LA Times Bookfest report: The LA lit panel
Two transplants (Abani from Nigeria and Krusoe from the midwest) and two natives (Erickson, Huneven) take on what it means to be a writer in Los Angeles. Erickson and Huneven were on a similar panel last year. We culled a few of this year's best (and lamest) quips.
The high points:
Chris Abani says, "The idea of being a writer in LA is ridiculous." At parties he'll say, "I'm writing books," (implied puzzled pause) "You know, like DVDs but with pages."
Steve Erickson: "LA has a certain metaphorical identity," for Angelenos and people living elsewhere. "Metaphorically and geographically Los Angeles is as far as we can go." There is an undercurrent, he says, of a conflict between utopianism and apocalypse. "There's something about that conceit that appeals to us — we find it galling that the world might end somewhere else."
Michelle Huneven, on whether she'd like her books bought by Hollywood: "E.L. Doctorow said that the dream thing is to have your books optioned and the movies never made."
Chris Abani: "A sense of place is always imagined.... LA, more than any other city, can become that imagined city."
Steve Erickson agreed: "Los Angeles is a particular blank salte that you can reinvent."