Another Muddled Post Concerning Screens

During his stay at Wyoming, Colson Whitehead talked a few times about loving old television, about reviewing old television for The Village Voice. It was nice to hear, given how much television I watch.

My sense is graduate students in general watch a lot of shows. Unable to fund even basic cable, most watch online. I mean, we have the time. We also have just enough anxiety to stay in our rooms as much as possible. To those of you who lack such anxiety: deepest apologies for generalizing.

This is my fourth year in graduate school. I’m reading less and less. I’m watching more and more. Sometimes I blame the change on my eyes, which have begun to hurt while reading. Sometimes I blame FX, for backing wonderful programs. Sometimes I blame Netflix, or Hulu, or Battlestar Galactica, or whatever.

My stories read more and more like scripts now. That’s the thing. I’m trying to adjust this, but only slightly. There’s something about the rhythm that I like.

Allow me an example.

This story was written in the spring of 2010. It was inspired by King of the Hill, so you know. Notice how the narrator thinks about, comments on, and wonders at all these different things. I have a metaphor about softballs in this story. It’s all right.

Now look at this one, written in the summer of 2010. Forget thinking, commenting, wondering. These are basically stage directions. The stylistic shift is drastic.

This is not to say that I dislike stage directions. It’s just, screens. Maybe screens are why my eyes hurt. That’s maybe what Nicholas Carr would say.

Maybe I should write television.

Man, I don’t know.



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