Last week I ventured out to Magers & Quinn to listen to David Carr read from his memoir, The Night of the Gun. It was a great, great reading. If you weren’t one of the lucky hundred or so people to be there Thursday night, don’t worry, he’s reading tonight in St. Paul. I’d do whatever it took to check out the reading, if I were you. You won’t regret it.
It’s not often that seeing an author will have an impact on how you perceive the book. At least not for me, but I might be more pigheaded than most. I guess I should probably qualify that. It might have an impact on your perception if you haven’t read the book already. But I usually only see authors read after I’ve read the book.
Anyway, after reading The Night of the Gun I had a vague sense of dread when it came to the reading. Carr had struck me as kind of arrogant and, with all the buzz of the book, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to participate anymore. You know?
David Carr Reading:
Tonight, Aug 18 7:30 p.m.
(with Garrison Keillor)
Virginia Street Swedenborgian Church
170 Virginia St., St. Paul
Let’s all just give a small thanks to the universe for giving the planet Jim Walsh. He was the tipping point that got me off my ass and to the bookstore. Magers & Quinn very smartly sent out an e-mail saying that Walsh would be conducting a Q&A with Carr at the reading.
I am so glad that I went. Like I said, the reading was amazing. What came off as arrogance in print was nothing but unabashed gratefulness and graciousness in person. Carr told the audience how when he was reading in Denver the day before one of the bookstore employees introduced him and said, now here’s the author, and Carr just thought “wow, he’s here, where is he?”
He also talked about just how lucky he was. How being a white guy in Minnesota gave him all kinds of chances and opportunities, even as a junkie, than he’d have gotten if he were someone else some place else.
He also spent a lot of time talking about how his family and writing helped pull him through the darkness and keep him (mostly) clean for the past twenty years. It was actually really sweet. Someone asked him what it was about the birth of his daughters that changed him and Carr said it was the serendipity of these beings falling on him from such a great height that affected him. He said that when he was leaving the hospital with the twins some eight-year-old kid asked him, “Where’d you get them?” “Even the kid could tell they shouldn’t be with me,” Carr said.
He went on to say that he could be a bad guy, a bad son, a bad husband, but he just didn’t have it in him to be a bad dad. Then he sang the song he used to sing for his girls, with a little lyrical help from the audience. It was really sweet.
At one point Walsh asked him what it was about writing, and why he kept writing even when things got bad. And this was my absolute favorite quote of the night.
“I felt that if I didn’t type, I’d disappear.”
The best part of the evening was the signing. I won’t go into again, but if you want to read about it, head on over I Will Dare. Like I said, make arrangements so you can go hear him read, you won’t regret it.