“You can’t write poems and drive.”
These were the first six words spoken into the microphone in the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery this past Tuesday night. Seems quite fitting that such lines would be spoken by author Melissa Broder at a book event. Broder—author of The Pisces, So Sad Today, and a Twitter feed made of broken dreams—is full of one-liners like this; ones that function as both comedic fodder and insightful mediations of a creative’s existence.
Book events are weird. They’re elusive: a fact that causes them to both sound a tad bit lame and continue to nebulously exist. Choosing to attend one this past week was like taking a leap into the depths of LA’s literati. Hosted by PEN America in partnership with millennial-centric bookclub, Belletrist, the evening focused on Broder and poet Morgan Parker—two LA-based authors with a penchant for witty writing.
Musicians have concerts; authors have readings. Getting the chance to see authors read their own work is the single most uncanny experience. Reading is inherently an act of solitude; a mode of self-imposed silence to the outside world. When Broder and Parker took to the stage to read passages from their work, their delivery was electric. Watching the person behind the page come alive before you is equal parts thrilling and inspiring.
Second to reading books, talking about books is one of the single greatest activities. The evening’s conversation tackled creative flow, LA’s power to fuel writing, and even touched on The Real Housewives franchise. Needless to say, it was an evening well spent.
Book events may be weird, but they sure are special.