Sebastian Barry event – Highland Park Public Library

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If I’m too busy to report on a Sebastian Barry event I am very busy, indeed. I have seven minutes’ worth of his reading but was too transfixed to take even one photo. You heard me correctly and I’m equally boggled. Fortunately, I had with me a friend since my college years and she had a camera. Starstruck as she was, her mind didn’t short circuit as did my own. I believe she has photos for me, thank the gods above.

Lest I allow the event to pass unrecorded, here’s at least a brief recap.

Reader, he is an amazing man. A gentleman and a scholar. With one hell of an Irish brogue. Two library employees said the same thing to me, “OH GOD, HIS VOICE!”

Tell me about it.

The gentleman librarian’s eyes sparkled more than the woman who worked with the bookstore to facilitate the event. I thought his head would explode. I had to laugh. Sounded like he had just won the lottery or snagged a supermodel. Before he met Mr. Barry he was sort of ho hum, another program. Must do sound check. After, I thought he’d changed his sexual preference. Easy, man!  He doesn’t go that way and he’s pretty well taken care of, from what I can tell. He was going to call his wife, to have her come to the event. I’m thinking, okay, if you want her to never look at you the same way again, go for it.  If you are secure enough in your masculinity, who am I to judge?

Silly man.

Sebastian Barry read the first chapter of his latest book, The Temporary Gentleman, which I couldn’t properly review after I read it, being too partial a fan. I could barely form cogent thoughts (shut up, you) and what I produced reads more like a drunken ramble.  More a drunk dial: “I love you, man!”! “You’re my best friend!” Sad, really.

Actually, pathetic.

The thing is, aside from the brogue his delivery can take your breath away. May as well pack up your writing tools, m’dear, and take down your shingle. You are far, far too late and lacking. Though, I have to hand it to him, he is rather generous as far as those who struggle and toil at the trade, thinking what’s the use, it’s been done before. And it has. That’s the thing. But he stated something to the effect that the individuality of voice renders that point moot. If it weren’t so, literature would have stopped a very long time ago. How many plots are there? Some small number I don’t feel like looking up.

Last Monday’s reading was different than the first time I saw him, in Oak Brook. Different in a good way. The delivery was, again, heavenly but I don’t recall him being quite so funny. Something definitely boosted his mood, judging from the content and his thought process. Really, it was wonderful to see him looking so well and happy. Warms the heart.

Unfortunately, I have to go. I know, I know. Breaks your heart. But this weekend my middle child – at 18, he’s legally an adult – is graduating from high school and in under two weeks I’ll be flying to Dublin. If I decide to bring my laptop (surely I or my daughter will) I’ll do my best to post a play by play of the disaster we wreak. Poor Ireland has no idea what’s coming. Wales, either. If I wind up in the American consulate don’t be surprised. I haven’t been out of the country in a long, long time and have lots to make up for.

In advance, I am so so sorry.

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