Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Night with BJ Novak

Thursday night, I met BJ Novak in the Clark County Library.  He probably won't remember me, although I took a front and center seat, but I kept careful notes, and by writing and sharing his thoughts, I hope I'll remember some of what he said to me (and about 300 others.)
The following are paraphrases of his thoughts, but of course, they're spun with my own take of the conversation. I guess it's fair to say, here is BJ Novak according to Kristy.
Speaking of Las Vegas, "This is a great place to just focus on literature. Not much else going on."
"The more intelligent your writing, the mainstream and popular it will be."
"Write for the kid sitting next you. Everything else is just homework."
The importance of truth in comedy. "Everything has to come from truth first and be funny second. Everything has to feel like a real  moment that could really happen to a real person."
"Reading should be your way to rebellion--your way to go where ever you want and do anything you want."
Some of his favorite lines. (Not all are his.)
"Magnets are interesting enough--they don't need to be tarted up."
Michael Scott when asked if it was more important to be loved or feared. "Easy, both. I want people to fear how  much they love me."
"Battered women--sounds delicious, but that doesn't make it right." (That was his.)
On the writing craft:
He always carries a notebook to jot down impressions and thoughts.
The blue sky period--where there are no bad ideas, no contradictions and everything and anything can fly.
The Goldilocks outline-- a barebones story idea.
He tested every story in his collection of short stories,One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by reading them out loud at a theater in LA. If the audience responded, the story made the book.
My favorite moment of the night--he invited all of the children in the audience up to the stage and read from his bestselling book, The Book with No Pictures. When asked the legacy he wanted to leave for his grandchildren, he said he hopes to be remembered for his children's  book--where he showed it was possible to love just words. All we need are words and our own imaginations.
He said that when he gets to Heaven and meets God,  he hopes that God will say to him, "Everyone is here." (That's my hope, too.)

(I'm also hoping Mr. Novak will read this and know that I'm really grateful for the night we shared. And I hope he won't feel like I butchered his presentation.)

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