As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been struck by Alex Juhasz’s pronouncement at the Re:Humanities conference that we must learn what it means to write for an audience that is permanently distracted. In response, I put up a Facebook post: “We need a rhetoric of the caption. A hermeneutic of the aphorism. Haiku as argument.” My Provost at Messiah College–known for thorough and intricate argument–left a comment “I’m Doomed.”
Perhaps we all are, those of us who are more Faulkneresque than Carveresque in our stylistic leanings. This latest from GalleyCat:
R.L. Stine, the author of the popular Goosebumps horror series for kids, gave his nearly 49,000 Twitter followers another free story this afternoon.To celebrate Friday the 13th, the novelist tweeted a mini-horror story called “The Brave One.” We’ve collected the posts below for your reading pleasure.
Ok, I know it’s a silly reach to put Stine and Faulkner in the same paragraph, and to be honest I found Stine’s story trite. On the other hand, I do think it’s obvious we’re now in an age wherein shorter prose with bigger impact may be the necessity. Flash fiction is growing, and we can witness the immense popularity of NPR’s three minute fiction contest. These forms of fiction, of writing in general speak to the necessities of an art of the moment, rather than the art of immersion. Literature, and prose in general, is ALWAYS responsive to material and cultural forms of its own moment, and I think prose that is short and explosive, or prose that pierces beneath the surface of the readers psyche in a moment only to spread and eat its way into the unconscious when the moment of reading is long forgotten, is mostly likely the prose that is the order of the day.
BUT…Stine certainly doesn’t do it for me. I don’t know a lot about Twitter fiction. Is there any really good stuff out there on twitter–as opposed to flash fiction written in a standard format which I know more about? Or is it all carney-style self-promotion or unrealized theory at the moment?
[And what, I wonder, does this mean for the future of academic prose as well? I'm a late comer to Twitter myself, but I've been a little fascinated with the academic discourse that can occur, but more on that some other time.]