I heard a review of a new novel today that made me laugh out loud – and want to read the book. Cory Arcangel was an aspiring author but had trouble driving any attempt at a novel to completion. The problem was the problem of so many writers: procrastination. So, he decided to embrace that theme. He wrote a small program to scan Twitter for the phrase “working on my novel” and let it run for a year and a half. He then worked the resulting tweets, all of which included the phrase “working on my novel” and all of which showed that the author was actually procrastinating and not writing, into a book, entitled Working on My Novel.
Having completed one novel and now working on a non-fiction book, I know well the siren song of procrastination. I’m looking forward to reading the book and seeing what other people do when they are avoiding writing. And I am also impressed with the ability of Mr. Arcangel to create a novel without having to sit down and write. Bravo!
I especially liked Mr. Arcangel’s answer to the question of why publish a book on paper rather than release the same information as a series of tweets. His answer – tweets are temporal and gone, while a novel on paper can last for decades.
This book also appeared in my consciousness at just the right time – when I have been thinking so much about the new forms of communication that we have introduced into the world and how they change our ability to connect with one another. Here is a book that juxtaposes a novel – one end of the spectrum of written communication – with tweets – the other end of the spectrum of written communication.
A review of the book in Vogue magazine is here: Cory Arcangel: Working on My Novel