Thursday, June 09, 2005

Mr. Nick Hornby was in Philly last night giving a presentation as part of the Philadelphia Free Library Author Series. He read from his new book, Long Way Down and fielded questions from an adoring audience. Here are a few that were memorable.

Q: What are you listening to these days?
A: Really like the Magic Numbers. They'll be releasing their first American cd next week. Folky-Rock sort of group composed of 2 sets of brother-sister combo. Critics have described them as sort of like The Mamas and the Papas....Bollocks on that. There are some fat people in the group, so the critics think..."Hmmm, they sing in harmonies...they're fat..Hey! They sound like Meatloaf/Mamas & Papas." Regardless of the critics, I highly recommend them.
Q: Do you still smoke?
A: Yes, unfortunately that's the price of being a writer. I take smoking breaks late at night outside in my yard and think deep thoughts. Deep thoughts, that's what we writers have. So, for any budding young writers out there, I would strongly recommend taking up smoking if you already aren't deep into the fags already.

Q: It's hard to finish your books becauses you know you won't see those characters again? Any chance you'd consider doing a follow-up or sequel?
A: Some of my books are complete; I don't think the characters have anywhere else interesting to go to. Or, the point that I was trying to make with the story, with the characters has been made and it's tiem to move on. High Fidelity is a possibility. I'd like to see where the couple would go. We'll see.

Q: This new book is about some folks that are pretty depressed. Is that how you find yourself most of the time?
A: Well, maybe not depressed. How about miserable? Sounds a bit more optimistic than depressed. Yeah, I'm a quarter full glass kind of guy. I find humor in being miserable, well, I mean, I get myself out of misery by trying to find the gag in it. It's tough on the folks around me, my wife, my kids, my friens, my agent while I'm down ther, deep in misery. It must seem to them at times it's not worth the wait for me to come up. Sort of like a deep-sea diver. I'm down there in the deep while my support crew are up top wondering if I'll make it. I always do. And it's two thing that do it for me. Humor and Music. If one doesn't do the trick, the other will. As far as being depressed, I think that if I were depressed I'd think about suicide, like the 4 characters in this book. But I never did as a teenager and I never have as an adult, even when I went through decades where I coudn't get anything published.

He spoke and answered questions for about an hour and was his usual denigrating humble self. The audience was in absolute adoration mode; while he was reading, some folks were laughing nervously at parts of his readings that wer not meant to be funny. This is Nick Hornby! We should all be laughing. There was an intensity of attention paid to every word or motion. If he had said "Boo" at any point, I'm sure someone would have had a heart attack. I bought a copy of the book before the reading. When the Q & A was finsihed, I mosied over to the line for Hornby's autograph. It wound itself back twice, easily over an hour of waiting. A quick roundabout and I left the building, book unsigned, savoring another chance to have heard him speak.

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