Is there only one now?

My main goal at Wordstock this weekend was to hear Jennifer Egan talk about A Visit from the Goon Squad and to say hello to her afterward. I read that book while my friend (and quite possibly yours, too) was dying, and it was an odd sort of comfort. You see, Goon Squad moves back and forth in time, from about 1980 to 2030. Nothing is linear in the book. Each time I began a chapter, I would look for clues and ask myself, “What now is it?”

And it made me think that we have this bias that the only moment that matters is now - but Egan showed me that maybe all nows were equally valid. It made me think that even though my friend’s now was awful, she had also had many wonder nows in her life. Like I said, it was oddly comforting.

I wrote Egan to tell her so, and she wrote me back a lovely note that arrived the same day my friend died.

So it wonderful to listen to her and then meet her. She was gracious and funny and kind - just as you would hope someone who has won the Pulitzer Prize and is having her book made into an HBO series would be.

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That's really lovely, April -- the multiple nows and the signature.

I hope to see Jennifer Egan in person some day. THE KEEP is one of my all-time favorite novels, and I really enjoyed GOON SQUAD, too.
I was assigned The Keep to review for the Oregonian. I had never read any of her books, and did not know the twist of the story within a story. It was a marvelous surprise.

And "fondly." I feel like Jenny and I are best friends now.