Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Two Chairs Telling with Carla Vogel, May 19th.

On Tuesday, May 19th, I'm presenting with Carla Vogel as part of the Two Chairs Telling series at the Open Eye Theater in Minneapolis. Looks like our topic will be Urban Legends and Folk Superstitions.  

I've always had a soft spot for both. Even in the face of absurdity, they gave my friends and I many a laugh over the years as each attempted to find some story so utterly absurd yet so possibly true. 

One of my very favorite collections include The Big Book of Urban Legends  which brought together the artistic talents of some of the top names in mainstream and independent comics with some of the most well-known stories of the day.

But I'm also a bit of a purist and I believe that an urban legend, like a folk tale, is best told aloud, with all the individual nuances and special touches a human being brings to the telling.

A few years ago, there was a news item about the last public letter writer in Vietnam who wrote and read letters for the local villagers.  What sticks with me from the article was:
"He hates computers and mobile phones, too. “Words that come from a machine have no soul,” he says, adding that people who use such machines have lost all politeness and sense of proper style."
I can empathize. It's often been a point for me to always hand-address the envelopes and to take care with the inscriptions in my books that people order directly from me. A well-written note and that personalization feels more like what I always hope the whole encounter with my book will be: Not merely ink before eyes, but the soul talking to another soul. 

And maybe I'm too romantic about the matter, but I'd like to think that that sort of exchange sets in motion something marvelous.  As the physicist Paul Dirac liked to say: "Pick a flower on earth, you move the farthest star..."

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