Holy crap! Margaret Atwood just called to ask if she could stop by. She heard about our Halloween pumpkin that looks like author Gabriel Garcia Marquez and she hoped she could see it. What could I do? I said yes, and now she’ll be here in 10 minutes. How the hell did Margaret Atwood get my number?
And the pumpkin that looks like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it was amazing, but now it’s all started to cave in and go glumpy, especially after the trick-or-treaters handled it and all those English majors marveling at the uncanny likeness to the Nobel Prize-winning author of Love in the Time of Cholera. But now it looks like present-day Danny DeVito, and Margaret Atwood is going to be so disappointed. I don’t want to disappoint Margaret freaking Atwood!
I have a potato that vaguely resembles Alice Munro. Would that compensate?
What am I thinking? Throw two Nobel winners in her face? And one a Canadian? Like Margaret Atwood needs a reminder that she has two Booker Prizes, two Governor General’s Awards and a Giller Prize but zero Nobel prizes? Could I possibly be that callous?
Stick with the pumpkin.
What do you serve Margaret Atwood? Tea, right? Do I offer something harder, with a wink? Does one wink at Margaret Atwood? What’s the protocol for this?
Does this place smell like cat pee? I can’t even tell anymore, but it does, I know it. The beloved author of Alias Grace is going to see me in all this cat-pee squalor. I could make a joke: “Sorry the place is a little… LITTERary! Ha-ha. HAHAHAHAHA!”
I’ve got to take control of the situation. Invite her in. (Bow? Yes? No?) Show her the pumpkin, apologize for the pumpkin, throw in words like “atrophy” and “moral decline.” “Talkin’ ‘bout degeneration!” No, no! You don’t make music-related puns with Margaret Atwood. For God’s sake!
The pumpkin at least is safe. I can talk about the pumpkin. I’ll go on about the pumpkin for as long as I can. “Carving the pumpkin took a hundred hours of solitude. Ha-ha. HAHAHAHAHA!” Anything to keep the conversation with Margaret Atwood away from the subject of Margaret freaking Atwood.
I haven’t read any Margaret Atwood.
Not a single short story. Not an interview. Not a gosh darn prize-winning bestseller. And now Margaret Atwood is stopping by my house in like – crap! – five minutes!
I’ve got to get her from the front door past the bookshelf and into the kitchen. “Ah, I see you have The Handmaid’s Tale.” “Who doesn’t have The Handmaid’s Tale,” I can reply. “Ha-ha. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Tea?” Wink.
No, I haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s been on my shelf forever. Haven’t watched the series either. Wait! I saw the movie! Years ago, with Robert Duvall, yeah, and that actress who died in the ski accident. Yes! I saw the film of The Handmaid’s Tale!
I hated it!
Why the hell haven’t I read any Margaret Atwood? Would it have been so hard? Maybe? I don’t know. I feel like it would be hard. Dystopian feminist literature’s not my thing. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-feminist. Shut up!
Why should I feel obliged to read Margaret Atwood? Just because I’m Canadian? There are lots of Canadian writers I haven’t read, other books I wanted to read more. It’s not personal. It’s not like I’m not reading Margaret Atwood out of spite. Shut up!
Margaret Atwood is coming to my house and I’m going to sound like an idiot.
What if she asks me who my favourite Canadian author is? Margaret Atwood wouldn’t do that, would she? She’s not that crass, surely, not that needy. But still, that Nobel business has gotta sting.
I have these nice peanut butter cookies to serve with the tea or whatever. Does Margaret Atwood have a peanut allergy? I don’t know, I don’t know! Her Wikipedia entry doesn’t say. Google “Margaret Atwood peanut”: Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut? She writes kids books, too? Oh great, something else I haven’t read!
Myriam Toews! That’s my favourite Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood! Are you happy now? I believe A Complicated Kindness contains one of the most realized young female narrators in contemporary literature and thought Women Talking was brilliant. So don’t call me anti-feminist, you peripatetic pumpkin peeper!
Crap! There’s the door. Crap, crap, crap! I have to get rid of Margaret Atwood as quickly as possible. I have to tell Margaret Atwood the truth: the pumpkin – it was actually supposed to be Geraldo Rivera.