The Interview Conundrum

Galleycat reported that the writer Wells Tower is “no longer doing interviews on the internet.” As a fan of the writer–and as the online marketing manager of his publisher–this is disappointing. Why wouldn’t it be? As Tower’s proven in his short fiction and reportage, he’s in possession of one of the warmest and sharpest wits around.

Disappointing, yes, but also understandable. While he doesn’t go into the reasons behind his position, this will not stop plenty of people from blindly hypothesizing. Might this hypothesizing-in-a-vacuum relates to the cause of Tower’s digital apostasy? I wonder.

I’m reminded of recurring comments by literary novelists in recent years. A core value of the digital revolution is speed, and as our lives become ever more networked, this speed comes to feel like the new normal. We ask, Why can’t they just write a book every two years?

To paraphrase The Incredibles, when everything’s fast, nothing is. Participation does not equal readership, it merely equals participation. And if you’re professionally disposed to measuring your words, writing draft after draft of a short story until it’s as perfect as you and your editor can make it, might it be somewhat disrespectful to the endeavor to blather on in an interview? At the very least it’s risking glibness when you’ve trained yourself out of it. What’s more, no amount of technological innovation will accelerate the pace of crafting literature. How-to manuals, sure. But not literature.

I will say this: Wells Tower’s move, intentional or not, has drummed up more news than any online interview ever could. He turned an interview request into a zine? Pretty great. I ordered mine already.

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1 Comment

Filed under farrar straus and giroux, industry

One response to “The Interview Conundrum

  1. Pingback: Afternoon Bites: Wells Tower and zines, handselling, Blake Butler, and more | Vol. 1 Brooklyn

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