17th April 2002

I like Dave Eggers. As I’ve mentioned before, I subscribed to Might and McSweeny, I was among the hordes of subway riders who carried A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius on the commute, and I even attended a reading or two. When I heard he was starting 826 Valencia–a non-profit writing center for kids–I decided that Dave Eggers was certifiably swell. I also signed up to be a tutor. They called me in for an interview a few days ago, and I finally met Mr. Eggers.

For some reason, I was unprepared. I knew it was his project, but didn’t consider that I might see him there. He talked to me and two other tutors for about an hour, giving his take on the student-teacher bond and going through some sample writing. He had fantastic genius-hair, and seemed shy until he’d been talking for a few minutes. I listened and tried to seem more at ease than I was. On the way home, I thought about how weird it was to sit two feet from a guy whose work I’d been reading since I was 19. Then I realized my fly was open.