I'd imagine that very few people have as much fun defending their theses as I did on Thursday. Three bright, interesting professors spent two hours asking me questions about my work and its implications and I had a blast.
Part of this was probably because my thesis project (made up of these three blogs plus a separate document about creative blog writing which will go to the library at the end of this month) is so different from traditional MFA theses that no one knew the answers to any of the questions asked at the defense for sure. We had the chance to play with ideas about internet communication together. These are particularly important conversations to have, we agreed, since the internet is increasingly influential in developing broad cultural patterns of how people read.
The ways the internet changes reading, I argued, will depend to a great extent on how writers of all kinds compose for the internet. Because of the wide range of choices, I said, it's possible to write more than ever before for a narrow audience of people who already agree with you. Maybe the internet will increase the degree to which writers and audiences simply reinforce each others' pre-existing notions about the world.
On the other hand, though, I think the internet has the power to suggest an interconnectedness that undermines narrow and stereotyped views of the world. I believe that my blogs, by linking together different parts of myself, can help create a healthier kind of literature: one which helps us see reality as a complex system which requires our attention rather than as an easy problem those who disagree with us simply refuse to solve.
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