The Day I Met Dave Eggers

Today i met Dave Eggers,

And he was hella cool. the Q and A session was interesting. i asked him about the literary value of entertainment versus craft, commercial versus literary in his writing and he said that it was really important for his writing to be entertaining, that he liked contemporary writers like barthelme, david foster wallace and rick moody alot, that experimentalist do wonderful, smart things with form, but they don't have a sense of humor. . . which is often so true . . and he wanted that in his writing.

And then tonight, at the book signing, i talked to dave and valentino for maybe 5 minutes or so, i told dave how i volunteered in west africa.

--where were you in africa? Dave asked.
--burkina faso.
--oh, really?
--yeah, i said, and what's crazy is, when i moved to portland, i end up translating for this mauritanian refugee at his political asylum interview at the INS because i speak french and i'm used to the africa french accent, and it was there that i realized how powerful language can really be.
--yeah, totally, dave said.
Valentino nodded.
then i told dave how i just recently sent a story to McSweeney's and asked him if he might consider taking a look at it.
--sure, he said, i've love to. you'll want to resend it because it's already in the machine, but i'd love to take a look, especially if it's about burkina faso. just tell the editors i asked you to send it to me.
--cool, i said,
--what's your name? he asked.
--jackson bliss.
--jackson BLISS? he said incredulously.
--yeah, i said.
--and oh valentino, i went on, i want you to know that i wrote my congressmen several years ago on behalf of darfur and he was one of the congressmen who helped passed legislation.
--the sudan act.
--yeah, that's the one, i said.
--thank you.

I shook valentino's hand, dave shook mine, jackson was very very stoked.

When i came home, i read what dave eggeres had written. In:

He Wrote:

[picture of a strange blob] <-----Robert, IV


He Wrote:


so good to know you're here.

Of course, Dave Eggers is being a smart-ass and he writes random stuff like this in everyone's book, but i appreciate the evolution between the first lower case jackson with a period and the second uppercase jackson with an exclamation point. pathetic, i know, but these little things matter when you're an emerging writer. and until dave eggers and me are sharing the same stage or interviewing each other for TIN HOUSE magazine, i'll take this small little moment of writerly connection.