Saturday, November 14, 2009

Love and David Levithan

David Levithan strolled into A Children's Place bookshop in Portland with a blue backpack strapped to his back, and shoes that were nice, but which had pounded a lot of pavement.

He talked mostly about the World Trade Center memorial lights: how he had first seen them while driving back from the airport after flying in from London, how they illuminate the city during the anniversary of 9/11.

He said that Claire's pilgrimage mirrors his own, that she was the character hit hardest by the tragedy. The passage Levithan chose to read was "The Lights," narrated by Claire.

He explained the reason his climatic scene starts in the first chapter.

There were no books to buy; the store had run out before the visit began. But Levithan, in his well-ironed shirt, was unruffled; he crammed wisdom and his autograph onto skinny strips of stickers.

And he gave me a CD of songs he had made. I listened to it all the way home, partial to tracks 4, 6, and 10.

Before I left, though, I had asked Levithan about the conclusion. I teach my college students there are only so many kinds, I said, and I've tried and I've tried, but I can't figure this one out.

That's because there is no real end, he told me, It's like the tragedy itself; it's just not all wrapped up.

Then he put his arm around my daughter for a picture, and I thought, this man is love. He writes about love and he talks about love and he walks love, walks it right in those nice but well-worn shoes.


Christy Raedeke said...

Wish I could have seen DL in person! Next time, I will road trip with you.

Robin said...


Jennie Englund said...

The whole time DL was talking, I was thinking how much inspiration you'd have been taking away, Christy.

TOTALLY awesome, Robin! TOTALLY awesome!