Shame and Drum


May 22, 2017

Shame and Drum

In the Midwestern auditorium, a tired Richard Ford reads a fiction about Grand Central Station to a ticketed crowd as tired and sparse as his scalp. He is old and disappointed, and he is reading about old disappointment.

All the people in the theater are watching my friend from Shaman Drum, the bookstore that flew the guy in from California. He’s nodding to sleep at the display table, which holds a stack of award-winning books that nobody purchases. The story gathers steam as my friend, the kind of college friend who sleeps as an art form, is slowly lulled by the author like a baby on a train.

He flutters his eyelids and jolts back his face at several key turns of the reading voice until he reaches some dreamland, greening with passion, and Richard Ford laughs sympathetically and lets him.

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