Kamis, 14 Mei 2009

Ann Patchett

I went with a group of friends to hear Ann Patchett speak tonight. The Capital Area District Library brought her in as part of the 2009 Spring Author Series. She was fantastic! She shared hilarious stories and talked of her reluctance to tell people that she is a novelist. On some recent occasion -- a gathering of people in Tennessee who share the same (long and odd) last name as her husband -- she did tell someone she was a novelist. The woman said, "We are all novelists. We all have a novel inside us." Patchett said, "Oh Really? Are we all mathematicians? Do we all have an algebraic equation in us?" She mentioned the much-discussed rule of 10,000 hours and did not hesitate to emphasize how hard she has worked, how many hours she has logged. She also shared the story of her friendship with Renee Fleming. After Bel Canto was published, Patchett found out that all of the arias her fictional character sang happened to be all of the arias Fleming sings. People started saying Patchett had written a book about Renee Fleming. One day, Renee Fleming called Patchett and invited her to lunch. Patchett hadn't known anything about opera before she wrote the book, and still didn't know much about it when she met Fleming. Now they are great friends. I came home and pulled out my copy of Fleming's The Inner Voice, which I have not read, just to check when it was published. Yes...it was published after Bel Canto, and among the many acknowledgments printed at the beginning of the book, the first listed is a tribute of thanks to Ann Patchett. Ha!

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