I had my usual front row seat Kepler’s today for TC Boyle, and let me tell you —– nobody can rock bright red All-Star sneakers with a black suit and skeleton t-shirt like TC.

What does he read?  Literary fiction.  No genre.

What else does he write?  Only literary fiction, short and long.  He has no interest in writing nonfiction or essays or book reviews.

Favorite thing he said?  Instead of writing what you know, write what you don’t know and discover something.

TC Boyle was the most relaxed, open, humble author.  Just lovely.  I felt like a better person, being in the room with him.

The man’s a rock star.

29 thoughts on “TC

  1. Bruce Horton September 26, 2012 / 3:06 pm

    I read the review of this book in the paper and in a magazine………they loved it……….did he talk about it? Are you going to read it?? Loved your description of his attire!!!!!!!!!!

    • Teri September 26, 2012 / 3:13 pm

      The book sounds awesome, and I’m about to start reading it now. It’s from the point of view of 3 different women, and he claims he wore a skirt while writing to get into their frames of mind. I believe him!! :-)

      He didn’t read from the book. He read a short funny story about the lies parents tell children. Hilarious. He mostly talked about doing research for this new book, SAN MIGUEL, and how much fun it was. He’s like an excited, curious little kid. Loved him.

  2. erikamarks September 26, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    His writing fascinates me–and boy, do I love to hear when a writer is real and approachable and good-natured. Makes you like their work even more, I swear.

    • Teri September 27, 2012 / 5:56 am

      His writing fascinates me — it’s so smart — and he fascinates me, too. Somebody asked why he still teaches, and he went on and on about how much he loves teaching and loves students, and you can tell he means it.

      • erikamarks September 27, 2012 / 8:02 pm

        Teri, I love that he still teaches. I am married to a born teacher and when someone is meant to teach, you are so grateful they continue to do so. Everybody wins.

        • Teri September 28, 2012 / 7:18 am

          So true, Erika. It’s awful to be a student when the teacher doesn’t want to be there. This was particularly hard for me as an adult college student —- the young folks would just move on their way and complain a little, but I would sit there and think, “I’m paying for this??”

  3. Ted Strutz September 26, 2012 / 4:09 pm

    Wish I had been there next to you, Teri. T.C. is one of my faves… ‘Budding Prospects’ my introduction… I think ‘The Tortilla Curtain’ is my favorite.

    • Teri September 26, 2012 / 7:10 pm

      The Tortilla Curtain is also my favorite. I need to read it again. He was such a presence, Ted, and not in a “I’m here!” kind of way, but in the way that you can imagine having a real conversation with him over coffee. Completely in the present. Loved him.

  4. CJ Rice (@leapof) September 26, 2012 / 5:25 pm

    I admire your support of author readings. Wish I could get to more.

    • Teri September 26, 2012 / 7:11 pm

      I feel lucky to be in a place where writers come and speak within in minutes of where I live. Having lived where we had exposure and access to no one, it’s such an honor.

  5. girl in the hat September 26, 2012 / 5:42 pm

    I write about stuff I don’t know all the time. I’m glad someone says that’s okay.

    • Jennine G. September 26, 2012 / 6:16 pm

      Stephen !ing says the same!

      • Jennine G. September 26, 2012 / 6:17 pm

        Lets try that again…Stephen King says the same.

        • Teri September 26, 2012 / 7:16 pm

          I was just listening to his book on audio, Jennine. Yes! Write what you don’t know and learn, he says!

    • Teri September 26, 2012 / 7:15 pm

      I, on the other hand, am only writing what I know. This was a lesson for me to get out there. And that it’s okay to get out there.

    • Averil Dean September 27, 2012 / 5:14 am

      If I wrote what I know, I’d have to retire after one skinny book.

      • Teri September 27, 2012 / 5:52 am

        I first read this as, “I’d have to retire skinny” and I thought, What’s your secret!?!


        • girl in the hat September 27, 2012 / 7:48 am

          Sometimes I think it’s the questions we ask that matter most, not what we know. In fact, what we know can get in the way of creativity. Writing is about exploring, right?

          • Teri September 27, 2012 / 7:49 am

            So true, Anna. Exploration, questioning, searching….

  6. Jennine G. September 26, 2012 / 6:16 pm

    Cool. I wish I lived in a place where authors came to speak. Ok, no, I like where I live because it’s not that central. I wish I had the time and money to travel to hear authors speak!

    • Teri September 26, 2012 / 7:18 pm

      This is the first time we’ve lived in a place where all of the top writers come, and they’re practically up the street. It’s such a treat. When the locals don’t go and see them it makes me crazy! “You’re so lucky!” I yell. (they love when I yell, the locals ;-)

      Next week, I’m seeing Nick Flynn. His memoir was one of the best books I read last year. Looking forward to him.

  7. Lyra September 27, 2012 / 3:40 am

    “…most relaxed, open, humble person…”
    Is there anything better, truly, than being around someone that makes you feel so much better about your place in the world? I adore people like this. I wonder how someone becomes such a person or if they’re just born that way.

  8. Downith September 27, 2012 / 8:39 am

    I want a Kepler’s in my town. (see that Teri, no exclamation mark) Will have to check out TC Boyle.

    • Teri September 27, 2012 / 8:42 am

      I admire your restraint. It’s easy to love bookstore with the motto: Peace. Love. Books. So California. I love it.

  9. LauraMaylene September 27, 2012 / 10:41 am

    I like that he only writes what he wants (literary fiction). It’s admirable to write in many different genres and forms, of course, but if one doesn’t want to, then that should be fine. When I was at Bread Loaf, it sometimes felt like every other piece of advice was “You guys need to start writing book reviews.” Could that be immensely helpful to a writer trying to enter deeper into the literary conversation, or to sharpen her critical skills, or to be introduced to new books? Yes, certainly….but I also don’t think all writers should automatically feel pressured to write book reviews.

    • Teri September 27, 2012 / 10:51 am

      We heard that constantly in my MFA program, Laura. I think it’s a way to keep your name out there and make $$, not to mention suck up to fellow writers. I hate to put it that way, but how often do you really see a bad book review? And if you’re the likes of a Junot Diaz (latest example only) you get reviewed twice, by 2 different reviewers, in the NYT in the same week. I never understand that.

      We even had a class for an entire semester that was mostly “how to write a book review” and “how to format a proper bibliography.” It was a complete waste of time.

      I love the TC Boyle method of working his own way. He teaches because he loves it, not because he has to. He only reads literary fiction – no sci-fi, no thrillers, no mysteries, etc… And I mostly love that he admits it and could care less if anyone else likes it.

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