Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Would Philip Roth Do?

They descended on the stage, teeny and shoeless (the teeny part probably had a bit to do with my upper tier, upper balcony (up up up) seats) and folded themselves into two giant arm chairs. Elizabeth Gilbert and Ann Patchett, together for only the second time in their lives, compliments of Literary Arts' Arts & Lecture series. They sat across from one another and chatted, like the girlfriends they were (on stage in front of several thousand people, mind you). Elizabeth Gilbert claimed that if she stopped writing, she'd just find something else to do, it wouldn't cause her to go into crisis. A pushy boutique salesperson would be good, she thought. Ann Patchett would make complex, minute dioramas, which seemed fitting to the detailed care she gives to characters in her novels. Neither said anything too revolutionary, but both were smart, funny, and self-deprecating. They talked about the demands of being female and a writer. Ann Patchett's agent, she shared, had made her an apron that said, "What would Philip Roth Do?" So today, I suggest we all mutter that to ourselves, as we go about our day. Thanks, A & E.

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