Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Khaled Hosseini and his writer's process.

The room was packed. I mean seriously packed. At 6:20, I slid into one of the last empty seats available. At 6:30, they announced that they were roping off the section with chairs, and everyone else had to stand in the back. Those unfortunates were also told they could start lining up in the corner by "Art & Architecture" to get their books signed since they would be allowed to only after the seated people went. Felt like some sort of breadline where the elite had first dibs... "I feel so lucky," the pretty girl next to me said. "I know," I told her, both of our eyes roaming around the ones shut out behind the rope.

At 7, Khaled Hosseini came up stage, talked a little about his book, and then read two sections from it. Simple language (I took notice now, of how simple his tags were. "He said." "She said." It was just there.), but beautiful irregardless. One line that caught me, caught everyone, about a boy showing a girl the new gun he has bought. She asks him if he would kill with it, and then the line goes, something like "Then he said something both terrible and beautiful. 'For you I would.'" Well, I'm rattling that off by memory, and I don't know where it is in the book, but when I find it, I'll put it down again.

Khaled Hosseini's voice is smooth though slightly accented. He reads well. Pauses in the right places. I guess he should - he wrote it.

Then it was time for q&a. The guy talked about his writing process, about how he likes the "surprise" of it. He mentioned that for Kite Runner, that in the entire first draft, he didn't have the boys be related, and then later one day it came to him. He says he likes to get to know his characters and see where they take him. He said he doesn't do outlines, that knowing how it's going to end makes it stilted, that he enjoys the process. I felt so relieved, to know that that's how I do things too. He also mentioned about how difficult a process it was to write this second book of his, how he had to will it into being, and how it was touch-and-go for a bit. But that it's made the fact that it came together all the more sweet for him. I thought that was great, to know that he labored over this, second-guessed himself. He said that it took him about a year when he was unconvinced he could do it, but then he started seeing his characters as humans, started living and breathing them, and then suddenly it became something he could do easily. Amazing. I understand that. I want that! But I guess this also goes to show - when you've become a RAVE success, all of a sudden you have a fan base that expects you to outdo yourself, watching your every move. How incredibly stressful that must be...

He spoke a bit about going back to Afghanistan, about the politics surrounding it. He spoke of how his own memories related, and even of the themes of love. At all times he was so kind it seemed, almost subdued, and yet still so passionate about everything he was talking about. It was really interesting to listen to him. Did I mention that he's a pretty good looking guy (even though he is kind of older)? The pretty girl next to me leaned over at one point and whispered, "He's soo good looking!!!!"

The aside to this is that I've become friends with the pretty girl next to me in that time span of waiting and waiting. She's an opera singer with a Chilean background. Very sweet and fun. We exchanged info and promised to hang out again soon. Don't know if it will happen, but funny how you can meet people in all sorts of places. She was really interesting, and I love making new friends. See? Girls exchange numbers with other girls too!

Anyway, I hadn't anticipated buying the book, so left my discount coupon at home, but I found out they wouldn't let you get Kite Runner signed without also a copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns, (money-grubbing Nazis) so I grabbed a copy. One more for the bookstand. Okay, so call me crazy, but I want my extra discount. So I think I'll buy another copy with the coupon and then return it with the reciept I have today. Good idea???

Btw, marketing or whomever - the cover of A Thousand Splendid Suns looks EXACTLY like the cover for Kite Runner. I get the psychology and marketing behind that, but somehow I find that disappointing. If I ever wrote more than two books (and I realize I am getting ahead of myself here) and actually had a say (sales aside), I'd want unique covers. I mean, the font is even the same! I know it appeals to the mass, the same way Jodi Picoult's novels all look exactly the same now too, but I almost feel like a real piece of literary work of art should have an artful, unique cover design too - all part of the art. But anyway, fine, anyone who sees the cover will immediately know how to identify it.

Hmm, see? This is why I don't know if I could go into publishing. Literature to me is art. I'd hate to get mixed up in all the commercialness of it. Yes, I know I'm being an idealist here, but somethings in life should remain just a *little* bit pure.

0 drops:

Post a Comment