William Gibson is a magpie and a seer. His father poured concrete for the foundations of hidden military installations while he hoarded fragments of a future he hoped would scoop him from the sticks and deliver him a life worthy of his probing, greedy brain. Gibson moved to Canada to dodge the draft, became a grad student, then a writer—a cyberpunk, writing hard-boiled, media-savvy stuff that thumbed its nose at fat boring space operas starring silver-suited princelings.
TAHLEQUAH WRITER’S CLUB: Guest speaker, 11/15/2014
BUMPKINITIS 12: Guest reader, 11/21/2014
NSU VISITING WRITR SERIES: opening reader for Luc Goebel, 12/05/2014
My ailing wife, Amy, had demanded that I take her to a Black Mass, a well-publicized one that would have meant aligning myself with Satan on local television. These people aren’t really Satanists, Amy explained. They’re blue-collar subculture types who’ve grown up and know their rights and want to thumb their noses at the judgy creeps who persecuted them growing up. Amy, who had seen more than her fair share of those creeps in her own youth, wanted to lend her support.
In 1963, back when it was still acceptable for poets to be openly, ferociously competitive, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s whorled Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan was still new and aesthetically suspect, the greatest poet of his day mounted the stage under Wright’s spiral ramp and inaugurated a reading series sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Robert Lowell, a tall, elegant man of letters from an old New England family, read his own work to the crowd and then introduced a friend, “an underground poet still digging.” On cue, a stooped, heavily bearded, intoxicated man approached the lectern, and, in a peculiar, strangled voice, explained why it was proper for a trick-or-treating tot to use an expletive to curse the chairman of the First National Bank who’d dropped a polished apple into his sack and broke his cookie.
Hascia, a precocious biochemistry major (class of 1966) and the last person in world you’d ever expect to smuggle drugs, was about to tie the knot and settle down. Enter Barry, an extraordinarily gifted but roguish salesman and engineer who offered her an escape: come with me to Europe and never be bored (but beware, we’ll trample a few toes in the process). Together they left New York for Berlin, then Morocco, then a remote Spanish prison – a trip that would end up being the adventure of a lifetime.