Ravi Mangla: Michael Martone
In our country, a musician can make a living as a musician. Not by selling albums—most musicians don’t make their living from record sales—but by touring. By playing their music live. Musicians don’t have to get gigs teaching intro to music courses to undergraduate college students to pay the rent on their apartments—they pay their rent with their art. Writers, however, have to get gigs teaching intro to writing courses to undergraduate college students. That’s the best a writer can do, in this country. And I think that’s largely because writers are so uptight. It’s not fun to see a writer reading their work live—our writers know nothing of storytelling. All our writers know is how to string together some metaphors, how to avoid using adverbs. They can’t captivate an audience in the same way that storytellers could once captivate an audience. They can’t captivate an audience in the same way that Lady Gaga can. Our literature, in this country, is some of the most unentertaining in the history of our species.
Nobody’s paying $50 a seat to see even George Saunders reading live. Nobody’s paying $50 a seat to see Michael Martone. But what if I published under the name The Thief Vagabond of Worchester, and what if at readings I wore costumes as odd and whimsical as David Bowie’s? What if George Saunders published under the name Cat Killers, and what if Cat Killers and The Thief Vagabond of Worchester went on tour together, headlining readings opened by local writers? Our shows, they would be sellouts.
- Michael Martone interviewed by the real(?) Matthew Baker at Hobart
I really want someone to design a “Cat Killers and The Thief Vagabond of Worchester” poster.
#George Saunders #Hobart #Michael Martone #Matthew Baker