Meeting Etgar Keret

25 Jul

I’d never heard of Etgar Keret until I was asked to put an announcement in the community newsletter about his appearance at an upcoming speaking engagement. The email I’d received stated he was a frequent contributor to NPR’s This American Life. After reading that, he immediately went up a few notches in my estimation. (After all, I’m a fan of This American Life and I’d just finished reading a book by another of the show’s frequent contributors, David Sedaris.)

I visited Etgar’s website. I liked what I saw, especially the quirky illustrations. Ooh, he’s written graphic novels. Yes! This guy sounds interesting. And, he’s done film! I watched a video of him reading one of his stories. Yes! I’m going to this speaking event, I thought. I read one of his stories (Creative Writing) on The New Yorker website and loved it. In the matter of a couple of hours I’d become a fan. Yes, I thought, I’m going to this event…and I’m bringing my camera!

The event last night was, by design, an intimate affair. I think at the most about 25 people were in attendance at the home of one of the member’s of our community. When Etgar arrived he was introduced to and shook the hands of those of us who had arrived early. Straight away I asked him if it was okay if I took some photos. He replied amiably, “yes, of course.” I idiotically added, “I promise I won’t use my flash.”

During the reading Etgar was casual, charming, funny and very down to earth. He spoke of his life, his family, his work. He related a couple of anecdotes. And then read the stories that grew out of those anecdotes, one of which was his first short story, Pipelines; the other, What Animal Are You?, from his most recent collection of stories.

I had chosen a great seat for taking photos of Etgar – just yards away and directly facing him. And though the interior lighting was low, the light from a window behind him was rather bright. Without using a flash I didn’t know how to adjust for the lighting situation. My photos came out a bit blurry. Oh, why did I promise not to use a flash? But, of course, I would never have used my flash in such an intimate situation as that one. I certainly didn’t want to bring any attention in my direction. And I sure didn’t want to make Etgar blink from a camera flash. Even the sound of the camera shutter sounded thunderous to me and I imagined everyone in the room thinking “when is she gonna stop clicking away with her camera?”

I gave up on the photo taking after a few exposures. Besides, I couldn’t hear what Etgar was saying while I was behind the lens.

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One Response to “Meeting Etgar Keret”

  1. Domenica August 1, 2012 at 1:40 am #

    Neat. Now I want to check out his writing.

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