Intern Antonio expresses envy over intern Morgan’s declaration.

As a straight male I was surprised when I attended the Conversations and Connections conference and found myself developing a writer crush on Steve Almond. Almond was the keynote speaker at the conference and also did a reading of his own works in a workshop. I’m sure that Morgan’s crush and mine are quite similar, and at the same time founded in two different focuses, with mine being the somewhat more cerebral kind of crush.

I found four things about him that engendered my affections: his quirky sense of humor, his amazing writing style, his drive to spread fun literature to anyone who will read it, and the subjects he writes about. Almond’s style of writing combines sardonic and sarcastic humor with wonderfully vivid descriptions. He brings text to life. He crafts scenes and stories that will engross you and fill you with a facsination for his characters and quite often gut-busting laughter.

However, beyond just writing well, which I’m certain is a skill a few other people in the world can claim, his drive to give literature to others is impressive. Almond self-publishes his novels, he personally pays for small chapbooks which cover the many subjects he’s pleased to write about. I am infatuated with two of his books I bought at the conference, Bad Poetry and Letters From People Who hate Me. The first is a collection of bad poetry he wrote during his rugged youth along with essays about why the poetry was bad, and in some cases back story on why he initially wrote the poem. The second is a series of letters addressed to Almond with his own responses written next to the letters.

Both chapbooks are uproariously funny, and are worth more than the $5 I spent to buy them. However possibly one of my favorite parts of the books, is that besides just further proving that Almond is a writing genius for the 21st century, they also give insight into who he is as an author and an average-Joe. Whether you want to be wowed by his writing, love his subject matter (sex and lots of it), or just want to have a fun time reading something, you should definitely check out Almond’s books. Maybe you’ll end up with a secret crush on him too.

Definitely check out:
Steve Almond’s Web Page
Harvard Bookstore (His bigger and more well-known works are sold here)
Espresso Book Machine (All of his chapbooks are sold here)