Dave Eggers | Be Safe and Do Good


I’ve been reading a lot more in recent months. It’s one of the perks of self-employment. And I’ve been reading a lot of Dave Eggers recently. Tonight, I headed to the main library to meet him at an event. Unfortunately, I was a tad bit late. By the time I arrived, the talk had already begun, and the room was filled beyond capacity. The security guards weren’t letting anyone in.

He was there to discuss his most recent book Zeitoun, a nonfiction novel about a family’s plight through Hurricane Katrina. But I was there on a different mission– to get A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius signed. Eggers is actually my boyfriend’s favorite author, and the “Heartbreak Genius book,” as I incorrectly call it, is his all-time favorite book.

So with my paperback copy tucked under my arm, I stood near the door, unsure if I should stick it out or just head home, making small talk with the security guards, and hoping by sheer proximity, they’d let me in sooner rather than later. And sure enough, about 10 minutes later, I was escorted to a second row seat. A perfect angle to snap some photos.

After the talk, I waited in line, met Dave, told him about my boyfriend, and got him to sign the book.

Of course, the message doesn’t totally make sense. They haven’t met. I think he wrote that on autopilot. But I do like the second half. Be safe and do good. Appropriate for my army boy. And now he can finally have a copy of this book that won’t be lent out to a friend only to disappear forever.

Finally, a quote from the Heartbreak Genius book, unrelated except it rings true as I write this up in the middle of the night. It evokes the countless nights I’ve stayed up, insomniac, squeezing in all my hours of productivity in the dead of  the night:

“I like the dark part of the night, after midnight and before four-thirty, when it’s hollow, when ceilings are harder and farther away. Then I can breathe, and can think while others are sleeping, in a way can stop time, can have it so – this has always been my dream – so that while everyone else is frozen, I can work busily about them, doing whatever it is that needs to be done, like the elves who make the shoes while children sleep.”

And with that, good night!