Author Chris Crutcher Came to the Eugene Public Library, And All I Got Was A Lot Of Tears And Laughter

Chris Crutcher opens his March 10, 2012, talk at the Eugene Public Library with a joke. Photo by Suzi Steffen

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed young adult lit author Chris Crutcher for the Literary Duck – link here, and it was a delightful interview, so you should go read it & then come back – and on Saturday, March 10, he spoke at the Eugene Public LIbrary for one of their programs during the Big Read (there’s one big event left – Ursula Le Guin is coming to Eugene on March 24th! Hurrah!).

I live-tweeted a fair amount of the talk – I had to leave a few minutes before the end – and thought I’d get up a record at least of the tweets, with a little information in between the tweets

Crutcher was in town for a few days before the talk, going around and speaking to teens in Eugene and maybe Springfield? I don’t know the details, but here’s YA librarian Traci Glass’ tweet about that:

Crutcher started off thanking the hosts of his trip and saying that he’d had a great few days talking to people and eating good food. Then he said that when he was young, his dad thought he was kind of lazy:

Then Chris told us what kind of a high school student he was – not a star, to put it mildly. But not a screwup either.

He wasn’t a reader, and he didn’t want to be a reader. Didn’t want to read the books for high school.

(This status came later, but it fits here:)

That story: He told about how he became a writer, and how he modeled the football coach in his first book somewhat after the football coach at his high school in Cascade, Idaho. He went to read in Cascade’s high school library, and he said one boy said to him, “Is this a real book? LIke, can you get it?” When the boy believed that it was a real book, he turned to the librarian and said, “How many people who went to this high school have written books?” and the librarian said, well, just Chris. And then the kid asked, “Well, why don’t we have it in the library, then?”

Crutcher: “And that was how I learned that the book was banned in my own high school library.”

Then Crutcher talked about his work as a child abuse therapist and how he doesn’t take any one kid’s specific story to create his own work:

Then Crutcher read (on his iPad, which he called “just about the coolest little thing in the world”) from his book Deadline.

This was a short reading, and it sounded pretty good. I have read many of Crutcher’s books, but not Deadline, so it might be time to pick it up (especially as I just read John Green‘s  The Fault in Our Stars, which made me cry continuously, with short burst of sobbing, for about the final hundred pages and occasional moments before as well, and was lovely but not half as funny as Crutcher’s writing).

He proceeded to tell us a story about part of where this book – about a kid who’s dying of cancer, and how the kid deals with saying goodbye to everyone – came from:

Then he told a super sad story about a 5-year-old from his experience as a family/child abuse therapist. How sad was it?

And this is one of the reasons Crutcher doesn’t like the banning or the censorship – every topic needs to be open for discussion in order for people to have a chance of connecting and healing.

And some wise words:

And finally, just before I left:

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