Saturday, February 4, 2012

Colum McCann on Fiction, Writing, and Stories

If you have not found YouTube's new IntelligentChannel (INT.), visit it now.

My focus is the 1st program, an interview with Colum McCann entitled "The Paul Holdengraber Show with Colum McCann: On the Radical Act of Storytelling."

The video:

Great quotes to spur discussion:

 About the value of story: "Stories are the ultimate democracy."

About the writer's craft: "The little anonymous corner is sometimes the best place for a story to come from."  (this quote would be nice paired with Seth Worley's short video Plot Device)

About the importance of the reader: "There is no creative writing without a creative reader.  The reader has to go in and her or she makes the book, and can make as little of it as they want or as much of it as they want."

About the relationship of the writer and the reader: "I want to paint a photograph for my reader and then her or  him to step into that photograph and move it along for themselves, and that's what you do with language...and then they go on their own journey; it's not mine anymore.  And readers can be infinitely wiser than the writer is."

About writing: "I always fail; we always fall short of the expectations that we want for the work to be. And that for me is a good thing."

About turning events into fiction (paraphrased):  The stories of today need to be told over, and over, and over again so that no one storyteller owns the truth.  There should be no one "official story" of history - writers have a duty to go into history and find the little anonymous corners that will tell the story.

And did you know that Frederick Douglass spent a year in starving Ireland on the speaker circuit while, at 27, he was still a slave? "Trying to make sense of what it means to be other, and yet look after your own people at the same time." 

McCann specifically addresses Let The Great World Spin and its allegorical connections to 9/11, the Iraq War, and other current events.

Subscribe to this new Channel and, if you teach McCann or read him, listen to this interview.  

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