In 2000, Dave Eggers published a book called Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. And it was. He was. He IS. I remember the scenes of flick-fights with his little brother Toph. He was raising the kid; their parents had died. Domestic tragedy and wild moody humor punctuate the book, feeling exactly like the ride of grief. I love that book.
For his first book tour – as a pretty much not-known guy – Eggers did a reading tour across country that featured regular folk in the place of Lena Dunham’s fabulous friends who will join her in a kind of stand up comedy/performance/discussion/ticket-price-includes-hardcover book event.
Eggers didn’t have fabulous friends. Or if he did, he wasn’t inviting them on his book tour. Instead, he invited local firefighters to do a demonstration of stop, drop and roll. Were there Shriners on mini-bikes blowing through the bookstore as well? I can’t remember the details, but they were all regular folk and it was funny and hip and it worked. He even put his editor’s phone number in the book and recommended every reader call it. We loved that.
Eggers came out of the gate a fully-formed, naturally great writer. His subjects are intimate and global at the same time. I loved his circus tour and think about it still.
Lena Dunham’s arc as a writer is yet to be seen. I know her circus tour will sell tons of books and be way fun, but will it forward Lena’s life as a writer? Doubtful. That happens one on one, with the reader.