Isabel Allende gave the opening lecture. Of course, beforehand we get all the welcomes from the city official and the obligatory obeisance to the big vendors (not all vendors, just the ones who pay the big bucks), and then some more blah blah. Anyways, with the snark out of the way, here are some notes of what Allende said (any comments I will put in parenthesis).
- The library is the brain of the community. It contains its memories, what matters.
- Had a couple of book thieves in the family, including a brother.
- Can find anything in libraries, well almost anything--no dirty books (we definitely need to fix that. I am working on it at my library.).
- Stories are good for making a living and seducing men.
- The House of Spirits is the "lucky book," leading to the others.
- Chilean women may look small & unthreatening; don't be fooled. (Actually, this applies to a lot of other Latin American women. My mother is as small and unthreatening as they come, and I sure pity the fool who would underestimate her. As a Latino man, I have known Allende's truth for a while now).
- The importance of dreams. They clear her thoughts, teach about the self, and guide her writing. Then, there are those dreams of Antonio Banderas.
- Writing has allowed her to transform loss into strength. Paula was her most meaningful book. Life becomes real when you write. It [writing] ultimately changes the world.
- Allende is now working on a memoir of her family in California during the last ten years. It is hard work, since all those people are still alive and kicking.
- She confesses to being 65 years old, and she says "I look good from a distance." (Actually, she looks good at any distance in my book).
- On being asked about immigration, she says it is necessary for we need immigrants as they need us. We need to find more humane solutions.
On a side note, readers can read my little note about me getting to the conference over in the scratch pad.