amongst books

amongst books

Sunday, October 28, 2012

OIWF DAY 4: Jian Ghomeshi

attended only one event yesterday, went to see Jian Ghomeshi read from & talk about his book 1982, the story of his 14-year-old self,  a crush on a girl named Wendy because she looked like David Bowie, eyeliner, androgyny…you know, the 80s. Host Lucy van Oldenbarneveld & Jian had a great rapport. He was funny, charming, self-deprecating & entertaining. he talked about how enriching it was to have had an arts education, going to a school for the arts in Thornhill, how supportive his family was even when they didn't understand why a boy would don eyeliner or wear black boots or not want to be an engineer or doctor.

As a first generation Iranian immigrant to Canada, he had a tough time fitting in during his youth & felt like an outsider. I'm an ardent fan of Q, his CBC Radio show & was a fan of his former band Moxy Fruvous. I was very surprised to learn that someone as poised & confident as he seems to be now, at least in public, felt like an outsider as a teen.  I found adolescence painful as a latch key kid living in an apartment with my working class family in the Toronto burbs not relating to my richer classmates & their fancy houses. I tried hard to blend in, to not be noticed. can only imagine what kind of difficulties someone who was clearly different, being from Iran, at a time when Iran was vilified, would have to go through. Today, as Jian pointed out, once more Iran is seen in a bad light by North Americans. film portrayals of Iranians are often one dimensional & cruel, such as the recent film "Argo."
The event took place in the Knox Presbyterian Church sanctuary & it was sold out. afterward there was a long line up to meet him, but we left. I would have liked to have said hello to Jian, have exchanged the occasional word or two on Twitter with him, but I am not one for long line ups. I could have gone up to the hospitality suite to meet him, but I'm not one for late nights either & I'm shy with strangers anyway. I admire what he does with Q very much. I very much hope that young people get a chance to hear him read from 1982. the issue of conformity & not fitting in are still sources of pain to teens. I think this book would resonate for them.

today I am looking forward to the Plan 99 Poetry event with my dear friend Marcus McCann, Matthew Tierney & Nylan Matuk at 5pm at the Manx Pub, a small but quintessential literary pub, hosted by the handsome poet & playwright David O'Meara. I am also excited about the Long Story Short fiction event with Nadine McInnis, Miranda Hill & Steven Heighton, hosted by the also very handsome poet & dear friend Stephen Brockwell. hope to see you there. please bring me chocolate.

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