We were in an excellent near-the-doctor bookstore, BookCourt, as a reward for having made it through yet another yearly checkup. It was a golden afternoon. All was well: the kids were healthy, we'd had some ice cream, the only problem was: which book to buy? My two collaborators were working hard. Diana had one book in hand and was asking the very nice gentleman who worked there about another, when she spied yet a third prominently displayed on the wall. "Oh! Wait! I want that one!"
Very nice gentleman who worked there: That one?
Diana: Yes! Those are really funny!
VNGWWT: Are you here for the reading?
Me: What reading?
VNGWWT: That author is going to be here in 15 minutes!
Me (being embarrassingly motherly): Did you hear that, Diana? He's going to be here in 15 minutes! Do you want to stay for it!? (Why the chirpy enthusiasm when it wasn't even a book I knew? I have no idea. It's some freaky mother thing, like lower testosterone.)
Diana, with shrug: Nah. I just want the book.
VNGWWT (very cheerily): Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha….
And off she went.
What does it all mean? Why the lack of interest? I have no memory of any readings when I was a kid, the author's actual existence as a real live person never fully was clear to me. The book itself was everything. And sometimes I wonder about the (what feels to me) more current obsession with the author. It seems like an offshoot of the overall obsession with celebrity culture, though of a gentler, nerdier sort.
But then again, the authors may very much like being known, maybe for them it's a wonderful new development, this focus on the producers of the work as well as the work itself?
And maybe it doesn't matter: some kids are more focused on the author, others more on the book, and everywhere in between.
What about you guys? Do you care about the author? Or you with Diana on the general,, "Nah."?