The writer Elif Batuman has a funny, charming essay in the Guardian about the general weirdness of having written a well-received, successful book (in her case, the funny, charming essay collection The Possessed), and the specific weirdness of attending the National Book Critics Circle award. Why were the NBCC’s particularly weird? Because at those awards, Batuman asked Jonathan Franzen for some weed. Awesomely, Franzen had a pithy reply.
It’s difficult to articulate what possessed me, at a later, boozier point in the dinner, to ask Franzen whether he had any weed. In part, I was curious whether he had any. And in part, despite severe fatigue and a mild constitutional dislike of weed, I felt somehow unable not to pursue momentary contact with a half-glimpsed parallel world in which the evening continued in this really different, really mellow way.
“Wheat?” Franzen’s agent repeated, frowning. “Why would you need wheat?”
“Not wheat - weed.”
She stared at me blankly.
“Weed,” my agent repeated.
“There’s some in my freezer,” Franzen said. “But it’s all the way uptown.”
Go read the rest of the piece for some extra insight into the social awkwardness of authors, i.e., when Jonathan Franzen tells you that you are not as tall as you say you are, as some sort of party banter.
Elif Batuman: Life after a bestseller [Guardian UK]