>flesh and words

April 9, 2008 § Leave a comment


I feel like a superhero: Kim was supposed to go with me to see Tobias Wolff read tonight at Barnes & Noble, but she pulled her back and spent the day at home, in pain. When I got home from teaching, I collected my leftover meds from when I pulled my back in November. I threw on my jogging clothes, and ran to her house with a Ziploc full of goodies.

I told her I would like to become a jogging nurse. It feels good to make people happy by administering pills. She suggested I would do better as a drug dealer. It’s nice to know I have options.

Once again, my body felt so good in motion.

I still went uptown to see The Great Tobias Wolff read.

He was taller and lankier than I imagined. I was shocked by how normal it became, after only minutes, to sit so close to Tobias Wolff and listen to him read. Maybe the neon Barnes and Noble lighting jarred the romance.

Don’t get me wrong for one second. I am absolutely in awe. But Toby was pushing it a bit with the talking dog story, “Her Dog.”

He acknowledged this: “The fun of being a writer is throwing the dice every so often.” But dog stories!

Hester Kaplan has a great anecdote. She sent her publisher a story about a dog, and her publisher wrote back, “No more f-ing dog stories!”


Toby appeased me: “There are no other talking-dog stories in my oeuvre, but now I’ve got one.”

You know what, Toby? You can do anything you want and I will follow you down. Nobody else can stand in front of a crowded bookstore and say that writing is “a heroic attempt to get at the truth through the agency of the imagination.” Who talks like that? I’ll tell you who: The Great Tobias Wolff.

Tomorrow night: my second Toby reading. And this one is located in an independent bookstore, which I believe is the opposite of B&N. I’m going to be riding on the next humpback whale to outer space (i.e. heaven).

Brian Bouldrey prescribes Zen or Amish country, this website, and Chekhov plays for my ailments.


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