Sheila Heti: What do you enjoy reading on Twitter?
Christian Lorentzen: Because I follow so many accounts I think of it as watching a stream of garbage flow in order to see what colour the trash is today.
David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas) is tweeting a short story all this week - line by line. Fittingly, the narrator is a teenage boy high on Valium.
What Would Twitter Do?
In this new ten-part series, ten of my favorite people on Twitter talk about what they do on Twitter and why—their Twitter philosophies, their do’s and don’ts, and what they make of the medium in general. First up: kimmy @arealliveghost whose Twitter feed is unique and moving and poetic and wonderful. One of her most popular tweets (and one of my favorite) is: your body is a ghost factory that takes one lifetime to produce a ghost. Kimmy Walters lives and writes in St. Louis. Her poetry can be found in FRiGG, Plain Wrap’s Quarter, The Chariton Review, and other publications.
Interesting new series from The Believer.
What is creepypasta, and what does it have to do with the future of literature? According to this blog post on the Twitter Fiction Festival, it’s a type of short horror fiction which, because it’s posted exclusively on the Web, occupies a similar place to Twitter fiction in the ranks of new literary genres. If you want to learn more about Twitter fiction, you could read our own Elizabeth Minkel on the nascent art form.
Last week, we discussed how Teju Cole has mastered literary Twitter, and that was before we knew that he tweeted a 4,000-word essay on immigration. “A Piece of the Wall” is composed of 250 tweets written during a seven-hour period and starts with: “I hear the sound of faint bells in the distance. It is like a sound in a dream, or the jingling at the beginning of a Christmas song.”
Yesterday, our own Elizabeth Minkel pondered if Twitter fiction could be real art. She cited Teju Cole, a literary Twitter master, but what does he have to say about how Twitter affects his writing? “My memory is worse than it was a few years ago, but I hope that my ability to write a good sentence has improved,” he told The New York Times.
The #TwitterFiction Festival runs for four days, and while many (if not all?) of the participants appear to be pre-scheduled, that doesn’t preclude some spontaneity — and perhaps they’ve even got a few secret tricks planned. They’ve got a great and varied line-up on board, from Emma Straub to Alexander McCall-Smith, and they’ve been teasing at a variety of different approaches for weeks. Will they break any new ground? The surest way to tell is to watch your Twitter feed. All tweets may be archived forever in the Library of Congress, but if past Twitter fiction experiments are any indicator, the best way to feel a tweet’s full impact is to catch it just as your feed drops down and the notification pops up: “1 new Tweet.”
When did Twitter turn into a place of public shame, outrage, and apology? Alexander Chee examines the changing culture in an essay for Dame Magazine. “Oh, Internet, place of the ultimate writerly paradox, where things you write quickly for little or no money last forever.” Our own Mark O’Connell explored something similar in his New Yorker essay on the public humiliation of regrettable tweets.