Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

False Start #29

On my way back from an open mic tonight, I got into a conversation with the cabbie about American literature. It started after he mistook my backpack for a violin case and asked me if I played the violin.  I told him that I wasn’t playing any instrument because I’m really just a poet, and I’m only responsible for words. (This is a bit of a lie overall given my interest in folk guitar, but in this case 100% true. I ended up only reciting poetry over a jam session tonight.) After I told him about my literary ambitions, he started telling me about the four famous American authors that Chinese people read in school: O. Henry, MarkTwain, Theodore Dreiser, and Jack London. (I should note that it took me forever to figure out who the hell 德来塞 (déláisài, Dreiser) was. I attribute this to the fact that I was never a big fan of his works.)

I pointed out to him that all of these authors were at least 100 years old, and he said he knew. I asked him if he knew any contemporary authors, but he said he didn’t.

After he dropped me off, I walked home thinking: Maybe this is why Chinese people have such a hard time relating to Americans. They think we’re all Sister Carries and Huck Finns, Connectecut Yankees and hapless gift givers a-la-magi, but most of all – wolves.

posted by ferret at 2:44 am  

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