With whom are you hanging out with, so casually discussing art, literature and meaning of life, you ask? Why, none other than Junot Diaz. Do I look a bit star struck? Naw, not me. He gave an amazing talk last week and was kind enough to hang out afterwards with all of us admirers, staying relaxed and down to earth with everyone.
His talk was full of salty language that he used like a scalple to cut through people's expectations and shyness.
"I won't shame you," he promised a woman as he asked her to stand up in front of everyone (there were maybe 200 people in the room.) She hesitated. "I won't shame you." And he didn't. She had asked him what a couple of Spanish words from his book meant. She couldn't find the definition anywhere. Once she stood up, he said, "could the someone in the audience who knows what those words mean find this woman after my talk and tell her?" It was such a charming way to handle an awkward situation (and one imagines that the words were totally x rated since he had no problem dropping about a hundred f-bombs in an hour.)
It was a great evening and I'm reading his Pulitzer prize winning novel The Brief Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao. And it's pretty wow, too.