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"To gay men I am David."

It is hard for me to find a place to begin with this creative and funny individual. Much of what can be gathered about his life is located in his fictionalized memoirs, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. If I had full power of my abilities as an ASCII artist, I would include a picture of a stapler here for reference.

Dave Eggers' parents both died within five weeks of each other when he was 22 years old. They died from the cancer. His sister and little brother, Toph were left as orphans, trying to piece together a new life. He had grown up in Chicago, but after the death of his elders, he decided to move to the boom environment of early 1990s San Francisco.

I would like to include a passage from his book about he and his brother.

"Our best trick, though, is to pretend, for the benefit of the neighbors and whoever's around, that I'm beating Toph with a belt. This is how: with the back deck door open, we stand in the living room and then, with thte belt buckled into a circle, I yank it quickly on either end, snapping taut and making a sound not unlike that produced if I were striking Toph's bare legs at full force. When it cracks, Toph squeals like a pig.
    BELT: Whack!
    TOPH: (Squeal!)
    ME: How does that feel, kid?
    TOPH: I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I'll never do it again!
    ME: Yeah? You'll never walk again!
    BELT: Whack!

It's great fun. We are attacking California, Toph and I, devouring what we can before the fall comes and hems us in, (we) drive down to Telegraph and look at the weirdos."

Besides being brothers, they are also master frisbee players. And on the randomness of this information, I introduce a concept and motion to further complete this node. Information from here forward will be seemingly chaotic. It is not easy to assemble information about such young, insane man and provide it in a conventional matter. I feel that in order to get to know Dave Eggers, you're going to just have to follow the next few paragraphs and the bits of random information located within.

For a short time Eggers published a small magazine called Might Magazine. There is now an anthology of articles for sale in bookstores. Might's claim to fame was the publication of a faked death of Adam Rich from Eight is Enough. They dedicated the entire issue to him, giving eulogies and in general fucked shit up. Their first choice was Crispin Glover. That would have been even cooler, but it wasn't in his density.

For a period of time Eggers wanted be on MTV's The Real World. He interviewed. A Heartbreaking... fictionalizes the interview and turns it into a confrontation with Eggers' own dark night in opposition to his soul. He claims to be five foot eleven. I don't know.

And then, more currently inside this universe a wonderous development occured. Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern. Also called: McSweeney's, Gegenshein, The Starred Review, The Mixed Review, The Grim Ferryman, The Primitive, McSweeney's: Diamonds are Forever, and Conde Nast McSweeney's For Women." Once when asked whether he uses any pseudonyms he said: "Many of the people who write for McSweeney's...I haven't met. So I don't know...they may all be one guy." Which one can interpret any way they like. McSweeney's also recently published David Byrne's The New Sins which is great. He prints out of Iceland.

Eggers is an obsessive rewriter. He revises constantly. His book can now be found with a hilarious appendix, adding to what he did not include, clarifying the lines between fact and fiction. Not that it matters. Because with a guy like Dave Eggers, it really doesn't. When you are incredibly sexy, have an incredibly incredible brother, and a life with tragedy that lead you to deserve everything in the world in exchange, even the exposure of his best friends, his each and every thought--negative or positive, his reaffirmation of all things postmodern and its validity as form, function, state, and approach--nothing matters because everything matters.

Dave now lives in Brooklyn, New York and often still comes to San Francisco to give readings. He is known to take an entire bookstore full of people, load them onto buses and take tours of the city. He likes the Flaming Lips and has unnatural love/hate relationship with Beverly Hills, 90210 much like M. Doughty. That may be the most important fact about him.

The need
is doubted & scorned by
the Ego
which is stomped upon by
the Pain
which is funneled through
the Form
which can only
attempt, feebly
to approximate something like
the Truth
which is only valuable when
grotesque & leprous & desperate & drunk, belligerent even.


Being Dave Eggers: http://www.m2w.net/Fun/Eggers.html

More recently, Dave Eggers has created a foundation to teach literature to underpriveledged children in San Francisco, 826 Valencia, named after its address. His second novel, the less autobiographical You Shall Know Our Velocity has been published by McSweeney's, to critical acclaim.

(The preceding was a shameless attempt to justify the noding of the following more personal information. There actually is a good amount of information about Dave Eggers in what follows, however, so read on.)

Apparently, Dave Eggers is frequently gracious enough to accept the invitations extended to him by the various high school and college courses teaching his book. It was on one such occassion that I had the good fortune to meet Dave Eggers. A friend of mine, taking a class at UC Berkeley, asks me, "Have you read Dave Eggers? He's coming to visit my class." As Dave Eggers is to me what *NSync is to a prepubescent schoolgirl, I could be forgiven for screaming, "DAVE FUCKING EGGERS?!?!"

He invited me to come to the class.

The day of the visit, the classroom was fairly crowded. A number of my students had, like my friend, brought guests. Before his arrival we sat around and discussed the book. The teacher and a number of the more pompous students were considering a theory that Eggers used humor as a tool to help deal with the pain of grief, and an even more pretentious theory that the drawing of the stapler at the beginning of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius encapsulated the book in a nutshell; "...It represents human attempts to resist entropy! To hold the family together in the face of chaos!"

Finally, Eggers arrived. He was casually dressed and resembled a slightly older version of the man in the jacket photo of AHWOSG. He is also, I am told by female members of the class, "cuter in real life."

Eggers the person is much like one would expect from reading about Eggers the character. He is wry, self-deprecating, honest, and not above the occassional profanity. He derided - very gently - the idea of humor as a armor against grief, saying, "Maybe true, but that's very Psych 101 isn't it?" He revealed the story behind his addition and subsequent removal of the appendix from later paperback editions of AHWOSG. "The critics - they're stupid assholes... dickheads, really, and I was disturbed by how much they were getting wrong. For example, the New York Times had a piece on how the last chapter of the book was a parody of James Joyce's Ulysses. This was something that was very difficult for me to write, that took a lot of emotional investment, and they've reduced it to a satire, and people will believe them, because they read it in the Times and it's authoritative. So I was very angry and I wrote the appendix in, like, a day, and I sent it off to the publisher and it was published. And afterwards it was like an angry letter that I wish I hadn't written, so I had it taken out. Although I think I may have it put back in, in a revised form, because people who don't have it think they're getting less of a book."

Some other interesting excerpts from the discussion:

"In You Shall Know Our Velocity, the book starts right on the cover, there's no cover page or copyright information or any of that. We asked a lawyer and it turns out you don't need any of that. Who knows what that stuff is anyway? I mean all the Library of Congress stuff and the 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 thing, what is that? You know, when we used to think that we needed that, sometimes we would just take a book from a big publisher, and copy their copyright page and just stick it in our book, without any idea what it was for."

"Toph never actually felt too much of the attention, actually, because he is so much younger and not that many people that he's around will know about the book. There's always a few people that do... at parties, there'll be one girl who's read the book, and he has this one friend who'll always use that as his line, or something."

We finally ask him about the whole stapler-as-metaphor-for-attempts-to-create-stability-and-order thing, and to the teacher's dismay, he reveals, "It's just a picture of a stapler. I just drew a picture of a stapler and thought it looked really good, so I stuck it in. I originally was going to draw a polar bear, but the stapler looked better." The teacher, trying to recover some status, asked weakly, "Maybe subconsciously?" to which Dave (will He mind if I call Him Dave?) responded, "Sure, maybe." Ever wish you could meet Shakespeare just so you could find out for sure if Hamlet had an Oedipus complex or not? This was better, because I got to see the expressions on the faces of the silly over-analyzers.

I have, as a memento of my hour with Dave, his signature in my copy of AHWOSG. "Darrell," it reads in big red letters ("Do you ever get in fights with the -yl people?" he quips. Oh, he is deliriously witty, and he spared a witticism for me, oh, oh!) "my left: (and here there is a drawing of his left hand) - Dave Eggers." I tried to fathom the deep and mysterious meaning behind the doodle, but remembering the matter of the stapler, wisely have since ceased my probing.

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