Last night at the Dallas Institute we had ourselves a little gathering billed as a Pretentious Literary Happy Hour(s). I believe this is what Eric is referring to in his post below. We were there to celebrate the prolix yet estimable Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest. Among the link-worthy names in attendance were Mitch Land, George Getschow, Tony Pederson, Bill Marvel, Kurt Eichenwald, Zac Crain, Harry Hunsicker, Chris Kelly, Rod Dreher, Curt Sampson, and noted pugilist Doug Swanson, who told a really funny story about his last fight, in which he went six rounds and absolutely beat the crap out of his opponent — only to learn afterward that the guy he fought was really a woman. (No kidding.) But my favorite part of the evening was when I welcomed everyone and then read the following e-mail I’d received from Skip Hollandsworth, explaining why he couldn’t be there:
Hello, I’m Skip Hollandsworth, and I typed this note with my own meaty yet handsome fingers so that my good friend Tim Rogers could read it to you. The Mayborn Conference is a splendid event, and I wish it continued success in its third year. As you might know, Texas Monthly is a sponsor of the conference. Which makes my absence this evening all the sadder, mainly to those of you who are there, without me. I imagine the room feels empty without my charm to fill it. You might also know that I recently sold the movie rights to a piece I did for Texas Monthly about the Goree Girls, women’s prison inmates who formed a popular country singing group in the forties. Jennifer Aniston is going to produce the movie for DreamWorks. That fact has nothing to do with my absence tonight. I just wanted to mention it. Again, it’s a shame I’m not there to tell you more about myself and make passes at any pretty women present. I’m thinking about Virginia Postrel, in particular. Maybe next year, if you’re lucky.
Of course, the note was bogus. I’m not sure what was more enjoyable: that half the people in the room thought Skip had actually written it or that Skip himself walked in about 15 minutes after I read it.
Good times. Thanks to everyone who joined us.