Monday, October 09, 2006


Thanks to Sara, it's come to my attention that Dave Eggers is coming out with a new novel entitled What Is The What. I already have my copy on pre-order.

The fictional book "based closely on actual experiences" is about, "Valentino Achak Deng becomes a refugee in war-ravaged southern Sudan. His travels bring him in contact with enemy soldiers, with liberation rebels, with hyenas and lions, with disease and starvation, and with deadly murahaleen (militias on horseback)?the same sort who currently terrorize Darfur."

McSweeney's has an interview with Eggers and Deng about the book on their website.

Dave's been a huge influence on my life: in fact, he's one of the reasons I started writing. There was something about his books that seriously connected with me. Sure, I know people that can't get through his books but I also know that an equal amount worships his every written word. I fall into the latter.

A few years back, I met Dave at a bookstore and I fawningly asked him to write down a few words of advice (I posted this a few years back so I apologize if this is already familiar). He wrote:
1. Be Smart
2. Read Nick (Hornby; he was referring to Hornby's music criticism)
3. Know your magazines
4. Be nice.
5. Be confident.
6. Be humble
7. Be positive
8. Be nice. Everyone likes nice people.
9. Keep smiling despite it all.
10. Send me some of your writing.
11. You will do it. This I know.

His suggestions were all attainable. Being nice? Being confident? Humility? These were all things that an idealist could achieve but unfortunately, after all this time, after being embittered, I've forgotten how to internalize some of them. And this saddens me.

While Nick Hornby has stopped writing music criticism and magazines have lost their spine (for the most part), I still have to remember the fundamentals. It meant a tremendous deal for a starstruck reader to get one of his favorite authors to confirm the life standards already thought important.

Seemingly, I have to reconnect with that idealist.

And I probably should send him some of my writing...


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