Narrative in the Age of Distraction
Okay, this is sad. Like a lot of people, I have trouble achieving the deep focus needed to enjoy long fiction. And, like a lot of people, I have trouble finding time to read novels.
Recently, I came up with a solution. I go to the gym, get on a recumbent bike, and I read while I pedal for an hour, so yes, I kill two birds with one Robert Stone.
And, during the really hard parts of the biking, I set the machine for an interval course with hills--I don't really want to be paying attention to the discomfort in my legs-- so it's really great to have this form of engagement.
In fact, I make reading the distraction instead of being unable to read because of other distractions. As I said, this is sad that I would have to come up with such a garish way of doing something, deep reading, that was such a huge part of my previous life. That's sad.
This Thursday and Friday, November 7 and 8, Wesleyan University will host Narrative in the Age of Distraction, sponsored by The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice, Wesleyan Writing, College of Letters and Science in Society Programs, Lisa Weinert Consulting, and Narratively.
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- Robert Stone is the author of several critically-acclaimed novels and story collections including A Flag For Sunrise and Hall of Mirrors. He’s been a finalist twice for the Pulitzer Prize, once for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the National Book Award in 1975 for his novel Dog Soldiers. His latest novel, Death of the Black-Haired Girl, is his first novel in 10 years.
- Charles Barber is the author of 2 books, including the award-winning, Songs From the Black Chair and more recently, Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation. He’s written for several publications including The Washington Post and The New York Times, he’s the Director of The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice and teaches writing at Yale University.
- Noah Rosenberg is the founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of Narratively, a long-form journalism start-up in New York City. You can tweet Noah @NarrativelyNY.
- Dr. Rita Charon is a professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.