W: Right now we're drinking champagne in our nice hotel room listening to a tape of Coover's keynote. He clearly likes us. There's nothing like popping a champagne cork off an 8th floor balcony, provided by the Marriott (with a fine view of downtown Atlanta) for our smoking pleasure.
S: We're listening to Coover on tape. Coover's a great man. We just heard his keynote at the banquet but his keynote bears relistening. And he wished me a happy birthday. I like text, man, words are great. William and I have had the opportunity to get to know more than one great American novelist, but the whole bunch of them, a case of Dom Perignon, and Elvis in a '68 pink Cadillac don't hold a candle to Coover.
I wonder what Coover was thinking when he wrote a hypertext on punch cards back in '68, or when he wrote a novel about a messiah figure amongst a town suffering from a mining disaster, or when he wrote a massive novel about Nixon and the Rosenbergs, or what made him want to write Pinnochio and Venice, or what drove him to write a book about the way movies tell stories. Coover was the answer to the last question on the final exam in my Intro to Grad Study class at ISU. Coover taught two of my writing teachers. I've decided to buy Patchwork Girl and have a pretty deep level of respect for Bobby Rabyd. I hope he gets tenure at Brown. Atlanta's nice and the people at Georgia Tech have treated us real well, but Brown, man, that's where we shoulda went to school. Ahhhhhhhh.
W: I am at this moment as happy as the caterpillar who climbs the flagpole. Upon the eighth level of this modern and antiseptic building we lift our champagne flutes to the stars and the powerful shafts of spotlights crisscrossing the Atlanta sky. From this balcony, from this position of academic male economic privilege, our clumsy pedestal, we listen to a Coover bootleg.
This champagne tastes like bad saliva. We are moths trapped under an overturned jar. Fluttering at the light. In Atlanta.
According to Scott, Coover read The Unknown at Harvard.
S: Visited it there at Harvard, yep. We're bragging again. Let's stop doing that. I notice that William has thrust us back into identities. See dirk.htm for more extended discussion of this issue, after a couple links. Some things Coover said, paraphrased while listening to it:
I'M FAITHFULLY WED TO TEXT
READING IS THE MOST INTERACTIVE THING THAT WE AS HUMANS DO
WRITERS WON'T TAKE THAT (ERASURE TO PURE IMAGE AND VIDEO) LYING DOWN
So last night we got trashed with an interactive surfing movie producer named Tim, an Aussie. He was a nice guy. We drank about .75 liters of Maker's Mark in our hotel room. Tim fell into a lamp which shattered on the floor. Then we went to Buckhead and drank pints in a bar while a couple guys played easy listening tunes in this bar and then danced in this other bar. You ever seen William dance? It's pretty funny, a girl was grinding him. Then we took a cab back to our hotel. Tim fell out of the cab, first. Then I tried to help him up. Tim's a strong guy, he's into soccer. My shoes were new dress shoes, they didn't have much gription. I fell to the pavement face first. That's how I started out my twenty-ninth year. In the morning, I got berated by an internet visionary. In the evening, Coover praised our work. This life, it's a yin yang kind of thing. So it goes.
W: Luckily, I managed to hold my liquor (some of it) and managed to orchestrate getting us a cab and getting someone else to pay for it. Tim. He told us about his budget for the conference. After that, we had him wrapped around our little finger. I mean: we paid exorbitant amounts to get here and stay here and read here, while Tim's budget included travel and lodging and registration and there was, I think, 1000 (Australian) dollars left over.
What is that money for, I asked.
Making important business connections (he replied nonsensically) getting people's cards.
I gave him our card:
And made him drive us to a neighborhood that was like a cut-rate Mardi Gras and buy us pints of Bass.
Afterward, he remembered none of it, not even dancing.
What does it mean when you can't remember dancing?
What does that say about your dancing?
S: Well, I dance, William, I let the spirit move through me. Sure your dancing moves ladies to have illicit acts with your leg, but mine is, well, mine. Okay, you can move. When you dance, it's like the wind picking up each individual willow leaf as it ripples down the plain. But I believe we were praising Marjorie Luesebrink...
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William and Scott talk to the Marriott Bartender 5: Pumpkins