Posts tagged interviews
“All of the Money, None of the Vomit:” A Conversation about Making Scenes
The author of Making Scenes, who was known as Adrienne Eisen at the time the book was published, is now known as Penelope Trunk. Penelope Trunk is a successful career coach and popular blogger. Adrienne Eisen is the author of a transgressive, disturbing and awesome novel. Emily Gould spoke to Penelope on the phone last week and they tried to reconcile these ideas.
E: What were the circumstances around the publication of Making Scenes?
P: Well, I started writing little snippets in the early 90s. It was just when the Internet was coming into existence. My boyfriend was in this group of people in Hollywood that was looking for content for non-linear media. They had all this technology and nothing to put on it. People were talking about how they were going to, like, dissect James Joyce and put it in a new order and I was like, wow, that’s a really stupid idea, that’s gonna be really bad. And so I brought my little snippets to the meeting and said, hey, this makes sense if you read it in any order. And I became this darling of the new media world, because I could churn out content that they could throw onto their new technology. But then it wasn’t really a world that was taken seriously at that time. Like, if you were a writer you wrote a book. I could tell people that I was writing on the Internet, and they didn’t even know what the Internet was.
E: We’ve come so far, since then! Haha.
“A Glory Hole Would Have Ruined EVERYTHING.” An Interview with Helen DeWitt
Helen DeWitt is the author of EB pick Lighting Rods. She is also the author of The Last Samurai and the blog paperpools. Andy Selsberg is the author of You Are Good at Things: A Checklist and teaches college freshman composition. They had a fascinating recent email conversation about Lightning Rods and the ethical and physical practicability of some of the acts described therein. You should certainly follow both Helen’s and Andy’s twitters.
AS: Eureka, FL, Electrolux, Encyclopaedia Britannica, characters who say
“Jumping Jehosophat”: these all seem to set the story in a mythical
American past (or at least a parallel America). Did you do this to
give the story an air of fable or allegory? (If not, what drew you to
this setting? It is one I’m sucker for.) At any point you consider
about making it more now—maybe have Joe hustling ads for a website,
or going after venture capital for a startup? Would that have changed
the essence of what you wanted to do with the novel?
HD: I think what I had in mind was the simplified America(s) of TV sitcoms of the late 50s, 60s, 70s. It struck me that when Joe was growing up the popular culture that was his frame of reference would not all have been contemporary, it was common to have endless reruns of shows that had aired years, even a decade earlier. (I suppose one could see that as a kind of mythical past.) His outlook feels more dated than one would expect if one thought only of his age (hits 30 sometime in the 90s); that seemed to matter somehow, that this simplistic, outdated view of the world should find a foothold in a real world that had left it far behind. Which, in turn, is possible because 1 person in the 1000 he tries shares the same dated point of view and is in a position to give him his first sale. I don’t think that particular irony would have been possible if Joe had been brought up to date, been more recognizable as a modern businessman.
I don’t mean to imply that the book is particularly profound, but this does seem to be a fictional instance of something that is genuinely shocking about our world: most of its structures were put in place, are now kept in place, by people who couldn’t even IMAGINE the resources taken for granted by the young.