Patton Oswalt, one of our greatest comedians, gave the keynote speech at the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival this year and it's revelatory.
But before we get to the keynote here is a bit of Patton Oswalt's standup:
|Patton Oswalt - Acknowledging Beliefs|
Now back to Oswalt's keynote. Here's a quote:
"Everything I know about succeeding as a comedian and ultimately as an artist is worthless now, and I couldn't be happier about that."
To paraphrase Oswalt, everything I know about succeeding as a writer and ultimately as an artist is worthless now, and I couldn't be more conflicted about it.
It's my nostalgia, of course. I'm going to miss the days when there were thousands of independent bookstores.
So, yes, the fundamental changes in the comedy world mirror the fundamental changes in the literary world.
Publishing companies, physical bookstores, and writers will have to adapt. I take it as a compelling challenge.
Oswalt's challenges to artists and Hollywood are fascinating. You can read his keynote for yourself. But I do have some things to say. Here's my little keynote:
Dear self-publishing writer, I very much doubt that your book is good. But if it is good then don't expect to find an audience. And if you do find an audience then cherish them.
If you aspire to write literary fiction, ala Franzen or Patchett, then the chances of you finding an audience grow even more remote.
If you aspire to write popular genre work then your chances of finding an audience are slightly better.
If you want to write pandering shit then your chances grow even more.
But, hey, this keynote, like most keynotes, has me talking out of my ass.
I have no idea what's going to happen in the literary world.
How does one become a successful writer in the Internet age?
I have no idea what the definition of Internet literary success is, let alone how to go about obtaining it.
I'm lucky in that I have an already established audience that can only grow because of the Internet. But there hasn't been a young Native American writer break of the crowd since Susan Power in 1996.
I would guess that, if and when a new Native American writer becomes a star, she or he will be writing science fiction. Will it be great science fiction or egalitarian crap?
I hope it's great and popular. I hope that Native writer uses technology to write a multi-media epic novel.
So, my fellow Skins, where is The Native American's Guide to the Galaxy?