Listened and saw Margaret Atwood at KPL this morning for the opening of Word on the Street. I don’t think it was recorded, which is a shame. She gave a great reading and even sang one of the hymns! No monotone at all.
It was the question period I loved. Brent Hansen of CTV was the interviewer and she ended up flumoxing him. He asked why science fiction often shows depressing futures. She gave a very informative answer about the beginnings of utopian writing in the 1850s, then talked about how the mood changed as basically, there is no utopia, everything has a bad side and what if you are a person in a utopia who doesn’t agree with or like it? She flumoxed Brent when he said, “But what about great things like the moon landing?” And Margaret said, “How was the moon landing great? Have we gone back?”
My favourite answer, though, and all of these were longer answers than I am paraphrasing, was to a question from the audience about technology. Margaret Atwood is in love with blogging and twitter (must become a follower!). She takes the author’s delight in the words “tweet, twitter and Mr. Tweet”
The questioner said she didn’t like technology and was surprised Margaret did. Margaret Atwood then told us that anything we make is only an extension or part of ourselves, it’s made for us. So twitter is like the old telegraph before phones where the conversation had to be short. Texting and twitter like women around the well or remarks as we pass by. Blogs are like the conversational essays in papers before they became columnists, when newsprint make writing cheap. etc.
Of course, this leads me to wonder, why do we like concrete cities — but people do traditonally hate the woods and want to band together.
I will explore youtube to see if someone posted anything on today. There is a great site, www.yearoftheflood.com that has a blog of Margaret Atwood’s book tour and also the readings and music around the book.