paper trail

May 21, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Robert Walser's microscripts

The new City Lights catalog cover seems to be saying "Smash your Kindle," according to eBookNewser, but in a long letter in response, publisher Elaine Katzenberger says they've got it all wrong.

Rock, paper, Twitter: Christopher R. Weingarten plans to be the Last Rock Critic Standing, but it sure isn't easy. Weingarten tweeted more than one thousand reviews last year, wrote for the Village Voice and, produced a book, and often contributes to online music message boards, though he thinks the Internet is diluting serious music and criticism: "We all wanted to democratize art. And now that we did, nobody’s making money off of art, and art’s not as good.”

Robert Walser found the sound of pencil on paper to be soothing, and scratched out stories in a minuscule script on scraps of paper, the backs of envelopes, and calendar pages. He said that using a pencil freed him from what he called "pen malaise." City Lights has collected twenty-five of Walser's mini-masterpieces, which took scholars decades to decipher, and reproduced the original manuscripts along with translations of the large-hearted stories within. Tomorrow evening at 177 Livingston, Triple Canopy is hosting a reading of Walser's Microscripts by translator Susan Bernofsky and writer Rivka Galchen.

Touchy typing: Author Skye Ferrante was ejected from the Writer’s Room in Greenwich Village he's been a member of for six years for the transgression of using a typewriter. Apparently, the bang and ding of the anachronistic machine offended the delicate sensibilities of those whose fingers trip lightly on laptop keys (but what about the pinging of all that incoming email?). As the Room's executive director explained, "no one wants to work around the clacking of a typewriter." We wonder if the Writer’s Room would have the heart to kick out Brooklyn superstar author Paul Auster, who still bangs out fiction on his trusty Olympia, and whose devotion to the machine even inspired the book The Story of My Typewriter. And is it only a matter of time before the click of laptop keys and trackpads is considered a racket compared to the tap of a touch screen?