Friday, 5 January 2018

About Jason Guriel's "What Happens When Authors Are Afraid to Stand Alone" article

In What Happens When Authors Are Afraid to Stand Alone Jason Guriel points out the risks of networking - "Writing as an individual pursuit has been replaced by “community”—and literature is the worse for it". Here are some quotes -

  • Apparently Thom Gunn had a “strong dislike” for “literary gatherings.” ... Christopher Middleton was “incapable of schmoozing, and his career suffered accordingly.”
  • In recent years, thoughtful poet-critics like Stewart Cole have made an eloquent case for the distinction between community and scene, and the desirability of the former over the latter.
  • while no one is truly isolated, writers have become more entangled than ever. Workshops, readings, book launches, conferences, artists’ colonies, and other glorified mixers increasingly press literary types upon one another. Creative writing instructors urge their charges to get out there and network. Social media ensures we’re always connected.
  • Literary controversies are now less about aesthetic feuds and more about group outrage.
  • literary community can have a deadly impact. The most obvious fatality: your critical faculty.
  • The American poet Kay Ryan, one of a few one-offs still around, has written eloquently about the need for writers—especially younger ones—to develop a carapace against what she calls “camaraderie.” For Ryan, this means avoiding the delivery systems by which literary community, like a virus, transmits itself: workshops and conferences. It means shrugging off the endless obligations that other writers will foist upon you. It means siloing yourself in silence.

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