Sunday, November 16, 2003

Compare and contrast 

Embracing all the finer trappings of touring--you know, drinking, smoking, living to excess--is DBC Pierre, the most newly minted literary party boy . He really, really likes America:

"This will sound like sucking up, but this is without a doubt the most open, most hospitable English-speaking country in the world," he said. "Looking at it from overseas, America is an atoll. But there's a reef around it that's your popular media. If you're in England, you don't get the nice bits; you get that there's been 20 people dropped, shot in a restaurant. Nothing comes in or out of that country without passing over that prickly reef."

Leading a somewhat more restrained lifestyle these days is Donna Tartt; she's never watched Sex in the City (it's OK, she hasn't missed all that much), doesn't pay attention to publicity and amazingly, eschews typing for longhand:

Learning how to type does not make you a writer. It was one of the biggest disappointments of my life when I found I couldn't compose at a typewriter. You see so many movies in which pages fly out of a writer's machine and novels pile up next to them. I'm in my late 30s now and I'm still working in those messy little notebooks I had when I was six.

Typewriter? Huh? Granted, Tartt is going to be 40 next year but come on, there were Apple IIes in the early 80s, never mind Commodore 64s. How the hell did she avoid the whole computer thing?

Never mind that movies still persist in perpetuating the typewriter-as-romantic-image claptrap. Though there were many reasons I decided not to see LOVE, ACTUALLY, the last straw was the clip of Colin Firth, playing a novelist, sitting by the beach with his typewriter and watching the pages fly away. I was thisclose to screaming, "Next time get a freaking laptop!"

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