Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Interviews. That which matters.

It's one of those ironies of life, or rather one of those hypocrisies of my character, that I look at interviews with other people [1] and proceed to make large assumptions about their character based on what they say. Of course, I know exactly the limitations of the interview, the roles one plays and the filters every answer must go through, or the context that the author assumes versus what others may assume upon reading or hearing that answer, to say nothing of the available thoughts when the question is asked. I poke a little fun at the process with this random pseudo-essay of a short story I wrote recently.

So instead of focusing on another author's interview [2], I decided to lap scorn upon myself. There are two whole interviews with me out there. Here's an interview that seems worthy of analysis:

Again, now that I look at it, I am aware of all the ways one can answer these questions, the roles that one plays, and, ultimately, the picture someone is trying to put forth. Looking at some of my predictions and answers, I think I was trying my hardest to be measured, as measured at least sounds level headed. But now that I'm reading it, it's filled with what I can only consider platitudes. 

Like I said, it's more of an attempt to put up airs. But is this what people expect? [3] Or perhaps going out on a limb, showing too much emotion (unless apologies are in order) is not allowed? Then too rambling on for too long will make one seem like a blowhard (trying to provide some of that context). So what does an interview provide? For us, the listeners/watchers? Do we get to know anyone? We get to hear them tell a story, ostensibly about themselves. And it's better than nothing. But would a version of interviews that tries to get behind a mask be something that matters? When are we ever without a mask? 

And when it comes to writing—an activity that tends to balance the conscious and subconscious parts of the mind—what does an interview have to offer? Even if someone is completely honest about their work, are they the sole authority on the matter? Let's say that you like a specific fictional book, what could the author add to the matter. Some background, perhaps, and perhaps even some pieces about the creation of the piece, but I subscribe to the theory that states a piece of writing is a creation of life in its own right and it becomes what others would like it to be. So whatever a writer can say about it is minor. [4]

Hard to say what matters in such a situation. [5] Would removing the mask through drugs or tricks be the logical conclusion?

As for my interview... is it worthwhile and does it speak of me as writer, to me as a human being? What are your thoughts?




[1]  In fact, this was originally going to be a post on interviews by the likes of Franzen and even DFW. Those icons for very specific subsets of elite, usually white, America. I speak especially about the latest interview with Franzen, to say nothing of his twitter comments (and my reactions to that). 

[2] Again, let's speak of Franzen's interview where he rants against twitter, then in a later interview clarifies what he meant to say.

[3] Hell, could it be that with the advent of social media and the odd mobs that will lynch someone for any one sentence, context etc be damned, will only lead us further into the land of platitudes and nothing worthwhile said. 

[4] Another author is Salman Rushdie. I absolutely love a book of his I'm reading, Satanic Verses, and yet I'm loathe to give any of his interviews, or appearances in shows much credence, being that I'm completely against his statements against Islam. What to do? There is a beautiful creation from his mind. And there are his comments. Of course, separating him from that creation would help me with some dissonance (though, to be fair, I have a model of the world that includes both without too much rule twisting).  

[5] Don't for a second think that I'm missing the boat here. That I know the main impetus for an interview is simply a vehicle to put out some information, and make the author seem like someone you would like to buy things, that book, from.

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