It’s a small town after all

Thanks to compound for the heads up about World Leader Pretend by James Bernard Frost. I started it today, I’m finding it compelling. Frost and I live in the same city (which isn’t saying much, Portland is lousy with writers)…

I got exactly that far in my post and let Steve use the computer for a while. Suddenly he asked, “Why did you happen to be looking up James Bernard Frost?” (I had his site open in another tab.)

I explained the above. “Weird!” Steve said. “He was in the studio today.”

So — because the Internet in some ways is tiny just like Portland — James, if you happen to read this? Hi.

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  • Paolo Cruz
    April 10, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Hi, Sara! It’s Paolo a.k.a. compound.

    How’s that for a quintessential pseudo-Babel moment? A fan in the Philippines (me) tips you off about a book that turns out to be written by an associate of your husband’s, in the same city.

    And yet, for all of this ‘global village’ chumminess, I always feel this odd compulsion to be ‘ahead of the curve’ in terms of hip music or up-and-coming quirky writers, precisely *because* I’m too geographically isolated to be able to meet like-minded creative types serendipitously. It has to be a conscious, proactive effort, from my end. Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect that the proverbial deck remains stacked in favor of places/cities/spaces with an infrastructure that allows it to be “lousy with writers”; and to create that kind of idea-friendly environment calls for a particular set of economic and social circumstances that’s more or less absent in most parts of the developing/Third World.

    Of course, there are exceptions — if i’m not mistaken, Sao Paolo in Brazil is hometown to both Cansei de Ser Sexy as well as Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, so maybe there’s hope for us, here in the pop culture ‘backwaters’ just yet.

    But for the most part, I can’t help but feel like i’m not *really* a part of the “internet small town”.

  • sara
    April 11, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Paolo, you’ve reminded me that I often take this city for granted. This is the first place I’ve lived where I feel like I’m part of a creative community. I think you’re right that in some ways, the deck is stacked in favor of places like Portland. But I also think that being online makes it easier to find like-minded people, wherever you live.

    And I’m really glad that you make the effort.

    Also, on the other side, the more writers you cram into a city, the closer you get to situations like the one Sara Gran describes in Call it Booklyn: so many people mining the same urban space for their fiction that it’s hard to carve out anything to call your own.

    And now I have three more things to look up. Does Cansei de Ser Sexy translate to “Tired of Being Sexy”? :)

  • James Bernard Frost
    April 13, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Hi, Sara! This story gets far weirder knowing that you found me through a friend of yours in the Phillipines. It’s pretty hard to find World Leader Pretend in your local U.S. bookstore, much less the Phillipines. How, prey tell, did Paolo go about discovering my small-run piece of weirdness?

  • sara
    April 15, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    I’m not sure — but the topic came up because of the stickers Colleen designed for me to help promote The Rules for Hearts, which led to “stickers that look different from book cover designs,” which led to your alternate sticker cover. :)