Monday, October 25, 2004

The World According to Irving 

The Mother and I went to see John Irving as part of a lecture series tonight (thanks to The Aunt and Uncle for the tickets). He read the first chapter of his next novel and answered some questions. While I love to read, I often find it tedious to hear about a writer's "process." This is mostly because I can't even begin to fathom writing a novel, and the whole thing is a little bit beyond my comprehension. But Irving was an interesting fellow, and it helped that I've greatly enjoyed the two books of his that I've read.

One kooky tidbit: after turning in the manuscript for the new book and receiving the money for it, he asked for it back (and gave back the money) because he decided it ought to be a third-person novel instead of a first-person. So he's spent the past six months putting his longest novel to date into the third person..... which just seems insane.

He also recounted a story from the night he won his Oscar for the Cider House Rules screenplay. He said he really had to take a whiz, so right after accepting the award he rushed off to the men's room. Having never been in a bathroom with an Oscar before, he said he had a bit of a tough time figuring out whether to hold it, put it on the floor, etc. While he was debating this, Arnold Schwarzenegger came right up to him at the urinal and said, "Do you want me to hold that for you?" When Irving told his wife the story later, she said "Did he mean the Oscar?"

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