'm asking for a lot," said the man to me. I could feel it. It reminded me of the time I was wearing a brightly colored 80s sweater, and working as a bank teller, and a man came up to me to cash a check and repeatedly told me, "Those are the colors of Van Gogh's inspiration."

Anyway, about the free-association question man--I tried to give a like-minded answer. And then, after the reading was over, the man with the free-association question gave me this napkin. It is a response to my reading and presentation. I am saving the napkin in my book and will ponder it for a time.

Feel free to share your thoughts. I am, in general, an open-minded person. If you click on the photo, it should blow up, making it easier for you to read the little notes.

I used to work down the street from Elliott Bay Book Company. That was the first (and only, actually) place I saw all of Octavia Butler's works on the shelf.
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