Recently, a certain famous author gave a Q and A on his latest book at our program.
While there were rumors beforehand that the author was a bit standoffish during his lecture last year, I found him to be, for the most part, engaging and at the very least informative.
One nice bit of uplifting material I received was that even somebody like Famous Author once put a 125-page first draft away for twenty years before finally having the ability to complete the novel -- a novel that eventually won the Pulitzer Prize. Of course he published like a thousand books in between that time as well, but that's beside the point. Encouraging indeed especially considering that I've spent the last three years on a 125-page first draft I am now, effectively, chucking.
Still, Famous Author was not without his controversial moments. When asked what were his thoughts on MFA programs and their usefulness, Famous Author replied, "Well I would I hate to see [Curious Accent, a professor in the program] here lose his job." Predictably the crowd, made up entirely of MFA students and two faculty members, was aghast. To which Famous Author produced a coy smile and elaborated: "I have a lot of friends who would have to find new jobs."
All of us in the audience could be seen exchanging looks ranging from disbelief to horror to bemusement. But when the time came nearly everyone clamored for autographs, including myself.
Too bad my parents don't read. This would have made a great gift.