Friday, April 22, 2011

The blogger who loathed me

"Who was Mark Sarvas? Well, he was a writer, of course. You could tell this because there was a portable typewriter right next to him in his photo, which was taken outside. So he was clearly dedicated to his craft. But he was also a cool writer, the kind who wore a leather jacket and shades while hanging out next to typewriters outside."

I've just realised The blogger who loathed me is 6 years old, dammit. I'm going to talk about it anyway - though I'll temper my tone to take account of the fact I am emphatically not cutting edge.

The blogger who loathed me is an article by a writer called Steve Almond. He talks about his encounter with Mark Sarvas and his blog - The Elegant Variation. A quick check of the responses under the the article is conclusive; consensus is it's an asshole-ish piece. Well it brightened my day.

I'd never heard of either of them before; I just stumbled on the piece. In fact, as I read it I assumed the characters were fictional. However stylised the piece is - they're not.

I've always been a sucker for what I call the paratextual - reading too much into biographical details, looking out for shops/products in a story that I can recognise, that sort of thing. I know that's not strictly what paratextual means. But for me it is. And in this case a click on the google machine gave me lots to keep the article alive.

By the way - if you haven't read the piece by this point, you probably should. For what it's worth, I recommend it. And looket, I'll save you scrolling up again. Click here.

What's to say though? Steve is pretty shrewd in his blogger caricaturing. If it wasn't for that, I might have just posted the link with a one-liner. That's how I roll on Facebook afterall.

His condescension of Sarvas is um... painful?
"The piece Sarvas read exuded a dismal semi-competence. As I recall, one of the characters spoke through clenched molars. Later on, he (or she or it) did something to no avail."

OK, so the piece is a bit asshole-ish. But at times it's hilarious. It made me think about my use of elipses in my writing... and wince a little.

If something is astute enough, it's often good enough. And there is some truth in this piece - paratextual or not.

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