Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jonathan Safran Foer Conversation

Last Tuesday our Web Writing Class attended the Jonathan Safran Foer talk about his newest book, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” The plan was to live twitter on The plan didn’t work out for me.

I went with my laptop into the FAC auditorium and noticed right away that I couldn’t get a wireless signal. So I made my twitter remarks in a word document and then posted them in order as soon as I could after the event.

Prior to the event I did my homework and read the article about him in The Republican. There I discovered that he also authored “Everything Is Illuminated.” I saw the movie for that book, thought I couldn’t concentrate on it as much as I wanted to because the idiot I watched it with wouldn’t stop making comments as he’d seen it before. ANYWAYS.

Foer was invited to UMass by the Commonwealth College because they are reading “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” for their Dean’s book.

Right away I could tell the talk was going to be interesting. Foer made wise cracks and plenty of hysterical comparisons from the start. At times he has me in stitches.
I guess as I went along I tried to focus on funny or profound things he said. In retrospect I wish I made my twitters more opinion based.

In the introduction to his speech, I learned that Foer is a fellow vegetarian, which was pretty exciting. That was my first twitter.

Right away Foer made sure to note he didn’t want it to be a speech but instead he wanted to have a conversation. I felt that it really was a conversation. I think that set the tone for the night. I twittered about how it was to be a conversation.

My next couple twitters were observation based.
“He has a very fun sense of humor. Uses a lot of comparisons. He holds my attention very easily. I think he is really funny. #foer”

Then, “He seems so comfortable on stage. It’s as if he’s just talking one on one to each person. Wish my lecture professors spoke like him. #foer”
I was impressed with how comfortable he seemed on stage. I don’t know if I could ever command an audience like him.

He was done with his conversation by 7:30 and I noted that in my twitter. As soon as he was done CommCol questions were asked.

He sort of made a disclaimer that I twittered about. How he is infamous for evading questions. Boy, did he live up to that!

A point I twittered about and found interesting was that he didn’t do any research for the book. Except maybe accidental research by just reading on his own.

“I think a lot of writers become writers not because of what they can say, but what they can’t say.” Cheesy but i think it's profound. #foer”

I thought he had a lot of profound and interesting things to say.

“Do you really think I like writing? No, I don’t… I like having written.” HA - sometimes I feel the exact same way. #foer”

That was my favorite quote from the night I think. It was delivered so well. I find it fascinating that he doesn’t like writing and more or less claims to do it on accident. That is why I think his writing seems so artistic, it really is an art that pours out of him. Like he can’t help but create it, even though he doesn’t really want to.

Later I mostly twittered about how funny he was being. He totally shut down some people who asked questions.

By the end of the talk, I decided that I just had to read the book. Luckily there was a table set up where they were selling hard cover copies of the book for $10! Ten dollars, compared to the retail $25. I was stoked and Katelyn and I each bought a copy. We then waited in line for a good while until we met Foer. He was very nice, signed our books.

We told him about what our class was doing and he said he didn’t even know what twitter was!

I started reading the book and LOVE it so far. I’m already on about page 90. I shouldn’t even be reading it considering all the other reading I need to do for classes. To heck with other reading I say!

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