Friday, February 02, 2007

Today, on the way to Gaylord's for a hot chocolate on this cold cold night (40 degrees, lawd help us Bay Area wussies!) with my sweetie-pie, we came upon a stately and friendly-looking couple on the sidewalk. Trevor suddenly raised his head from out of his parka and said, "Hello Willis," to which this "Willis" said, "Hello, how are you this evening?" and smiled brightly as we passed.

I asked Trevor who Willis was and he told me. Whoa. Apparently, not only is he a poet, translator, and editor of one of my honey's most esteemed reference books, The Gnostic Bible, but, according to Trevor's boss, Willis Barnstone is also responsible for introducing Borges to an English audience. Whoa whoa whoa. And we just bumped into him and exchanged pleasantries on our way to the cafe. Wild.

So why does Trevor know this guy? Because the Bay is host to so many creative minds, and because Trevor works at one of the most excellent places to shop for books in the EB, Diesel, a Bookstore.

I'm always about a little Diesel pimpery, but I also bring this up because I am sometimes blown away by the people he meets working there, and how non-nonplussed he is by meeting people he admires. His "whatever" attitude is enviable, and only embarrasses me when I think of my oft-enthusiastic fangirlism. But I guess when you're busy as all hell, waiting on Michael Chabon, or John Hodgman, or the man responsible for bringing Borges to an English-speaking audience is just a cool perk. It might also be that when authors are just nice and not rockstar about stuff it enables people to treat them like normal human beings.

As a sidenote of deft and tricky tangency mid-post, I have to say finally meeting David J and talking to him one on one really made me feel less fangirly and more just an admirer of someone who really seems both brilliant and kind, and also very very human. So, in addition to the above points, I suppose the original context you have for the person makes a difference. I've been a big Bauhaus fan since I was 15, and they broke up when I was 9. NEVER has David been anything but a somewhat nebulous musical hero -- maybe "concept" is a better word -- to me until recently, where I now actually think of him as a blood-filled homo sapien and not a merely a songwriting metahuman or alien humanoid who just happens to lay down some kickass earthbass. Trevor's context for most people he meets in the bookstore are as customers first, so I suppose he doesn't get a chance to be all "I love your work" or anything as a context first. Much better.

I'm making excuses for my behavior again, aren't I? Sigh. I suppose the truth is that Trevor is the even keeled one on this ride, and I'm good at le spaz de rationalizer. It's a delicate balance, and we manage it well.

Anyway, who are my favorite talented human beings I've met, whose acquaintance is totally related to Diesel putting on fantastic bookstore events and my being a Diesel groupie? Charles Burns, and the extemely pleasant and talented Craig Thompson. Great hug-giver, that Craig Thompson.

Flipside, there used to be a crazy lady who would steal cards from Trevor's old work and when she got caught she would freak out and say Trevor was some sort of pimp and all of the women who he worked with were his whores. Nice. Anyway, I was asking Trevor tonight who he had ever kicked out of Diesel, and this lady came up again! Only this time, Trevor had graduated from pimp to a murderer/rapist furthering the patriarchy (by not allowing her to steal cards or lie on the floor mumbling incoherently to herself in the children's books). Once removed from the store, instead of leaving the premises entirely, she stood outside in the middle of the sidewalk near the entryway with her arms crossed and glared at him. Good times.

So, yes, carrying on with Diesel, events, cool peeps to meet -- February is Black History Month. Even though it cannot be said that I am, or ever will be, a Lakers fan (Sorry, Jon -- go Kings!), I will post that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be at Diesel, a Bookstore on February 9 to sign his new book, On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance. Should be a good time, and Trevor will be there to keep y'all in line.


Blogger Knaak said...

There is a pretty fat set of stores here called "the tattered cover"- quiet multi leveled bookstores with unpretentious and non-corporate atmosphere. I hang out in the LoDo one during my lunch and before work to sketch a bit, or pick up a little of say, Borges the blind.

February 3, 2007 at 3:11:00 PM PST  
Blogger Trevor said...

Willis is a terrific fellow--he's so genuine and honestly caring. Also he's brilliant--so brilliant in fact, that sometimes I think, "why am I writing?"

But Willis probably had a similar person he looked up to at one time and about whom he felt the same. At least that is what I tell myself...

We have one of his poems up at Diesel, that he wrote specifically for us. I like it a lot and often read it.

February 3, 2007 at 4:41:00 PM PST  
Blogger Knaak said...

"mediocrity never rises above it's own level, but talet reconises true genius"

To paraphrase of course.

Applies to you.

There are abilities and styles that we can cultivate to unique and highly developed forms if we both tap into our innate patterns, rhythms, forms, as well as develop the ability to objectively observe how we are actually progressing.

I believe that, and I believe that you will step up to the next level when the time is right for you.. when awareness of things begin to coalesce into a powerful personal graphic.. and means of effective communication of ideas and styles.

February 3, 2007 at 8:17:00 PM PST  
Blogger Knaak said...

he he.. "talent recognises.." that is.

(speaking of the ability to communicate..wooo)

February 3, 2007 at 8:19:00 PM PST  
Blogger Trevor said...

Thanks, Craig. I really appreciate what you've said.

I like your idea of coalescing--that's a terrific verb, I think, to describe that moment when insight, expression, and that sense of "channeled other" all decide to cooperate.

February 5, 2007 at 10:41:00 PM PST  
Blogger Knaak said...

I look forward to more "casual-t wit"(npi) in the near future.. nice work with the update on yer site, btw

February 8, 2007 at 12:10:00 PM PST  

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