Monday, March 30, 2009

Feed by M. T. Anderson

I went for brunch with a friend who had read an excerpt from my WIP. She spoke highly of the tension I created between the two characters, within the protagonist, and in her as a reader. Her comments made me giddy! I believe there must be tension throughout a novel, and was stoked to hear I had achieved that.

Later that night I was researching M.T Anderson, the fantstic author of one of my favorite books, Feed, and came across this article from a November, 2009 issue of the Washington Post. In it, Anderson suggests that such tension even extends to the relationship between author and text:

"Think of it as Anderson's revenge. As a teen, he says, 'I felt that I was always being cajoled, by this whole set of images, to be something that I fundamentally didn't want to be.' He was a kid who liked the harpsichord -- how uncool is that? He'd been 'angry about those things for so long' that it was enormous fun just to 'form a fist and strike out.' But the scariest thing wasn't that consumer culture was exerting pressure. It was that he'd internalized it. Part of him, he knew, 'would much rather be young, wealthy, pretty and oversexed than who I am,' even if this desire went against everything he believed. This tension, he says, is what made "Feed" interesting to write.'"

I'm glad I finally found a career where my propensity for anxiety and tension is actually an asset!

The article goes on to say, "On the surface, Octavian Nothing couldn't be less like Feed. Yet as Anderson points out, each creates its world through its characters' voices, 'the way the sentence structure works and the words they use.' He was so obsessed with getting Octavian's voice right that for the better part of six years, he restricted his reading to books written in or relating to the 18th century. He started speaking in 'much longer sentences with a lot of semicolons,' with the unintended consequence that his girlfriend mocked him for sounding like 'some 18th-century [expletive].'"

Yikes, it's like the authors' version of Method acting! Not for me, that's for sure. Although, it did earn him the National Book Award for Young, still not my style!

I haven't read The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party yet, but I plan to this summer when I have plenty of uninterrupted time.

But if you haven't read Feed yet, there is no excuse, hop to it!
5 Scoops, fo shizzle.

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