An Ellroy encounter
I thought I'd read my program carefully, but I missed the fact that James Ellroy would be signing books at the Mystery Bookstore booth Saturday afternoon. Somehow, I ended up talking to him -- well, he was talking to my friend and I butted in, fangirl that I am.
Ellroy is all bluster and charm, more than I could possibly capture in a blog post. But I can tell you:
When I was relating what happened in a panel I'd been to earlier that day, he stopped me cold. I was not, he instructed me clearly, to use the word "like" in conversation. (Apparently, I'd been saying "and then he, like, and then, like, she..." It wasn't deliberate. I had no idea I spoke like that.) And I was not to use the word "really," especially not as a query, or the word "totally." Sloppy and improper usage make the speaker sound unintelligent. Indeed. Score one for Ellroy.
Then -- to demonstrate precise language, I suppose -- he recited most of Auden's "In Memory of W.B. Yeats." I was stunned -- was I really listening to James Ellroy recite poetry? Indeed I was.
It was, like, totally awesome. Really.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo by Paul Fenton ZUMA KPA