OK so you remember my ridiculous encounter with Geoff Dyer from last year? It included this:
Finally he sat back down and there we were. There was a moment’s silence. I didn’t know who was supposed to speak first, or what they were supposed to say. I said “Hello” a bit too loudly. Then I sort of gestured towards him with the book I’d just bought and mangled out a sentence requesting that he sign it. It immediately occurred to me that I ought to have made some sort of polite (ideally complimentary) small talk before making this request. The encounter was not going well. He took the book, opened it to the title page and reviewed the post-it note. He began writing. I wanted to say something, but the only thing in my mind was the sentence Mette and I had just agreed I wouldn’t say. “Um, a few weeks ago I didn’t know anything about you.” Christ. He stopped writing. “And then I saw all these really great reviews and interviews and I really enjoyed the event and.” I’m afraid I don’t recall the exact form of words with which I tied off this abomination.
Obviously writing that blog post was a way of exorcising this encounter, as was repeating the story to anyone who would listen. Fortunately, I got to meet Mr. Dyer again the other week and tell him the story, bringing the whole thing full circle, and he was, like, pretty cool with it as far as I can tell, so I think it’s all good. I also offered to hook him up with a guy who could get him a dog, since he’d written in his new book Zona (it’s about the Tarkovsky movie Stalker – which you can see in its entirety online here – and it’s a fun read) that he really really wanted a lurcher. He said no to the dog thing, on account of his having to do so much travel, and also quite possibly because it was entirely weird. Anyway.
That was at a Litquake Epicenter event where Dyer was interviewed on stage by the film critic David Thomson, who I previously wrote about here, so it was generally an exciting thing to go to. I asked a question about the style (surprisingly and hilariously strange) that Zona is written in and Dyer gave a good answer, which included an expression that seemed far too good just to have been made up on the spot: “What I love about jokes is their economy. A great joke is an idea in miniature,” but I haven’t been able to track it down anywhere else so I guess we just have to accept that Dyer is pretty handy with aphorisms.