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A chat with Virginia Woolf's ghost

How would our literary maps have been altered if David Foster Wallace had gone bar hopping with Fyodor Dostoyevsky? What kind of “Pride and Prejudice” would Jane Austen have penned if her literary mentor had been William S. Burroughs? How would Nathaniel Hawthorne react to “Fifty Shades of Grey?” If you’ve asked yourself questions like these, chances are that you’re kind of weird. Chances also are, however, that you’re predisposed to being into “Dead Authors” this Saturday evening at the Brookline Booksmith.

Jenny Zigrino channels Virginia Woolf Jenny Zigrino channels Virginia Woolf

How would our literary maps have been altered if David Foster Wallace had gone bar hopping with Fyodor Dostoyevsky? What kind of “Pride and Prejudice” would Jane Austen have penned if her literary mentor had been William S. Burroughs? How would Nathaniel Hawthorne react to “Fifty Shades of Grey?” If you’ve asked yourself questions like these, chances are that you’re kind of weird. Chances also are, however, that you’re predisposed to being into “Dead Authors” this Saturday evening at the Brookline Booksmith. A handful of accomplished local funny people — including Rob Crean, Jenny Zigrino, Steve Macone and Langston Kerman — will assume the identities of departed legends of the printed word for a benefit for 826 Boston, a non-profit dedicated to supporting young students in the literary arts.

Like all great comediennes (little known fact!) Jenny Zigrino has also mastered the art of necromancy, so she effortlessly summoned the ghost of "Mrs. Dalloway" author Virginia Woolf to give us a sample of what to expect at the undead lit fest.

Are you excited to hang out with Kurt Vonnegut and Henry David Thoreau?

Not at all. I think they’re trite. Thoreau went to the woods to write. I don’t have to go to the woods. I just need a room and some money. Vonnegut, he’s weird, and he smells bad with that beard of his. On top of that, he doodles in his books. There’s no room for doodles in my books!

But Vonnegut wasn’t published until almost 10 years after you died.

Heaven is quite boring, so we do things to entertain ourselves. I keep up with modern literature. One can only play shuttlecock so much until one is bored with such things. By the way, Vonnegut is a terrible shuttlecock player. Terrible.

Do you make a habit of supporting writing and tutoring nonprofits from beyond the grave?

No, but I like this one. I enjoy the number eight. It represents infinity, and infinite is the sadness I feel at all times.

Does it bug you that the patriarchy is still largely intact, despite how much you spoke out about gender inequality?

Yes it does. I believe that women are far more outstanding than men in every possible way. Furthermore, gay marrying is wonderful. I’ve had many female lovers, as well as my husband. We should all love each other! We should just love and love and keep loving until we’re tired of loving, and then have a snack and love some more!

What kind of a snack?

I would like a good oat bar. Something very hearty. You’ve got to get your energy back.

As someone who died in 1941, does modern technology freak you out? Do you ever worry that the Internet is a physical manifestation of evil spirits or something?

What’s evil is we only have DSL in Heaven. That’s what’s f—ing evil. I can’t even download any Hulu. I need to see the ending of “The Office!” If I miss that, I’ll have another nervous breakdown.

Who would you want to play you in a bio-pic?
Scarlett Johansson. And Vin Disel would be my husband.

You helped innovate the stream of consciousness style of fiction. Why not make everything you write simple and direct, so readers don’t have to think very hard?

If you’re not thinking, what are you doing?! You’ve got to get into the head of the person who’s writing, and really feel their emotions, their consciousness! Stream it, as if it were a YouTube video! Do you understand what I mean, young boy?

I think so.

Good. I have no idea what I’m talking about, but that’s my stream of consciousness!

If you go:

June 22, 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard St., Brookline
brooklinebooksmith.com

 
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