Loyal readers! I have been greatly moved by the outpourings of support for my blog, and of execration for Twitter. I feel like a tiny bit like Arthur Conan Doyle after he killed off Sherlock Holmes.
“I have been much blamed for doing [Holmes] to death,” Conan Doyle said… “but I hold that it was not murder, but justifiable homicide in self-defense, since, if I had not killed him, he would certainly have killed me.”
A STRUGGLE: BLOG V. BATUMAN
It’s hard for me to convey how seriously my world was shaken by these lines from last Sunday’s NYTBR “In the List” roundup:
There was a time, three or four years ago, when it seemed every novelist had a blog, and why not? Blogging gave writers another way to reach readers, to promote their work or air their grievances or test their ideas in mini-essays that played to their strengths. But technology evolves, and despite some notable holdouts (Elif Batuman is one) Twitter has killed the blogging star. Now writers connect with their publics in 140 characters or fewer.
I had NO IDEA until I read it in the Times that writers had stopped keeping blogs!! Three or four years ago—that’s just when I started blogging! And now I’m one of the last ones left?? How did this happen?? When??
I became obsessed by the phrase “notable holdout.” “Notable holdout,” I kept thinking to myself. “Notable holdout.” Sometimes it sounded good; other times, not so good. I went through a long period of fruitless thinking. I looked up “holdout” in multiple dictionaries. I wondered whether I would be worse at Twitter than Anne Lamott and, if so, how much worse. I took a break to check my email, and found 14 new spam comments posted to my notable-holdout blog by the latest Captcha resistant spambots, who have moved into the future and left me in the past. And, finally, I remembered Viktor Shklovsky’s immortal Third Factory:
It’s wrong to say: “The whole squad is out of step except for one ensign.” I want to speak with my time, to understand its voice. Right now, for example, it’s hard for me to write, because the normal length for an article will soon be reached.
But chance is crucial to art. The dimensions of a book have always been dictated to an author.
OK human history – I can take a hint. You can find me on Twitter @BananaKarenina, unburdening my heart according to the dimensions dictated by my time.
Once I had gotten started on the important life decisions, I also decided to shut down my Facebook “Author” page, although I’m leaving up my “personal” Facebook page. I will be tweeting (on Twitter) the newsy stuff I used to put on the Author page; Twitter is set to post automatically/ publicly to my “personal” FB page, so please feel free to subscribe. Those who use Facebook but not Twitter can see my Twitter posts on my Facebook page. To those notable holdouts who use neither Twitter nor Facebook, I hang my head and can only say, in the words of my late grandmother, “Hem bravo, hem pardon” (bravo, sorry).
I’m leaving up this site, but only for what I hope will be the very rare occasions when I have grievances that take more than 140 characters to air. I’m sorry to say that I will NO LONGER CHECK COMMENTS REGULARLY, because I swear every day I get +100 comments from some crooked robot trying to sell me used term papers. But you can tell me what you think via Twitter/ Facebook, or through my people.
See you IN THE FUTURE!!!
I will not tell you how long it took me to make that hat.
(I am too cheap for Photoshop.)
Youthful readers! I am proud to announce that today I finally broke into the Istanbul high-school circuit, with a reading/ workshop at the British International School—many thanks to Russell Gunnell and loyal super-reader Ebru Kesen for making it happen!
Here is what I learned about the British International students of Istanbul: they are really astute judges of human character. In the Q/A, right between “What’s harder, fiction or nonfiction?” and “Do you ever have writer’s block?”, one young person proved that she had me all figured out by asking, “Do you have a cat?” When I asked how she was able to tell, she tactfully replied: “I know that cats sometimes help people write books.”