Gisteren verscheen er een interessant essay(tje) van Fiona Maazel op de site van de New York Times. Het gaat erover hoe beschikbare informatie, in dit geval Google Earth, verandert hoe je als schrijver je onderwerpen kiest en je research doet.
Maazel was (terecht) sowieso altijd al sceptisch over het principe van ‘write what you know’:
So I prefer: Write what you can learn about. Alternately: Write what interests you. Because it interests you for a reason, and that reason probably has to do with the rough stuff of your inner life. Put differently, writing about things you don’t know seems a useful, albeit sneaky, gateway to material you cannot access otherwise. This is especially true of people who resist confrontation with their darker selves. I submit that I am one of those people, which is probably why my latest novel is about cults and cloud seeding, spies and disguise, the Department of the Interior and, in some measure, North Korea, which was not only unknown to me but in many ways unknowable.
Over het staren naar de kaarten van Google en de invloed ervan op haar proza zegt ze:
For a writer, then, the thrill of Google Earth probably isn’t that it can take you elsewhere — though this is fun — but that it can help stimulate an empathetic response to places and people in emotional predicaments so foreign, they begin to look familiar if you look hard enough.
Lees het hele stuk hier.