Sunday, March 28, 2004

Dedicated

I'm very exciting about attending an event that's part of Blue Metropolis later this week: Paul Auster reading from his most recent novel, Oracle Night.

I've been planning. J-F has been notified of being on baby duty. I'm still trying to figure out how to reserve my ticket without paying more than 100% markup of handling fees and service charges. (What's the difference between handling fees and service charges?)

I've been daydreaming too. J-F joked that of course it's fine if I step out for the evening, to a reading, he just doesn't want me going for drinks with Paul Auster afterwards. I'd already dreamed up an impossible, incredibly naive and unimaginative scenario in which Paul Auster simply spots me in line to have a book signed by him and falls instantly in love with me, and yes we do go out for drinks afterwards.

I have not yet decided which book I will offer up for a signature. As much as Oracle Night intrigues me since I stumbled upon it a couple months ago, and intrigues me even more since I saw Paul Auster on Charlie Rose, the purchase of a full-price hardcover (gasp!) may have to wait.

That leaves the choice of my very ratty paperback version of The New York Trilogy or the recently acquired bargain-priced Book of Illusions (perhaps I should read it first). J-F wants me to take The Book of Illusions. He doesn't really care about the book — he just wants me to leave the sale sticker price on it and wait for a reaction. (We played with this scenario even before watching Duplex the other night, which incorporates some very funny observations regarding the writerly life.)

The New York Trilogy changed my life. (Come to think of it, that's all I've ever read by Paul Auster. Yet that's enough for me to consider him significant. Of course, I loved Smoke and Lulu on the Bridge as well. Still, The New York Trilogy changed my life.) It made me sabotage my own (potential) success in certain philosophy courses I was taking. It made me reread Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It awakened in me a fascination with the myth of Babel. It consolidated my interest in semantics and perception. These things may seem minor, but really they speak to the essence of my being. Really. Things could've been very different.

I'd really like to take a copy of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis along for Paul Auster to dedicate to me. See, Don DeLillo dedicated Cosmopolis to Paul Auster (that is, the novel itself, all instances of it, not just a particular copy, though he probably did that too, but one could only assume that copy would be in Paul Auster's personal collection and not something I could get my hands on), and I thought it would be cool if Paul Auster signed a copy "To Isabella," as if the original dedication bestowed on him the power of ownership and mastery over the novel's fate, and I would explain to Paul Auster that no, the book wasn't for me, I intended to give it to someone as a gift, after I personally inscribed it (this is really where it all falls apart, because I'd really be quite unlikely to part with such a thing, unless of course, he were willing to sign two copies...), and in this way we would each have given the novel a different life potential, a chain of potential, even though it's manifest in a mere series of scribbles on just one person's shelf, but still preserving aspects from each of us. Kind of like Schrodinger's cat, but not really, and it's a book.

(Must an author be dead before we refer to them by their surname alone? Hemingway, Tolstoy, Don DeLillo, Paul Auster.)

Yes, I'm very much looking forward to my date with my boyfriend Paul Auster.
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