Have you ever wondered what it would be like to suddenly be transported into the body of a feted novelist? Have you ever thought, Gee, I wish there was a lever somewhere that I could yank and instantly become Colm Toibin, or Junot Diaz, or Nino Ricci, or Ethan Hawke?
Well, last night at the epic, shoulder-to-shoulder Walrus party (held, as usual, in the good ship Hospitality), someone yanked on said lever - for me, anyway. One minute, I was chatting with Joseph Boyden while simultaneously ogling Hari Kunzru's incredibly tailored suit. The next minute, I was being introduced to a glittering gaggle of influential publishing professionals as none other than, well... you'll see. I will change some names here, as I occasionally receive payment for "journalistic services rendered" that are signed by a few of these very people (which makes this even more unreal). But I will recount the scene for you in amateur, screenplay format:
Don (his hand on my shoulder) - Gerry, meet one of the brightest young stars of CanLit.
Me - Don, that's sweet of you, but please...
Don - No, really, I mean it. I've read your book.
Me - You... have?
Don - It's incredible! Virtuoso!
Me (quietly) - But it was only published two days -
Don - Gerry! You said you wanted to meet him. Here he is.
Gerry (poking me in the chest playfully) - YOU got me in S#!T with Sheila Heti!
Me - Ummm...
Gerry (still poking) - Five years ago.
Me - Yeah, you know what? I've never met -
Don - You drew those drawings?
Me - Drawings?
Don - The wrestling.
Gerry - She told me your stories were so good! I said, they can't be THAT good!
Me (inside my head) - Holy smokes, they think I'm Lee Henderson.
Don (laughing and slapping Gerry on the shoulder) - He doesn't want to admit he drew 'em.
Me (inside my head) - There's no way out. You'll just embarrass everyone.
Gerry - No kidding.
Me (inside my head) - Act! For the love of God, act!
Me (rather loudly, so that Kunzru could hear me) - Yep! Drew 'em myself.
Don - Great stuff.
Gerry - I shoulda listened to Sheila.
Kunzru (inside his head) - Yep?
Gerry (motioning to the woman next to him) - This is my friend, Janice. She's a budding fiction writer. I'm sure she's got some questions for you.
Janice (covering her mouth) - Oh, Gerry...
Me - No, no. I'd love to talk about fiction. I love fiction. It's what I write. Fiction.
Don (nodding) - ...
Gerry - Well, listen. Congratulations. I've got my eye on you.
Me (inside my head) - Of course you do. Everyone's got their eye on me. I'm Lee Henderson.
Me (outside my head) - Gerry, that's sweet of you.
Janice - Can you ever have two protagonists?
Don (backing away) - We mean it.
Me (quietly, while looking over my shoulder) - Janice, do I have a story for you.
Quote of the Day:
"You're Evil Lee."
- Lee Henderson