Cory Doctorow at Powell’s

Cory Doctorow gesturing as he addresses a seated audience from behind a lectern. He's wearing a black face mask and signature glasses.

I had to race downtown after an exhausting day the minute I got off work to make it to Powell’s Books, and I was late for the start. Cory Doctorow is in the middle of a book tour for his novel The Bezzle, and he had already started a short lecture when I arrived in the Pearl Room on the 3rd floor. After the talk, he took a few audience questions and sat down to sign books. One of them was mine. Does that sound cheesy? I feel like it’s a little grandiose.

But there’s something special about meeting artists, creators, makers I admire. I’ve been lucky to say a brief hello to many of them—Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, Bob Odenkirk, Kristin Bell, Neil Finn—when I got over my anxiety and managed to say something. That gets easier with time, the more I do it.

For this moment, it was easier because I’d already met Doctorow once (I’m not counting random social media exchanges), when he came into the Trader Joe’s I was working at because it wasn’t far from USC where he was doing a fellowship.

He took my fresh copy of The Bezzle, asked me who to make it out to, and made short work of it. I had time to tell him that over the last 20 years he’d become my favorite writer. He told me it was very kind of me to say so, and I thanked him for being an inspiration to keep making, creating, and actually FINISH projects, rather than just start them. And then, as I took back the book and was backing away, he said, “well, starting projects is good too!”

This is a magnanimous thing to offer, and still considering it. In a time when I still struggle to fulfill my pre-, mid-, and post-pandemic resolution to Be Kinder to Myself, it’s both humbling and encouraging. Maybe I’ve only finished a few things, but only things with a beginning get to have an ending.

The title page of The Bezzle, signed by Cory Doctorow. It's inscribed, "For Marcus — behind every great fortune is a great crime"






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