Stephen Elliot (Looking Forward To It Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the American Political Process) was the host for the evening. All of the authors were there to get Ohioans (specificly college students) registered to vote. First four of the authors would speak, then there'd be an intermission for conversation, autographs, potty break, etc and then the last three authors would speak.
First Julie Orringer (How to Breathe Underwater) spoke about her sister who teaches English in an elementary school in Los Angeles. Her sister gave the class an assignment to write President George Bush to let him know what they think of the job he is doing. It was pretty funny. She then spoke about her first recollection of a presidential election. It touched me the most I think.
Next was Anthony Swofford (Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles). He's not much older than myself and wrote a short story about the first time he voted in a presidential election. His name didn't ring a bell with me, but when I heard the name of his book, I knew I knew him from somewhere. We had gone to a Friends of the Library book sale not long ago and his book was one we bought. A large grocery sack of books for $1 is a bargain! Anyway, I digress. Now I'm really looking forward to going through my pile of books to read so I can get to the library books.
Third was Vendela Vida (Girls on the Verge: Debutante Dips, Gang Drive-Bys, and Other Initiations). She read a poem that she's been thinking about off and on for the last few months and then she read some of her entries in the Future Dictionary of America.
Next was Stephen Elliott. He read an excerpt from his novel that is taken from his experiences on campaign trail. He chose to read part that took place in Ohio.
After Stephen read was the intermission. He also took the opportunity to explain that students had the opportunity to have an author call them on November 2nd and remind them to vote. Only students would be eligible for this reminder. Authors included the ones there and additional ones such as Tobias Wolff.
Rick Moody (Purple America) read a new work. I think it was titled "The Carlyle Group. It got to be a bit long for me, but was still enjoyable.
Next to last was Jim Shepard (Project X). He read the beginnings of three of his short stories that were published somewhat recently. They were all narrated by the first person point of view. I think I'd like to read his new book, Project X.
Last, but not least, was Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius). He brought down the house with his short story, "Your Mother and I". It's a father talking to his 11-year-old daughter about him and her mother. They are making nachos during this conversation although the nachos are never mentioned. :) It's a good use of how you only hear one side of the conversation but you know what's going on at the other end.
It was inspiring to see and hear these authors. Each person had a different style, but each one had something to share. Not everyone came with a message (other than please vote on November 2nd) but they all shared a piece of themselves. They made it look so easy. I know it's not, but they sure made it look that way.