Monday, November 23, 2009
When I went to Teaism in Penn Quarter last Friday to hear Stephen Elliott read from his book The Adderall Diaries, I really didn't know what to expect. I wasn't familiar with Adderall. I'd read about the book (albeit too quickly) and it seemed to be a murder mystery/memoir. Then I read (very quickly) about other things the author had written, including one about Democrats and elections, and so I brought my husband along. I expected to have a glass of wine, listen to the reading, leave and go out to dinner. What I DIDN'T expect was to be glued to my seat, mesmerized, through about three readings (his Q&A usually segued into his reading from another chapter) and wanting more. Carried away, I even asked a question about honesty and self-censoring in memoir. He gave me a lengthy answer. Other people asked questions. I was riveted by the answers. I was not particularly comfortable in the jammed space, twisted sideways to see him. But I didn't want to move. My husband liked his humor and intelligence. I liked the way he looked us in the eye when he spoke. When it was over, I continued to sit. Give. Me. More. I bought the book, had him sign it and went home to read everything I could about this writer. What a story. Not only is his talent unbelievable, so is his life. I stayed up half the night reading the book, and when I finally fell asleep, I was jolted awake as the words from the book wove through my dreams. So much of it is like poetry, which he says he always wrote on snippets of paper growing up. I am grateful for that hour or so at Teaism, and being completely transported from words read out loud from a book. Here's a Vanity Fair quote poached from Elliott's website: "Elliott may be writing under the influence, but it's the influence of genius." Don't know about the "influence" but I can attest to the genius.