Literature is the original internet

Because we write to be in conversation with each other

Hi there,

Here’s a lovely Yanyi quote that I got the chance to share with the Writer’s Hour last week:

I believe, as artists, we’ve only heard one side of the story. We don’t just write to express ourselves. We write to be in conversation with each other. Through time. Over continents and languages. Beyond life and death. Literature lives because, lifetime after lifetime, world after world, writers have wanted to talk to each other. To remember. To go on. To share the hindsight of the future with the wisdom of the past. To fall in love again and again, differently. To speak defiantly in the midst of death. Speaking from one world, even between worlds. Making another way.

It reminds me of this wonderful answer by Brain Pickings creator Maria Popova:

For a long time, I’ve said literature is the original internet. Any book you read, whenever there’s a footnote, a citation, a passing allusion, that's a hyperlink to another book, another text. And for me now at this point 10 years in -- I’ve been doing this for 10 years -- I would say the vast majority of what I read, which is what I think about and consequently what I write about, comes from this semi-serendipitous hyperlinking, starting with things that I’m already enjoying and know and love. They lead me further and further out to these new frontiers of disciplines and thinkers that I’m yet to discover.

I just really like those two quotations in conversation with each other, they summarise a lot of what I’ve been thinking about over the last week or two. I used to hoover up literature (mainly novels) before 2000, and since the turn of the century, reading the internet has edged out a lot of offline reading for me. It’s comforting to think that both deserve a place in my reading habits, and have a lot in common with each other.

Comedy Update

Funny Women named me on their list of Ones to Watch, and I’m working on booking some gigs so that I can, indeed, be watched. Will pop dates and venues into future newsletters when I have them.

Podcasting things

I’ll be leading a session as part of the London Podcast Festival’s Pod Makers Weekend (26-27th Sept).

There are also some seriously amazing names turning up in the other masterclasses, including Kathy Tu, once co-host of WNYC's Nancy podcast, now Supervising Producer of The New York Times Opinion Audio; and Avery Trufelman, formerly of 99% Invisible and Articles of Interest podcasts, now host of The Cut's podcast.

Tickets will be on sale later today...

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