Richard Kramer, who has written shows such as My So-Called Life and Thirtysomething, had an intimate crowd while celebrating his new novel at The Booksmith. Kramer’s novel, These Things Happen, follows Wesley, a nearly ordinary teenager. He’s got that angst, that awkwardness, and the small amount of wit that isn’t too difficult to find. What he has that isn’t so common is a friend who just came out, a father who outed himself years before, and a mother who isn’t too comfortable with Wesley’s newfound atmosphere. But it’s the platonic love story between Wesley and his father’s partner, George, that is the epicenter of growth for both those characters.
This cozy reading allowed for an intimacy between us, the listeners, and Kramer. He exuded a care for his characters that every writer should have. His slightly self-deprecating humor paired with animated facial expressions let us know that it was OK to laugh, too. And it showed in his characters, as well. Snippets of who Kramer is can be found inside each of these characters, along with bits of gangly teenagers and motherly fans who he has met throughout the years, giving fingerprints to Wesley, George, and the others. The voices were strong enough that it allowed us to borrow Kramer’s eyes for a few moments. Well, we borrowed three different pairs that night, to be exact: the invisible man, George, the teenager, Wesley, and the doubtful mother, Lola. It wasn’t overly wordy, either, since Kramer wasn’t reaching for the deepest of souls, but the realest, as he put it.
The video above includes a question and answer session that will let you get a feel for the warm atmosphere. I enjoyed it so much that I left with a copy of These Things Happen, so I could take some of the evening with me. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Fermin Gonzales is an intern from the SFSU Creative Writing program. He enjoys pretending he migrated to San Francisco to escape the sinister and martial life he lived in Hollister, though the real reason was that he needed an education. He recently began a blog to focus on his other lifelong passion: music. And, not comfortable with simply writing about the music, he has begun posting videos of his own original work.