Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I've been reading Amy Tan's collection of essays about her life. It's an excellent book, and her life is at least as interesting as her fiction. The one I'm currently up to is about being in the Rock Bottom Remainders, and it makes me very happy that Daniel and I stumbled upon a performance of theirs back in college.

We'd driven into LA for a book fair. The fair was something of a disappointment. It was all hot sun and vendor stalls selling books. (Looking at books became a lot less fun when I started trying to save money by getting all my reading material from the library. It's like going to a candy store after getting your wisdom teeth out.) Anyway, while wandering around, we heard music and following it led to an outdoor stage surrounded by a huge crowd.

Stephen King wasn't there that day, and the only other writers I'm really familiar with in the band are Dave Barry and Amy Tan. But I was still really excited to see them. I love the idea of an amateur rock-group made up of successful, profession, big-time writers. Probably partly because joining a group like that someday is part of my fantasy that involves seeing my books for sale in grocery store check-out lines. Completely far-fetched. At any rate, their music was really good -- classic oldies, guitars, drums. Really good. And we got to see Amy Tan's big number -- "These Boots Are Made For Walking" -- including a special guest appearance from Dr. Demento.

Reading Amy Tan's essay about how she came to join the group and take on that song is much spiffier for actually having the memory of seeing her perform it. Furthermore, I'm really enjoying the way that her essay has brought back a memory of mine that had almost faded out of memory and made it electric again. Memory's a funny thing -- the way that different tellings of a story can reinforce or cancel each other like waves. It's like an inverse disolphony.

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