Alejandro Oliveros en la blogósfera / Carmen Victoria Méndez

Alejandro Oliveros in the Blogosphere

The author will try to conquer the limitations of paper with an online literary diary, which he’ll begin posting on Monday.

[Photo by Saúl Uzcátegui for Tal Cual]

Alejandro Oliveros would never change his fountain pen for a computer, since he’s not willing to renounce the smell of ink that accompanies him every morning. However, the author will begin writing his next literary project online, at the Venezuelan blog Prodavinci (http://www.pro­davinci.com ).

Oliveros will post an entry from his 2009 literary diary to the blog each morning. The task begins next Monday. “At the end of the year I hope to have a 365-page book,” he comments.

The poet and academic has cultivated this strategy for decades, but always in an analog manner. The entries in his diary – a regular notebook – have taken the form of verses, novels and essays. Oliveros is possibly the only Venezuelan writer who publishes his diaries on a regular basis, a habit he maintains since 1995.

– Now that you’re about to enter the blogosphere, what do you intend to do with your pen?
– I don’t plan on relinquishing paper. I’ll continue to write my notebooks by hand and with a fountain pen. That’s the only way I know how to write. The only change will be that now I’ll choose a fragment and transcribe it onto a computer in order to publish it on the blog.

– Will the dissemination of literature through non-printed means end up conquering readers?
– At the moment there’s a tendency toward displacing printed means. Now people lean more toward electronic communication because they place more trust in the speed of non-printed means. At the end of the day these means will perhaps have a wider reach than books, which we must recognize have many limitations: they’re expensive, they get lost, they get stolen and they weigh a lot (especially if they’re bad). Conventional books take up a lot of space and they can even be dangerous. They’re considered flammable material.

– Who says that, politicians or insurance agents?
– Well, with the computer all that can happen is your screen might melt down. The fact is we’re living through a dramatic moment for the book and for printed matter. Now we have a little pocket apparatus with seven thousand titles.

It’s a cold and unpleasant thing, without the smell of ink, but it will work for younger generations.

– Will style change along with the format?
– The play of black on white in handwritten work forces you to be more careful with your style. The allure of this Internet project is that it will be written on a daily basis. For good or ill, people will read me almost instantaneously. It’s almost as if the reader were looking over my shoulder.

– Doesn’t that frighten you?
– A little bit. Blogs represent a new experience that will modify the attitude of writers toward their writing, since now they’re receiving immediate opinions from their readers. Criticism or praise will have an effect on style, because one no longer thinks of anonymous people but rather of readers with full names.

– How does that change things?
– Whoever writes a blog is tacitly obliged to read those who write to him. On the other hand, writing on paper one tends to not receive love or hate letters from anyone. But on a blog, whoever reads you and writes to you feels that you should respond. That’s the essence of this format: the interaction and democratization of opinion. I find it interesting but I feel a certain amount of fear because I don’t tend to be very communicative about what I write, it seems like something secret, almost private. That’s why I don’t know if this project will last.

{ Carmen Victoria Méndez, Tal Cual, 23 January 2009 }

1 comment:

Glenn Ingersoll said...

It's funny but when you're writing about an author on a blog you're also writing an open letter to that author. I've found that out a handful of times now -- they searched their own names, or they have a Google alert going -- and they turn up to comment. In my experience they don't read anything else but what I've written about them. Or maybe I'm jumping to conclusions ... 's okay ...