My praise for Gabriel Roth’s debut novel The Unknowns in the paperback edition. #books #fiction #lit #literature
Breakfast of champions; a @spiritedbk dark ‘n’ stormy cookie, thanks, @baketender.#food#nyc #brooklyn #nycfood #cookies
Today’s book & a beer: Stephan Eirik Clark’s debut novel Sweetness #9 and a Great Divide Denver Pale Ale. #books #beer
Edan Lepucki & Emma Straub discussing their college days at Literary BFFs. (at McNally Jackson Bookstore)
Will Chancellor reads from his debut novel at @powerhousearena. #nyc #brooklyn #books #literature (at powerHouse Arena)
Will Chamcellor reads from his debut novel at @powerhousearena. #nyc #brooklyn #books #literature (at powerHouse Arena)
Marveling at the @spiritedbk renovations, opening August 15th. #brooklyn #nyc #bars #prospectheights (at Spirited)
Leah Umansky (@ladybronte) reads at Poets House at the #mrhip reading series. #poetry #nyc #diva (at Poets House)
In the fifth instalment of What Would Twitter Do? I speak to Tao Lin (@tao_lin) about how he uses Twitter and his Twitter philosophy. He is the author of several books, including (most recently) Taipei, as well as Shoplifting from American Apparel and Richard Yates and more. He writes fiction, poetry and essays, and draws pictures and runs the publishing house/website Muumuu House and the film company MDMAfilms. He is one of the most generous popularizers of other writers and artists among working authors today. I think he is also one of the first people I followed on Twitter.
With Tao Lin, the persona and the person seem to have no fault lines—whether in his poetry, in comments sections on articles about him, in emails or on Twitter, his tone is consistent, original, interesting, and always accompanied by his avatar, that Daiquiri Ice blue square. Some people have identified a numbness in his voice, but to me it is more like the radical acceptance of someone encountering the world without judgement or inclination. Some sample recent tweets: “Imagining oneself meditating as a method for meditating” and “Cleaning my floor w watermelon.”
I sent him the following questions by email. He answered within a few days.
- Sheila Heti
SHEILA HETI: How do you imagine people read twitter?
TAO LIN: On their phones I think mostly. I think I’ve read the most Twitter while laying in bed or on my back, or just laying in places, like in parks or in airports. Maybe not the most, but a lot. I’ve dropped my phone on my face many times. I think other people must too, but I rarely hear about this.
SH: When you imagine your tweets going into the reader’s head, do you think of them as isolated things, or do you visualize them in a stream with other tweets?
TL: I usually envision them as isolated things. I haven’t thought about this before I think. That’s interesting, because maybe I should be visualizing them in a stream with other people’s tweets, if I want to have an idea of what people are seeing actually. Maybe that’s too complicated though.
SH: Do you save tweets in a drafts folder, or just write them and tweet?
TL: I used to have a drafts folder, which was a Gmail email draft that I would just click on when I wanted to add something and save when I was done adding something, but at some point I cleared out my entire 100+ drafts of various things. Then I think my Twitter drafts moved to a Google Drive file for a while. I would put all my drafts of tweets there. How a draft of a tweet gets made is that I’m trying to type the tweet and I either give up, or don’t like what I’ve typed, but don’t dislike it enough to delete it, then I put it in the drafts area. I haven’t that done in maybe 2 years, though. At some point I started only mostly tweeting via iPhone, and Twitter on the phone has the “save draft” option. So at any moment I might have 5-30 drafts now. They’re usually just things I try to tweet then stop for some reason before tweeting. Also if I have low self-esteem and am feeling shy or afraid it can get “difficult” for me to tweet. At these times I’ll save the tweet regardless what it is.
SH: How often would you say you delete a tweet after you’ve tweeted it? Which are the ones you tend to delete?
TL: Maybe ~20% (I want to popularize “~”, it means approximately, seems useful) of the time. Maybe more in the past. Every time I read back through my tweets, I’ll delete some of them, sometimes almost impulsively, just not wanting to spread whatever meme the tweet I’ve tweeted represents, so that some other tweet or idea can dominate more, is maybe what I intuitively feel when I do that. I don’t have a consistent system for this yet, I don’t think I ever will and don’t want one at this point maybe.
Afternoon shandies with my favorite pop culture poet. #nyc #drinks (at The Meatball Shop Greenwich Village)