I don’t attend many author interviews or readings. I don’t have anything against such events, but I just can’t seem to find the time. Yesterday, however, I found the time to see and hear Salman Rushdie at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.
I won’t go into detail about what he said. Suffice it to say that I found it to be an inspirational evening on many levels. But I don’t really want to write about that. Instead, I want to write about a revelation. Actually, it’s been a recurring revelation (does that make it a re-revelation?). Now that I think about it, is it even possible to have the same revelation more than once? Never mind. It doesn’t matter. The point I’m trying to make is … seeing Salman Rushdie on stage and hearing him speak with such eloquence, wit, and intelligence made me think, of all things, about the Red Room. He is a fellow inhabitant after all.
To tell you the truth, since coming to the Red Room I’ve had many thoughts about this place—and many questions. Who lives here really? And who just comes to visit? Who applies for residency? And who, if anyone, is invited in like an honored guest? Who cooks and does the laundry? Who takes out the trash and pays the bills? Who comes just to stir up shit? And who stops by just to blog? Do people see the Red Room as a home, or simply as a place to visit now and then like an online time share?
These questions—and hundreds of others—churn in my head until my pea brain aches. Maybe it all boils down to an I-am-the-Red Room-and-the-Red-Room-is-me kind of thing. Or maybe it falls more along the lines of the Red Room is what you make of it, grasshopper. In any event, after hearing Salman Rushdie speak about a range of subjects (from his books to terrorism to politics to playing ping pong with Scarlett Johansson and so much more), I was struck by another Red Room rumination.
Salman Rushdie—what kind of Red Room resident is he? I doubt I’ll ever discover the answer, but if he ever wants to play ping pong I’ll be waiting.