It’s been a week to obsess about – what else? – writing. The Kolkata Book Fair got off to a fine start by ending before it began — the High Court ruled against it being held in Park Circus, the Booksellers Guild said okay, then we’ll have to cancel it because we don’t have a Plan B. Mad scramble as everyone looked for alternative venues to host the writers who had traveled serious distances to attend . And it even rained one day. Still, the US folks hosted a nice reception. Paul Theroux, Bharati Mukherjee, Amit Chauduri, Governor Gandhi, Chris Merrill, and others attended and I had a chance to interact with these literati, who I have to say were quite entertaining. Paul Theroux may be a sourpuss, but he’s effing hilarious. Blunt, uncowed, and really very interested in the world around him. I was impressed.
Some interesting seminars too, particularly one about independent publishing, where I met some nice people from Tumbona Ediciones in Mexico. Quite disappointing to realize that this area is as competitive and difficult as any other business. More struggle, as if the world didn’t have enough. Some days it feels like life really is all Darwin and not much else, nah? All pretty Left-minded, too, these fellows, and I wonder if the real battle in life is finding your own point of view among all this dogma. Too much information makes it hard to choose.
Wrapped it up by listening to a Portuguese chap play some classical pieces for guitar. When musicians reach a certain level, is it required that they make contorted facial expressions of bliss while playing?
Finally, I’ve started reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (aka TBWLOW) and it is already blowing me away on some levels, though I’m not sure how much momentum can be sustained by creative mixing of Spanish, English, Jersey street slang, and even Indian concepts. Who was it that was saying to me that no one writes in sentences anymore?