Daily Show: Borders Goes Out of Business

The Daily Show‘s correspondent John Hodgman suggests that to save bookstores from closing (as Borders has recently done, we might try altering the in-store “entertainment”:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

‎”Instead of hosting ‘readings’, why not host exciting live ‘writings’? Bring the author in, tie him to a desk, and make him write a novel to order.”

He’s joking, but you know what? I kind of like that idea. I remember how thrilling it was to watch a painter practice his craft by copying Vermeer’s “Allegory on the Art of Painting” in the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna a couple of years ago. I know — we were literally watching paint dry: How exciting could it have been? But to see the process unfold right there in front of us was fascinating, and while I can’t imagine watching an author furiously scribble away at an entire novel would be very engaging, I think about that poet in Before Sunrise, sitting on the bank of the Danube, scribbling poems for passersby in exchange for spare change, and I kind of like the romance of the idea. Imagine going into a bookstore — or any venue — and giving an author an idea, even just a character name or a title or a first line, and then wandering the stacks for a few hours, picking up an interesting book or two, and when you return to the author, she hands you a short, custom-made story, written right there on the spot just for you.

I should totally try this.

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

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