In a recent interview with LA Weekly, Jonathan Safran Foer was quoted as saying,
“I am probably the most hated writer in America.”
I worry about the guy.
I’m not kidding. But then I tend to fret over people, worrying about their well-being, if they’re happy in their lives…maybe it’s genetic. My mother does this too- in a wonderfully sweet way…she worries over people…whether she knows them, or not.
It seems Jonathan has been getting his share of flack since the launch of his latest, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Critics have called the work, ‘gimmicky’, and many of his fellow writers…well…let’s just say I’ve read an awful lot of commentary about how they ‘feel’ about him…and it’s not very nice.
The thing is, I like his stuff. But even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be jumping on the ‘let’s bash Safran Foer band wagon.’
“I’m sick of him. Sick sick sick.”
“You just kind of want to pick on someone with a moniker like Safran. The Foer part is also a little irritating.”
“JSF annoys the SHIT out of me.”
Those are comments from writers…people who share the same passion in life. Ditch the jealousy, folks.
Can’t we all just get along?
A couple of weeks ago, I saw an excellent episode of Hot Type where host, Evan Solomon interviewed Safran Foer. He sure didn’t seem neurotic, self-absorbed or snotty to me. He spoke quite humbly and honestly about his work, mentioning his feeling that he has to ‘justify’ sitting down and writing every day. (What writer worth his or her salt hasn’t felt that?) He spoke about the way the internet has changed the way people read and how he knows he’s had a good day when his work has made him ‘feel’. For the first time, in a long time, I felt that another writer had said what I had been feeling all along…that writing isn’t some magical conjuring of words, but rather that it’s hard work, (the sit your bum in the chair every day variety) and that the world is ‘exceptionally complicated.’
The other day I got a phone call from another writer, an established author I had given my card to some time ago. I admire her work and was glad to get to know better. We had a delightful conversation. We talked about where we were with our current WIPs, chatted about the places we’ve lived, shared thoughts on the writing process. Good stuff.
When we were through, she said (sounding a little surprised) “You’re really nice.”
I laughed and said, “I guess I try to be ‘the nice writer’. I don’t get what’s to be gained from being so damned snarky.”
So, hey – Jonathan…You’ve got a friend way up here on the edge of Canada.
Here’s his extremely, incredibly cool web site:
The Project Museum