Sunday, January 13, 2008
Andre Dubus III Thinks I'm Black
My good friend Melody Clayton was disappointed that my story about the Renfroe name did not also include my run-in with Mr. House of Sand and Fog Andre Dubus III. And as she is half of my target audience, here it is:
Once upon a time, in the wilds of Florence, SC, at an afterparty for a literary reading (one of the primary reasons I go to readings), I got in a conversation with Dubus. He was holding court. He'd been the main reader that day and did a great job. He's worked as an actor, and you can tell--he has that natural but worked on charisma. So he was blitzed on moonshine (no joke) and ranting on about being disappointed that Speilberg had tamped down the depressing end to Sand & Fog. He got on to how he hated the irony of current fiction and how it's played for laughs. When he asked me about my writing, I told him I play it for laughs. He laughed because he didn't believe me. Our little group seemed to get on well with him and as he was heading to the bathroom and to remingle, he asked our names. Craig, I said. Last name, he asked. Renfroe. Renfroe? he said. I confirmed it. With a look that held no distaste but only concerned confusion, he said, Renfroe's a black name. And wandered off to pee.
Probably this isn't a fair story to tell since he was wasted. And I don't think he was being racist. But it hits home when I think of that bastard Stephen Renfroe leading the Ku Klux Klan in his town. I'm not playing this for laughs.