Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Night with the Taleses

Tomorrow night, I'm having dinner with Gay Talese and Nan Talese, along with my friend Paul and another couple.

If *that* doesn't make for an interesting New York evening, then I sure don't know what does. If any of the conversation can be repeated on the record, and in some level of detail that won't leave the very erudite people there sounding like a bunch of clods, I'll try to report back. Luckily, last time I had dinner and drinks with the Taleses (at their lovely Park Ave. townhouse), I discovered that Gay loves to talk as much as he loves to write. This was a good thing, since I didn't really know then (and still don't know now) what exactly I have to bring to this table besides an eager ear. I mean, what in the hell would I say? "Hi, I have a blog! I write for money, when I can! I know this great drinking game, it's called Take a Shot, Dummy! Don't you HATE what's happened to the lower east side on the weekends?"

To be honest, the Taleses are very, very nice people and didn't seem to mind at all my random presence (Gay knows my friend Paul, who is from South Dakota, from when he was covering the John Bobbit trial and Paul was Bobbit's attorney). In fact, Gay was nice enough to lie and say he could never make it as a freelance writer today, since according to him they're still paying the same per-word fees they were in the 1960s. Coming from the man who wrote what Esquire dubbed "The Greatest Story Ever Told," that made me feel somewhat less embarassed of my existence. Probably just because he's utterly a gentleman, Gay also asked to see a particular story I had written about the resurgence of buffalo on the Great Plains, so I mailed it to him along with my business card. A very prompt week later, I received a typed postcard from my hero Gay complimenting on the story (which was windy, repetitive, kind of pompous and yet still not entirely terrible for the college student I was at the time when I wrote it), with his signature at the bottom. I still have it in my room, hanging above my typewriter.

I'm going to try to think of a few semi-intelligent things ahead of the dinner this time so maybe I can pipe in with a sentence here or there and not sound like a borderline retard.

If anyone has a suggestion, other than "Hey Nan, did you think Oprah was a total BITCH or WHAT?" be my guest.


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