Skip to main content

Twittering & Writing

Last week, the lovely script whizz Linda Voorhees invited me to Twitter. And having followed her through her stunning exposition of master scenes, taglines and page 60, I'd pretty much follow her anywhere (and am thrilled she's now got a channel on YouTube—Voorgreen, and is teaching online). So I joined.

But I'm ambivalent about Twitter although I love watching the character countdown: 140, 123, 81, 2, 1.  It could be a lot of fun, getting the most out of those 140 characters. But I'm feeling a bit of keyboard overload: scripts, thesis, three email addresses, txt, and now Twitter--

And I've just read a 2003 interview with novelist Zadie Smith (pictured) that helped me understand why. I can't wait for her new book Fail Better, about writers, due this month; I read her stunning "Fail better" article in the Guardian ages ago, and it helped me understand my writing process, but the link no longer works. According to her, writing "is a wonderful job..."


"...but it's not always a wonderful job to wake up every morning and face a computer, and there's nobody to talk to, and there's nobody around. It's not always the cheeriest job in the world. It's an odd job when the work's not going well, which happens to me quite a lot. Then, it's just a lot of sitting around and sadness... When I'm writing properly, that's my life every day. You forget to eat, you forget to do anything. And it doesn't feel completely healthy.
Q (Camille Dodero) : After those periods of isolation, do you find it hard to relate to people?
A: Yes. If I'm let out to go to a party, say, and I haven't been out for three or four weeks, I don't realise that most people have colleagues and they know how to smooth things over [in conversation]. You don't always have to tell the truth, for instance, about how you're feeling every second of the day.
When I finished White Teeth and had to start doing press, I would always say the wrong thing. I didn't know how to be a person with other people. And there's all kinds of linguistic things, tics, to make a conversation smooth and natural, and I really didn't know what I was doing because I never saw anybody... I think [writing] sometimes has a bad effect on your social skills."
I never forget to eat. I enjoy it too much, and my brain fails if it's not well fed. But when I'm writing most of the time, I do sometimes forget how to be a person with other people. I say the wrong thing. I do the wrong thing. So I've learned to make sure that I sit at a kitchen table with a real live person or two, and a cup of tea, regularly. And I cook for a friend twice a week, who's very understanding when, sometimes, I can't sustain a conversation. Twitter, like email and txting, takes time from being with people-in-the-flesh.  On the other hand it's a great way to stay in touch with people like Linda who live far away.

So I've decided to Twitter, a bit. 

Comments

  1. Fabulous blog, M, most inspiring! Glad you're at uni to help me practice my social skills and put fear aside :) I had a look at Linda's youtube sessions, great to remember our intense two weeks, and be able to refresh the learning too. Love the images of you in your office, the toaster vs printer race, etc. And great to take advantage of your reading & movie-going adventures through your blog, thanks! xxxDesiree

    ReplyDelete
  2. We need to live more and record less. You can drink a coffee and twitter “I drank a coffee." Or you can drink a coffee and have a kiss in the same amount of time. Add this up to a lifetime and wonder what this generation will miss.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's lovely. Two of my favorite people, living on opposite sides of the world, meet in cyberspace. Hadn't considered that such a magic thing might happen. xxxx to you both.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

#Cannes2017 Excludes #WomeninFilm Who Bring Their Children

Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir’s track record is pretty impressive.

She has written, directed and produced over sixteen films. One of Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema and Variety’s Arab New Wave, two of her films have premiered as Official Selections in Cannes, one in Venice and one in Berlin.

Annemarie’s short film like twenty impossibles (2003) was the first Arab short film in history to be an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and continued to break ground when it went on to be a finalist for the Academy Awards.

Her second work to debut in Cannes, the critically acclaimed Salt of this Sea (2008), went on to win the FIPRESCI Critics Award, and garnered fourteen other international awards including Best Film in Milan. It was the first feature film directed by a Palestinian woman and Palestine’s 2008 Oscar Entry for Foreign Language Film.

Her latest film When I Saw You won Best Asian Film at the Berlinale , Best Arab Film in Abu Dhabi and Best Film in…

'Water Protectors', by Leana Hosea

Leana Hosea's Water Protectors isabout ordinary women in Flint, at Standing Rock and on the Navajo reservation who have had their water poisoned and are at the forefront in the movement for clean water.

Water is a big issue in Aotearoa New Zealand, too– the degradation of our waterways; drinking water contamination; the offshore sale of our pure water; the debate about Maori sovereignty over water, under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/ the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840.  Partly because this has raised my awareness about the significance of access to water, my heart is absolutely with the women in Leana's work. And with Leana, editing through the night as I write this.

Leana is a reporter/producer for BBC's World Service Radio and has held many other roles within the BBC. As a highly experienced multimedia journalist she's originated ideas, fixed stories, written scripts, filmed and edited them.

She was a shoot/edit/reporter/producer for the BBC in Egypt during the revoluti…

Dana Rotberg and White Lies|Tuakiri Huna

Cushla Parekowhai and I went to previews for Dana Rotberg's new feature White Lies/Tuakiri Huna – Cush in Auckland and me down here in Wellington. And the film excited us. White Lies/Tuakiri Huna, described as 'a story about the nature of identity: those who deny it and those who strive to protect it', comes from Medicine Woman, a novella by Witi Ihimaera, who also wrote Whale Rider. (Witi is Cushla's cousin. Witi's father, Tom Smiler, and Cush's grandmother, Pani Turangi, were raised in the same household in Manutuke.)

Dana wrote, in the book that accompanies the film, that after she read Medicine Woman –
...Paraiti, the medicine woman, was a stubborn presence who refused to leave. I felt that was a clear sign that the story...was speaking to me from places other than where the original work had come from. Places that belonged to my intimate family history and my most unresolved conflicts as a person in the world. It was a call from the core of my origins to l…