Back in February, I attended Maria Cotera’s talk at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor. This also happened to coincide with my first visit to Literati, and the bookstore’s cozy atmosphere seemed perfect for such author and writer talks.
Maria Cotera spent a good deal of time talking about her newest book and the thought-process behind the story, and while academic and non-fictional writing is not one of my interests, it was helpful to learn how heavy the burden of research weighs on many of these writers. Cotera touched briefly on the idea that as she learned more about the story she was trying to tell, the overall narrative and angle of the story changed as more information revealed itself. Interestingly enough, Cotera said that the result of letting the research shape the narrative and not sticking to a preconceived narrative transformed her story into something far more intriguing.
One of the most interesting questions of the evening was about academic and creative writing’s changing form. Maria Cotera seemed quite interested in the power of blogging…and this seemed, well, off. I felt like I was hearing someone in 2004 talk about blogging, and I must admit she failed to sway me into her proclamations that student blogging was the new work space and epicenter of innovation. I would argue that while blogging platforms offer a niche of the internet for easy storage and an easy-to-use format…this does not mean that the quality of these blogs is anything special…it’s now just public. In Ray’s class, we’ve discussed how blogging has quickly faded from relevancy, and I can’t say that any of Cotera’s points did a good enough job of lending credence to the blog supporters camp.
Still a very interesting talk, and I absolutely loved the atmosphere of Literati…I spent a few minutes browsing upstairs and plan on returning!
Question for anyone reading: Did you attend to the talk (I saw a few familiar faces)…if so, what did you think of Cotera’s thoughts on student blogging?