Is This You?

A couple years ago, Richard Nash (my publisher, my editor, my friend) sent me a copy of Matthew Sharpe’s The Sleeping Father. I put it in my bag and began reading it on the subway. A fella across the aisle was distracting me: fiddling with his new camera purchase, flipping through the manual. Matt’s book, a great one by my standards, was totally engrossing and I was able to ignore Sir Fidget, though his camera sure was handsome. He was gone by the time we got to my stop and I arrived at the Writers’ Room, set up my desk, got my coffee and checked my email. Strangely enough there, in my inbox, was an email from Matt Sharpe (getting an email from him wasn’t strange, we’re pals, but the timing was coincidental). The subject line read, “Is this you?” And the body read, “My friend saw someone reading my book on the subway and took a picture.”

(That’s me there, in the middle).

Tomorrow night, Matthew Sharpe, a man who not only writes great books but has friends who care enough about his success to take photos of strangers reading his book, even if the person reading the book is not a stranger at all, reads tomorrow night with 4 other authors who have ALSO read at the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series, written great books and have excellent friends.

To tie this little story up in a neat package – I can’t make it because I have a meeting with Richard Nash, the very same man who sent me Matthew Sharpe’s book lo that fateful day.

Tribute to Donald Barthelme
short-story writer, novelist, essayist

Friday, January 18, 7 p.m.

National Arts Club
15 Gramercy Park South (E. 20th St.)
btw. Third and Park Aves.

David Gates, Ben Greenman, Amy Hempel, Sam Lipsyte, Matthew Sharpe, and others will read and discuss the work of this sublime writer.


5 Replies to “Is This You?”

  1. That’s a sweetly coincidental, New York-y (in an amoebic and serendipitous way) kind of story. And a nice picture of you.

    Donald Barthleme is one of the good ones.


  2. I love this story! As huge and dense as NYC is, I’m continually amazed at what a small town it also turns out to be.

  3. Glad you like the picture. I think I look old, big-earred and gaunt. But mainly I’m glad you guys like this story. I am 4th generation Manhattan and have so many of these stories, my whole family does. I’d love to hear yours. I’ll post more when I remember them.

  4. Is this really a true story? In any case, big-eared is better than jug-eared and, further, it’s just that one stray strand of hair that at first glance creates the illusory suggestion of large lobes. I’ve never thought you had a problem.

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