What’s an author? Why, just the sum of her readers, of course!
This is not to say that all networked writing will take place in vast wiki collectives. The individual author will be needed more than ever as a guide through the info-glutted landscape. But writers’ relationship with their readers will change as writing moves from the solitary desk to the collaborative network. No longer just an audience, readers will become assets, and eventually writers will be judged not for the number of books they sell but for the quality and breadth of their networks.
And then imagine that perhaps it is not actually a new phenomenon. What’s Plato but the collection of people who have read, discussed, and saved Plato? What’s Rachel Carson without the same?
I am newly in love with the idea of authorship as the creation of a community — by whatever means necessary or possible — around your ideas.
English majors, have at it.
(Link from Forbes.com’s great and completely-out-of-left-field report on books.)
One of the tons of literary references in The Year of Magical Thinking is to the section of Emily Post’s Etiquette that deals with funerals. Didion mentions she ran across Etiquette on the Internet, and sure enough, here it is, with its ultra-authoritative tone, sage wisdom on matters particular, and wry wit:
A man whose social position is self-made is apt to be detected by his continual cataloguing of prominent names. Mr. Parvenu invariably interlards his conversation with, “When I was dining at the Bobo Gildings'”; or even “at Lucy Gilding’s,” and quite often accentuates, in his ignorance, those of rather second-rate, though conspicuous position. “I was spending last week-end with the Richan Vulgars,” or “My great friends, the Gotta Crusts.” When a so-called gentleman insists on imparting information, interesting only to the Social Register, shun him!
I move that we resurrect the verb to interlard.
As a reporter/producer, I never had to make presentations. I told stories with images, audio, and text — using Flash, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Word, and the like. My first month at the Star Tribune, I found myself having to use PowerPoint. Initially disdainful, I sniffed around for a few PPT tutorials, and stumbled across this blog. As well as provided helpful tips, the blog espoused an approach to PowerPoint that helped me to see it as just another storytelling medium.
The PowerPoint I created last October still lives on in bits and pieces today, in presentations I’ve given all over the Twin Cities. And I always get pretty good reviews.
I heard one of this woman‘s songs week-before-last, immediately bought the album, listened to it during lunch at work the next day, and instantly went to a coworker’s desk to announce I’d found her new favorite thing. And now I give her to you. Her name is Shara Worden, but she goes by My Brightest Diamond.
Tomorrow night, she’ll be at 7th St. Entry, First Avenue‘s adorable little brother venue, but I cannot attend. This makes me sad. Support her when she comes to your town, that she may return to mine.