27 May 2013

What Purpose Did I Serve In Your Life

I've talked about Cat Marnell before. I don't particularly love her whole 'thing'.

Recently, I read Marie Calloway's What Purpose Did I Serve In Your Life. Calloway is another internet 'star' of the new supposed alt lit scene.

Marie Calloway
It is all very New York in that sort of way where no one else but a teeny tiny group of New Yorkers care. That group is made up of other members of these 'stars'. Tao Lin, Frank Hinton, anyone involved in Vice. Their writing revolves around twitter, Facebook, and tumblr. It's purposefully seedy and exclusive.

And it is incredibly dull.

From 2001-2007 I kept a LiveJournal. I've had this blog in one form or another since 2007. I have obviously blogged fairly regularly for over 10 years. I get blogging. I really really do.

That old LiveJournal was full of woe-is-me melodrama and pseudo-philosophical nonsense. I certainly had silly relationships and fights with people online and I certainly blogged the hell out of it. I named the names and was as honest as I could be. And it was mostly boring to re-read when I opened it up this morning to check in.

But I got tired of it. Of the whole idea of pouring myself out like that in a public way. Tired of explaining it. It hollowed me out. Honestly, it lessened the experiences I had if I ran home to 'talk' about them online.

It is one of the reasons I now use initials for people when I talk about them. It's one of the reasons I no longer linger on the hyper-personal unless it relates to what I want to say.

This whole clique seem to only have things to say that are about themselves. It is self as commodity. And that is fine. But damn do I lose interest if the self being sold is vapid and only about the other people in that teeny bubble of a world.

Marie Calloway rose to 'stardom' in NY lit circles after MuuMuu House published Adrien Brody. A overly long journal-y 'story' about Calloway sleeping with an older writer. Most of the attention rose from her using 'Adrien Brody' as a stand in for the man's real name. And that interest was in the fact that the man was a sort of well-known NY writer.

That story is interesting. Calloway is a good writer. She just needs to come up with more to say. Which seems to be good advice for all of these writers. Find more to say than what happened in your apartment last night.

Tao Lin seems to have sort of attempted this with his new 'novel' Taipei. While it is still a thinly veiled memoir and the book is about drug and alcohol fueled late night shenanigans. There seems to be more there there. Will it stick? Is the whole new 'alt lit' thing just a bunch of kinda well-off people who think they are really amazing and want you to look at them to validate that? Probably.

That doesn't mean something good might still arise out of it. Let's all hold our breaths.