Sunday, January 6, 2008

Benedict and the Evangelical Church of Literature

I went to a reading tonight. I am always a little wary of literary readings—which makes me an avid fan compared to the common guy. But I was looking forward to this one for one reason: Pinckney Benedict. I’ve seen him several times before, and it’s always a pleasure.

Suzannah Lessard read first. She said that nonfiction writers must take life whole. And I couldn’t help to think fiction writers must eat life whole.

Then, Pinckney Benedict got up after an insider introduction from Fred Leebron (an old friend of his), and said he loved reading here because most literary readings reminded him of his Episcopalian upbringing where everyone was staid, tried hard to show no emotion, and “didn’t want to talk about Jesus.” Benedict said he was more for evangelical religion where the congregation can yell and scream about Jesus, which he proceeded to do. He said that reading here was like that—“the evangelical church of literature.” And then, he read a disturbing story called “Pig Helmet and the Wall of Life.”

Benedict blogged about the event and even included a picture slide show with action shots of him reading.

The semester begins tomorrow. Back to teaching. Back to the salt mines.

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