The Under Ground Writing Project

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Margaret Atwood: Better than Cold Duck Pieces

Posted by Jenny Maloney on September 17, 2012 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (5)

In Negotiating with the Dead, Margaret Atwood said: "There's an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine -- 'Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.'"


Well, since I got to meet (or, rather, see up-close) Margaret Atwood her-very-own-self this past Friday...all I can say is: "Mmmm, pâté."


She was brilliant. And much more eloquent than pâté.


Atwood was asked to come and speak as part of the All Pikes Peak Reads Program hosted by the Pikes Peak Library District. She participated in a pre-speech reception that included foods inspired by her book Year of the Flood...and let me tell you, that struck me as a risky business. (Hadn't these people read the books? Spa food leftover for five years? Canned food meant you were lucky.) But it turned out safe enough. Then she gave a talk at Shove Chapel on Colorado College's beautiful campus. And finally she signed books.


Mostly what I took away from this experience was that I will never, not if I researched, studied, and wrote for a thousand years, be as smart as this woman is.  She has a lovely, refreshing, logical way of looking at the world.


One of the most enjoyable parts of her discussion, for me was when she was talking about her research - especially since John just talked about research overload on Friday. She has file folders full. And judging by the amount of information she presented during her speech I would be willing to bet there's some kind of photographic memory associated with that.


Apparently she does not suffer from Research Overload.


I also took away that a sense of humor goes a loooooong way. She was so charming. Her smile lit up the big chapel space. I'm sure the people in the waaay back could see it, even without the huge presentation screen. She spun tall tales of Roman adventures in Manitou Springs, how she named her characters via Name Your Baby books (don't we all?), and took a couple well-aimed cuts at 'legitimate rape' politicos.


Her passion for the enviornment came out beautifully - though we only got details on saving the oceans. I'm sure if we started discussing the land and air we would still be listening. That wouldn't be a chore, however.  I think I could listen to her talk forever. But I'm sure even Margaret Atwood has to sleep....


And pictures!:


Margaret Atwood!

 Jenny Maloney, Shane Preston, Margaret Atwood (!), and Deb Meldrum

Margaret Atwood (!) with John Ridge

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