Why, why, why did they have to schedule the first annual Berkshire WordFest the one weekend Anuj and I are out of town this summer?

I had the rumored festival in my calendar since winter, but never found anything online to substantiate it, so last month I deleted it and made plans for our annual trip to Maine.

Now they’ve announced the festival lineup and I’m totally bummed I won’t get to be there and soak up the pearls of writerly wisdom dispensed by the likes of Kurt Andersen, Francine Prose, Laura Miller, Susan Orlean, Katie Roiphe, and Judith Thurman.

When it comes to writers and thinkers I admire, I am a complete dork.  I attend book signings, literary festivals, debates, I listen to podcasts, I follow them on Twitter. Every week I save the Book Review section of the Sunday Times for last like it’s dessert.  In grad school, I took a creative writing class with A.M. Homes not because I had any real desire to write fiction, but because she was simply my then-favorite writer.  Indeed, my attempt to produce a short story was so disastrous, I begged her to let me submit a short play instead.

As much as I love to read books, and collect more books than I’ll ever read, I’m hopelessly infatuated with the people who write them.  I like the personalities, the love affairs, the alcohol, the breakthroughs, the comebacks, the bad movie adaptations (and the rare good ones).  I like the controversy and notoriety kicked up by old white men, angry young women, and blasphemous South Asians.  I’m a sycophant, a wannabe.

Which reminds me, I’ve got to get to Steepletop this summer.

Let me qualify this little look into my crazy side by saying my playwriting is completely separate from all this.  I do not have a groupie thing going on with the theater.  That’s not to say I don’t have my heroes, but it’s a different kind of admiration.  Maybe because I’m on the inside of that world, I see it differently (note: being on the inside does not make one an ‘insider’).  And maybe if I were on the inside of the book world, I’d be a little more blase about a new literary festival rolling into town.

More on the Berkshire WordFest here.

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