Wednesday, September 19, 2007

someone cooler than me vs. the audience

Is this what goes through writers’ heads at readings? It’s what goes through Tao Lin’s head, and while I usually feel a little more, uh, organic about the whole process, I have (as both a writer and an audience member) noticed a tension between questions and answers. The desire to ask the perfect question. The desire to give the least predictable answer. Both sides wanting alternately and sometimes simultaneously to endear and challenge.

Just reading the article, I felt envious of how creative and observant and postmodern and Miranda July-ish Lin is. Which made me hate him a smidge too—both invalidly (because he appears to be cooler than me) and validly (because his honesty has an unfriendliness about it, and sometimes cleverness looks a lot like gimmickry).


Claire said...

Hmm, reading that article made him sound like a jerk to me.

I understand the desire to ask a cool, thought-provoking question, but I think I'm usually hoping for a straightforward answer.

Cheryl said...

He doesn't quite seem jerky to me--a jerk might be more invested in putting on a Nice Author persona. But he definitely comes across as someone who's invested in playing games with the audience, possibly as a way of exposing the weird construct that is The Literary Reading. But not everyone (not me or you) goes to readings to see the construct exposed.

Claire said...

"a jerk might be more invested in putting on a Nice Author persona"

Really? That seems like the last thing a jerk would care about.

I get being nervous in front of crowds, but he seems to take it to an aggressive place I don't care for whether it's throwing CDs at people or his preoccupation with "defeating" audience members.

Perhaps I haven't been to enough readings for a construct exposure to feel relevant or useful to me.