Someone once said that one should never expect a writer in person and in talk to be like what and how they write. That I can comprehend, I myself, if not a writer as such, am far from always the person in talk as I am in writing.
Because as much as I may like, love, a decent discussion, a good talk through, a neat chat, it isn't as deep an affection as my true passion for the written word. I am writing, talking comes second.
That said, to separate the sheep from the goats, finding truly great literature in all the, I dare say, rubbish that seem to get published these days may be a tricky task, but it can (have to!) certainly be done. But getting that world turned over in some way reading experience doesn't necessarily mean you'd have an intellectual ball meeting, talking to the writer behind the masterpiece. Explanation, see paragraph one above.
Actually very few of my favourite writers have really tickled my fancy when I've seen-heard interviews with them, their written word way surpass their talking. And even if those beautifully written words naturally have to hide somewhere inside that person, that writer, they only seem to want to come out and play on paper, not in air.
Which on the one hand is a good thing I suppose, because what a tiresome life having constant crushes on ALL your favourite writers. On the other hand it is something of a disappointment, as one (that'd be 'me' at least) likes to think that someone that writes so mindblowingly well have to be a superbly well-versed being in person. The kind of being I would give just about anything to be able to have a conversation about life, death and everything in between with. They are few, but they are out there.
This evening I had the pleasure of listening to a writer on stage, Jeanette Winterson, and she was just such a person. Such an amazing person in talk, so very much like her ingenious and marvelously written pieces. Entertaining, deep thinking, analyzing, thoughtful, humouros, intelligent, quirky, passionate, multi-layered, intellectual, sharing anecdotes and wisdom - just about everything she said was quote-worthy - that made us laugh, cry and think. A lot.
When the one and a half hours of listening to her brilliant way with words had come to an end, the presenter said 'I think just about everyone in the audience wants to marry you now, including me'. The roaring applause said it all.
I'm so glad I've far from read all her books yet. I still have so much to look forward to of her writing. Jeanette Winterson, heart you.