—Ça va? I asked.
—Ça va. He said.
—Oh, the Mississippi Review? He asked.
—No, I said, Fiction.
—Oh, wow. Then you’ve arrived. That’s a great journal.
—Where do you find these guys? Tom asked.
—At AWP, I said.
—I don’t go, he said.
—I guess what I’m saying, I said, is that I want writers to take on big issues and I want them to take huge risks. I want the writing to matter. I want it to last. I don’t want the writers to worry about whether people like them or not. I want writers to write things that have significance, that make a statement about our culture, that provoke discussion.
TCB nodded a little bit. For a second, I think he was feeling me.
Besides, he said: —Why read the bad stuff when there’s so much positive stuff out there? When you’re TC Boyle, you can say that + get away with it. But for many of us, we don’t get reviews + the bad shit might be the only stuff we can get.
7. After a pause in our conversation, I said:
—Nice NPR interview, referring to his recent interview with Tom Ashbrook.
—Which one? He asked.
That’s when you know you’ve made it, when you have too many NPR interviews to keep track.
—And you didn't even see me in my red suit, he said.
As it turns out, TC Boyle has been wearing a red suit to his readings on his book tour for The Women. It's not a Frank Lloyd Wright cape, but it'll do I guess.