Academically-sponsored discussion + author (Jennifer Egan) + speculations on technology and books = hits at the soft spot where readers and writers meet.

via Dan Rosenblum/@CapitalNewYork:

“[Egan] said there was a contradiction between her interest in technology as a writer and her personal behavior.

‘I didn’t want email on my phone, and I held out as long as I could,’ Egan said. ‘But then I noticed that I was having to go home all the time, because I was having to check my email.’

But, she said, the ‘fetishization of connection itself’ fascinated her.

‘Who cares that we can connect?’ she said. ‘What’s the big deal? I think Facebook is colossally dull. I think it’s like everyone coming to live in a huge Soviet apartment block, [in] which everyone’s cell looks exactly the same.’

The room laughed.”

Readers will pay (money, time) to connect with writers. Sometimes it’s funny, too – even at a moment like this when a writer’s contempt puts distance in that connection, and puts a reader farther away from what they are: creators themselves.

It could be different. Egan could find be finding a new audience on Subtext, for example.

I wonder what Egan would be saying about connection if she had no readers.

Two poles: on one, the “Everyone is an artist” of Joseph Beuys. On the other, the “I am not really an artist” of Maurizio Cattelan.

When writers are not biting the hands that read them, the reader is probably somewhere in between the two.


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