YouTube David Duchovny book discussion
Bucky F*cking Dent Book Discussion-David Duchovny and Jess Walter Town Hall Seattle February 19, 2017 Fan Blog (3rd in a series)
I attended a book discussion, QA and book signing in Seattle as well as a concert by David Duchovny. This blog is the third in a series of five and focuses on the book discussion and QA with after thoughts on David Duchovny as a novelist.
Town Hall is a beautiful building which used to be a church. The discussion took place in a room with stained glass windows and pew like seating. There were 600 in attendance. We were in the front row. Waiting for Mr. Duchovny, there was palpable excitement in the air. Right as the event began a woman came up to our small pew and insisted on squeezing in with us. She said she had just found out this was happening and hadn’t known he had written a book.
In fact, this young and gifted author has written two and a third one is due out in 2018. I say young because during the discussion David Duchovny talked about his father publishing his first novel in his seventies. We can look forward to twenty years of literary works by Mr. Duchovny. I, also, say young because I am Mr. Duchovny’s age and have yet to publish my first novel. So let’s say 56 is young in the literary world!
Mr. Duchovny’s first novel, “Holy Cow”, made the New York Times Best Seller list. His second novel, “Bucky F*cking Dent” (BFD) has been out a year. His next novel, “Miss Subways” is due out in 2018.
The discussion was with area author, Jess Walter, who has known Mr. Duchovny for years. The discussion was relaxed, engaging, with light hearted banter and joking. Because of Mr. Duchovny’s fame, he is often interviewed about his book by people who have not read it and have no interest in novels. It was great that Mr. Walter had read David’s book and is himself a successful author.
I took about ten minutes of video. It is not in a row but in snippets of the discussion. I wanted to be able to share with fans and people who had sponsored me to come to Seattle, but I felt more than 10 minutes was obsessive and would be disrespectful to the Town Hall members. I did take notes through-out the discussion.
On the subject of actors turning writers, Mr. Duchovny says people look at it like a dog walking on hind legs. “That’s adorable.” Mr. Duchovny is all but dissertation for a doctorate degree in literature from Yale. He wrote three episodes of the X-files and has story credit on a number of others. He has also written and directed a film. It makes no sense to me that people do not take him seriously as an author. I will discuss this more at the end of this blog.
Both “Holy Cow” and “BFD” had been screenplays before novels, but had not been made. On “Holy Cow”, he said, tongue in cheek, that there was “a long line of vegan movies that have killed at the box office.” “Holy Cow”: is about an American cow that travels to India to keep from being slaughtered. During this discussion he mentioned it was a female cow and then quipped “I’m a city boy.” (Because all cows are female)
He was asked a question about style of writing and said that he was a sentimental guy who liked to cry and laugh-he’s old fashion that way. I find one of the most appealing qualities of BFD is the fact that it is both a very sad and very funny book. Please see an earlier blog by me “How the light gets in” about the handling of dark subject matter in Mr. Duchovny’s writing across novels, lyrics, movies and television.
He was asked about the fact that in BFD there are chapter where he writes in the thought or voice of a baby. He said “well, after having written as a female cow.” I found it endearing that after correcting himself on the phrase female cow earlier he said it again.
When asked what the most common question he gets asked about his novel, he said, “What is your favorite episode of the X-files?” On the topic of gentrification he said his childhood neighborhood was Ukrainian/Puerto Rican which was an “interesting mix on a Saturday night.”
On the video clip is a discussion of the current political climate. Mr. Duchovny has been outspoken about his viewpoint on the current President. There was applause from the crowd and he said it was easy to say in Seattle but he might say something different in Dallas. When asked if he would want to write a political novel, he said he would rather die. I find this interesting considering that both of his novels have political undertones. I know people who have become vegetarian after reading “Holy Cow.” There is a chapter set at the wall between Palestine and Israel. In BFD he talked about America in 1978 and Carter losing the nation and a handsome monster in California was going to take his place. There is extensive and repeated discussion about marketing and how Americans get “sold” items. In my opinion, as difficult as it might be for Mr. Duchovny to write an overtly political book, he might find it as difficult to write a book without any undertones of political or social commentary..
My friend, Cathy, asked him if “Miss Subways” was also first a screenplay. He said yes as if busted but went onto explain the difference in his approach to “Miss Subways.” The full answer is on the video link.
I stood in line to ask a question but ran out of time. My question was going to in a difference between the epilogue and main novel. They both have an omnipotent narrator, but in the main novel the reader is very much in the action. In the epilogue there is a distance controlled by “come close”, “come closer still”, “come closer yet again”. I am curious as to why he wanted the distance in the epilogue.
I have blogged in the first part of this series on my experience in the book signing.
I want to take a few minutes of this blog to discuss the actor turn writer and the reason, I think, Mr. Duchovny is not taken seriously as a writer. I am a well educated and well read woman. I think most people who know me trust my ability to judge literary quality- except with David Duchovny. Then I am a fan girl and they do not trust my ability to judge his work objectively. How insulting that it. I think I have the ability to compartmentalize his work in the different genre’s and judge them accordingly. In fact, I was not a fan girl when I read “Holy Cow”. I loved the character Fox Mulder. I had never seen anything else he did. I read “Holy Cow”expecting to dislike it. I read it quickly and about three chapters before it ended I realized it was ending in a poignant fashion and that I was missing much of the poignancy from having read it too fast. I went back and read it again. I am far more likely to fan girl over an author or song writer than an actor and so that led to back to the actor and all his other work. Now I unapologetically have heart eyes for David Duchovny. Everyone has someone- an athlete, a model, a corporate industry leader, a fashion designer you love so much you pay $1000 for a purse. I have friends who judge me negatively because my someone is David Duchovny. Oh well, they are failing to understand the complexity of adoring a man who is an author, a song writer, an actor and the most good looking 56 year old man on the planet. Again I unapologetically have heart eyes for David Duchovny, but I got there through loving his writing.
A friend recently told me I had “Duchovitis” and asked me in a condescending voice if BFD was the best thing I had ever read. I said no. It was not Moby Dick or War and Peace, but I have rethought my answer. My favorite American author is John Steinbeck. I have read everything he wrote. Years after reading, I will sometimes wake up thinking of passages or chapters from his best works and feel compelled to read them again before I go to sleep. I do the same thing with BFD now. I am not sure if I will as time passes, but I suspect I will. BFD is better than any of Steinbeck’s lesser works. I am thinking of title like “Burning Bright”, “Sea of Cortez”, “Pastures of Heaven”. It is far from the quality of Steinbeck;s most notable work-“Of Mice or Men”, “East of Eden”, “Grapes of Wrath.” As I rank Steinbeck’s work it is the mid-level work of “Cannery Row” where passages begin to haunt my dreams- and then anything better than “Cannery Row”. I think BFD is along the quality of “Cannery Row”. To compare against another of my favorite writer’s, it is not Kerouac’s “On the Road”. It is a hell of a lot better than “Dharma Bums.”
It would be shallow for me to love Mr. Duchovny’s writing because he is my favorite actor and so good looking. It is just as shallow to think that someone who is a successful actor and good looking cannot be an excellent writer. Can we put the facts of Mr. Duchovny’s other career and his good looks in the irrelevancy category when judging the merits of his writing. I encourage anyone who hasn’t read his books to read them as if they don’t know who wrote them. I also have to say Mr. Duchovny has written two books. Steinbeck wrote 31. I expect a break-out novel from Mr. Duchovny. Based on the quality of his first two novels, I expect it. It may or may not be “Miss Subways”, but he is young and it will come. (But really, David, no pressure).
Now, back to the Duchovitis – is there a cure for that? A gaggle of fan girls want to know.