I spent yesterday volunteering at the L.A. Times Book Festival, managing the long lines waiting to hear fiction writers expatiating on their art. It was great to be around so many book lovers, but my best moment came when a man strode up to me, obviously exercised about something.
He began to rant at me about the poetry event occurring next door, terribly upset because Jorie Graham had not shown up. He had driven from the far reaches of the San Fernando Valley to UCLA just to hear her, he told me, and she blew off the event! She's in New York! She didn't fly out! She never comes to the West Coast! This was going to be a Real Event! Now she's not here! On and on....but in a British accent, so it was okay. Almost everything sounds good if spoken in a plummy accent and in well-wrought sentences.
I made sympathetic noises and eventually he left, off to the next event. Aside from the entertainment value of his display of temper, it was great to see someone feel so passionately about a poet and her writing. It was also interesting that although the gentleman had figured out the night before that Ms. Graham would not/could not be in Los Angeles and New York at the same time (he had seen a listing of her New York event on line), he had let his yearning to see her in person overwhelm his rational knowledge that she was actually not in Los Angeles. He had hoped against hope, as well all do when we want something badly, and then was disappointed and angry when the brute facts became apparent.