The Literary Life: Michael Stutz, Net Generation Seeker

Michael Stutz began exploring the literary/underground/DIY culture of the Internet as a writer for Wired and Rolling Stone so long ago that, way back when i first showed up (which was a long time ago), he was already there to show me around. After a long self-imposed separation from the online world, he has now returned with a three-volume novel chronicling the entire life of a connoisseur of connected culture. Meet Michael Stutz.
Levi: Your novel Circuits of the Wind: A Legend of the Net Age is a coming-of-age tale, hearkening back to other classics of the genre from Henry Fielding's Tom Jones to J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. But your hero's world is a new one for fiction: the emerging society of online culture, from the early Unix dial-up BBS's of the 1980s to the dot-com mania of the 90s to the more scattered social networking scene of today. What kind of reaction are you getting from readers to the idea that a life lived largely online is one worthy of heroic fiction?
Michael: The novelist Tony D'Souza just called the book's hero, Ray Valentine, "the Everyman of the wired age," so it seems to be natural -- and remember McLuhan: "technology forces us to live mythically." Yet, you know, heroic fiction of the kind we're talking about is almost nonexistent in contemporary literary fiction. Arther S. Trace, Jr., an outsider intellectual, wrote a powerful, prescient book in the early 70s called The Future of Literature. This is about the only book of literary theory to map out and show the decline of heroic fiction. It was a long process, but Trace shows how it really tanks in the day of postmodernism. And you know what? I've always been repelled by postmodernism -- in everything, from literature to architecture. I don't identify with it or fit in with it at all. For decades we've had the postmodern "antihero" in fiction, and everything has to be ironic and heartless, and that just doesn't connect with me. I'm Beat and before. Bring me back to that and let's go off in a whole new direction and forget all this other stuff. I want to do something totally different. So if the classical hero is the way, and the new world of the net is my ineluctable material, the combination is pretty much the way it had to be.
read more

"There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."
W. Somerset Maugham

Random picks

  • “People have always wanted to in some way inhabit the stories that move them. The only real variable is whether technology gives them that opportunity.” –Frank Rose The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories by Frank Rose My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Art of Immersion is a much-needed bridge to/from Henry Jenkins’ seminal Convergence Culture, as Frank Rose crafts an engaging, insightful overview of how storytelling has evolved in the digital age that’s accessible to all, whether enthusiast or...
  • Janice N. Harrington's The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home come from her experience working as a nurse's aide: "It was work; it was a way of life, and I wanted people to understand who the people are who are helping the elderly . . . Even when I read some of the poems in public, people will assume they're nurses, but these are the nurses' aides. These are the people who do the
  • The Poetry Foundation Web Project Manager. The project manager is responsible for the online experience of poetryfoundation.org, which requires defining website upgrades and additions to poetryfoundation.org and for managing those projects internally through the web design, development and implementation process. Candidates with a working knowledge of contemporary literary culture and/or poetry
  • In his Editor's Note to the Winter 2009 issue of The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Nathaniel Perry writes of beginnings: "Beginnings always fascinate us: we remember the first lines of novels, the first lines of well-worn poems. We relish memories of childhood. Storms build up over the far ridge and ride into town, and we stand and crane our necks to watch them." With this issue of, Perry takes
  • Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.Under English: Milton with John Rogers; The American Novel Since 1945 with Amy Hungerford; Introduction to Theory of Literature with Paul H. Fry; and

Recommended sites

Most recent titles

01
4 hours ago
02
11 hours ago
03
14 hours ago
04
22 hours ago
05
23 hours ago

Fast fact about writing

Writing was developed independently in Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, and among the Maya in Central America. There are some areas where the question as to whether writing was adopted or independently developed is in doubt, as at Easter Island.