11 February 2010

Following up (sort of) on yesterday’s post, I’ve recently discovered an online writers community called She Writes.  Its self-proclaimed mission:

A unique community where women writers can create networks and get the services and support they need to make every stage of their writing lives easier, She Writes is a business on a mission: to forever transform the landscape in which women write, publish, and read.

Launched in June 2009, She Writes currently has about 7,000 members, and seems to be growing rapidly. So, clearly, there are women writers out there who identify as “women writers.” (Over the next few weeks I’m posting there as part of their “Countdown to Publication” series.)

Like most things, I suppose I see it as “both/and.”  Self-categorization can be limiting; at the same time, there is a sense in which each of the multiple facets of one’s identity wants to be specifically nourished.

Vaguely related to this, I have posted at The Millions yesterday and today a twopart interview with David Shields, focused on his forthcoming book Reality Hunger: A Manifesto.  It strikes me that this is a book that seems to grab the attention of male readers more than female.  Am I wrong about this?  Does it matter?

I know Zadie Smith wrote an essay about the state of the novel, sparked by RH:AM, which appears in her new essay collection (and can no longer be found online — I just tried).  I think of Smith as one of the most beloved young female writers by male readers; I’m not sure why I think this, or if it’s even true.

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3 February 2010

Sometimes, yes, Things Fall Apart; but today, they come together…

27 days to release of Long for This World.  This first shipment of hard covers are in, and tomorrow I’ll actually see it/hold it in my hand.

Press release, book group guide, events, hope for reviews, a book trailer (!) — things are happenin’.  How about that.

A gratifying convergence: my mentor from graduate school David Shields has a new book coming out in February, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto.  Look out next week for a meaty two-part interview-conversation we put together for The Millions.  It’s fun (for me) to see us criss-crossing on book tour, like here, at Brookline Booksmith (scroll down) and here at McNally Jackson.

Another piece of “coming together” good news is forthcoming; I could tell you right now, but then, well, I’d have to kill you.  And that would be terrible.

13 February 2009

An article in the January 19 issue of Wired magazine by Steven Levy captures my feelings about social networking — “Author’s Online Activities” — aptly. He writes about the inevitable cycles of under- and over-participation:

…driven by guilt, I try to pitch in. I post Facebook status reports, send iPhone snapshots to Flickr, link my Netflix queue with FriendFeed. But as my participation increases, I invariably suffer another psychic downside of social networking: remorse… It’s one thing to share intimacies person- to-person. But with a community? Creepy.

Creepy, indeed. 

And yet, here we are.  I’ve not yet read Susan Sontag’s recently published journals, but here’s a pull-quote I’m chewing on:  

In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could do to any person; I create myself.  

Is the blog the modern journal?  Sontag might say so: One of the main (social) functions of a journal is precisely to be read furtively by other people.

Do we think, then, that blogging can be generative in itself, and not just the chatter which comments on or points (links, etc) us to substance?   I wonder: do bloggers — in putting themselves to the virtual page almost daily, for others to behold and ingest — actually build a thinking and creating self?  

(Literary memoirist David Shields has been thinking and writing on this — the phenomenon of “reality” writing — for a long time and has much smarter things to say about it than I.   I’m not sure how much he’s explored (divulged) the effects/experience of self-revealing writing on the writer himself…  but check out his forthcoming book, Reality Hunger.)