Saturday, June 09, 2007

My Man McCarthy

It's funny how inspirational it is to hear a writer you admire talk about writing. And for that writer like Cormac McCarthy, who has barely voiced a word about his craft, it seems particularly special.

Oprah looked intimidated by this laid-back author who doesn't care about fame and doesn't care that her magic hand is going to lead to millions more reading his book. McCarthy was relaxed and talked pretty openly, and for a man in advanced years he wasn't set on many issues. When asked about his faith he responded, "Depends on which day you ask me."

It was a coup and worth watching without a doubt, though I wish someone would post a transcript or the video on YouTube. I wonder, though, how much she had to fork over to the Santa Fe Institute for McCarthy to be willing to do the interview.

There is video, exclusive video even, on Oprah's site, though you have to join the book club to view it. I'm still reluctant to do that.

If you missed it, here are some articles:
Cormac McCarthy gives first-ever TV interview to Oprah
We watch as Oprah, Cormac McCarthy mix it up
Cormac McCarthy Bombs on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ - What were they expecting, exactly?

Mostly, McCarthy's interview reminded us of the magic worked every day by professional media coaches. We don't know that we've ever seen a more uncomfortable person on television than McCarthy, slouched in that armchair, chin resting in hand, speaking so quietly that even miked up he could barely be heard. He was stripped, by bad lighting and a seeming refusal to wear makeup, of the stern grandeur he adopts in his book-jacket photos. (The brilliant photographer who helped create McCarthy's image, Marion Ettlinger, should show video of this interview to potential clients.) Instead, he seemed ungainly and frail and uncertain. We guess we don't particularly want to see a poised and polished Cormac McCarthy fobbing off anecdotes like a pro, but this sure made for awkward TV.

To me, it was exactly his unpolished-ness that made it so good.

McCarthy, Oprah on 'The Road'
Cormac McCarthy opens up on 'Oprah'

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