The great news is that Sherman Alexie will be visiting our neck of the woods soon (Willamette University, March 11).
The bad news is the event is sold out, and so I will not get a chance to see Mr. Alexie this time around.
But since he will be in town, and conceivably walking the streets of Salem, perhaps he will find his way here to the Book Bin. He is, after all, a huge supporter of independent bookstores, and besides, what book lover can resist the magnetic pull of our gigantic store sign and all that it promises?
So, let us imagine Sherman Alexie here at the Book Bin where I shake his hand and fall back on all my Southern Californian charm, “Dude…Sherman Alexie. Wow.” Then, bringing some Bay Area to the table, “You are hella dope. For real.” And because I am now living in the Pacific Northwest, I will just stand next to him and observe the falling rain (because, yes it will be raining), and nod knowingly while I eat a filbert, or an oyster, or a recently foraged mushroom. Chewing slowly I will gather my thoughts, so when I open my mouth again I can convey to him the following:
“About a year ago, I picked up an advance reading copy of “Blasphemy” in the staff break room, and it filled me up for days. It made me think of my father and brothers. Do you know some Vietnamese folks? Because sometimes you write like you do. There were times I laughed out loud, and times I cried a little, all in the break room, so maybe a bit awkward for my co-workers (sorry everyone, for that time). But isn’t that the power of great writing? The level of emotion it engenders, the circuitous way it can bring you back to yourself? Mr. Alexie, thank you for “Blasphemy” and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” and “The Business of Fancydancing” and the numerous books I haven’t read yet but hope to. Thank you for being brilliant and principled on and off the page. Thank you for being hilarious. And thank you for coming into the downtown Book Bin, because we’ve got this location out on Lancaster, and if you had gone there I would not have been able to say any of this to you. Funny how things work out.”