Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Sublurbs

"The future of the book is the blurb," if you ask Marshall McLuhan. I get that. I've got a slide-show attention span, always panning to what's next. I'm always reading a stack of books, rather than one and if the book isn't rocking, there's a reasonable chance it doesn't get finished.

I've been a magazine devourer for some time. Outside Magazine, Concrete Wave, Fast Company, Men's Journal, Surfer's Journal, sometimes Yoga Journal, Zoetrope All-Story, the occasional New Yorker--I light up going into Borders or the Newscenter in Easton. I dig reading about Nike's CEO who started out as a shoe designer, or about eco-skater Bob Burnquist, or what pushes mega ramp skater Danny Way, or Malcolm Gladwell's latest cultural dissection.

And my ("SQUIRREL!"--if you've scoped the movie "Up") oscillating attention span is certainly part of poetry's appeal as well--to strip down, slough off all the excess and record only the core.

I've been reading Franz Wright of late. Wright is not a curveball poet. He throws straight and hard and has a slider whose bottom drops out and leaves you wondering what to do with that bat in your hand. He has an unrelenting honesty that suits his delivery and an ear I don't have.

Wright was recently diagnosed and been undergoing treatment for cancer and has been posting lyric, honest, crushing, uplifting prose notes on his Facebook page. It strikes me that someone who is so honest contemplating death and looking at God, has always been that honest on the page. He's simply continuing the conversation.

I appreciate Wright's talent and his candor as a guide, reminding me to lay myself bare on the page and wrestle with the big shit. If you are going to be in the conversation, be all in.

On the conversation and short attention span front, I've also decided in a sort of thought experiment way to drop into Twitter. Not something I thought I'd do, but as someone who works in media and communications, it seemed like I couldn't ignore that conversation, driven by a whole new medium, and how it requires a punchy, direct voice, something koan-like, to have an impact. I am a fan of the sound bite.

I also dig how a few times a day you get some great blurbs (the new book, remember) directly from Seth MacFarlane (creator of The Family Guy), hip hop pioneers Eric B. and Rakim, novelist William Gibson or writer/graphic novelist Neil Gaiman, photos and video from skate icon Tony Hawk, not to mention news from Evolution Craft Brewing Company and Rise Up Coffee.

So I've thrown myself into the world of the blurb for a time. Join in or follow along if you are of the mind, @valliant306.

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