ntang (ntang) wrote,
ntang
ntang

Peter Straub

Peter Straub @ B&NI went to see Peter Straub speak tonight, at the Union Square Barnes and Noble, with a friend (who shall be known as S). We first met at Rainbow Falafel, got some food, and then walked over and ate and talked while we waited for him to show up.

Peter Straub, if you're not familiar with him, is an author. He's also the occasional editor; in this case, he was speaking about the new collection of stories he collected/edited - a new collection of classic HP Lovecraft stories. The talk was actually not about the book so much as it was about HP Lovecraft, both in his reception in the world of reviewers and as a part of the culture, and also about his life.

Straub had a slightly odd, halting way of speaking, which made more sense once he outright stuttered for the first time. (I guess it's actually not stuttering, exactly... I can't think of where I've seen it before, but it strikes me as an actual speech disorder, or perhaps a sign of some other affliction - he really struggled to get some words out, occasionally.) I have to say, though, he was a champ, working right through the occasional misstep, and it was actually a bit inspiring to see - I've seen people who had problems like that who ran off, embarrassed, but he had the courage to keep going despite it. He actually gave a very entertaining speech, and his problems speaking didn't really bother me at all. He made Lovecraft's life wonderfully interesting, and kept the talk amusing, and while I didn't know much about him before this, I imagine it wasn't something that came without some genuine effort and interest. He is clearly a big fan of Lovecraft, both as a person(ality) and in terms of his work, and it was a lot of fun to hear about it.

B&N ArtisteA few minutes after S and I sat down (post-meal), a woman came over with a board and a pencil and started drawing. She drew the crowd, and the podium, and the speaker, slowly and deliberately. While her drawing wasn't great, it was interesting to see, and she deserves some real credit for having the guts to get out and draw "in public" like that.

Unfortunately, I had to adjust the "not great" appellation to "bad" once she pulled out the pastels and started coloring it in. The lack of skill (but determination) which made the line drawing interesting turned into a real mess once she started applying the pastels, coloring in her line drawing like she was a kid with a coloring book. It's too bad, because she did interesting things with the raw pencil, and left alone it would've been nice.

Ah well. I documented the entire thing here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ntang/sets/183768/
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