LRS: What's strange to me is that fewer and fewer people read, and yet more and more want to write. Look at the proliferation of MFA programs, for example. Maybe it's a part of our self-obsessive culture. It's like the credo of The Subject Steve: "I am me." There's more concern with self-expression than there is in trying to connect with another person, than trying to hear someone else's words.
Lipsyte: I think that's absolutely true. There's a lot of interest in just "spiritual creativity "and "unlocking your inner narrative voice" and so on. People are interested in writing a journal and then turning that journal into a memoir. A Romanian philosopher wrote about how the Roman army really entered its decadent phase when everybody wanted to be in the cavalry. They had to outsource to get foot soldiers because all of the sons of Rome had their dads buy them nice horses so they could be these fine-looking cavalry officers. Everyone wants to be a writer, nobody wants to be a reader.
14 February 2006
Sam Lipsyte in conversation at the Loggernaut Reading Series: