Hey, Writers, Don’t Talk

Arthur Krystal, writing in the New York Times Book Review, watches an interview with Vladimir Nabokov:

He notices – gasp! – that Nabokov sounds so gosh darn smart thanks to the note cards in his hand. And Krystal doesn’t much care, because writers are generally more stupider when they talk:

There’s something about writing, when we regard ourselves as writers, that affects how we think and, inevitably, how we express ourselves. There may be no empirical basis for this, but if, as some scientists claim, different parts of the brain are switched on by our using a pen instead of a computer — and the cognitive differences are greater than what might be expected by the application of different motor skills — then why shouldn’t there be significant differences in brain activity when writing and speaking?

This seems right, for the most part. David Foster Wallace seems almost embarrassed to say anything at all in this interview with Michael Silverblatt. Gay Talese isn’t as eloquent in his Big Think interviews, for sure, but they’re certainly entertaining and occasionally insightful. A favorite:


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