Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Round Table discussions

I first came across these round-table discussions because one of them concerned the weather. I became distracted en route to clicking on that one and listened to the one about Susan Sontag, which is compelling listening, but rather a public dissection on her personality that, at times, seemed to these neophyte ears, a bit unforgiving. Given that this discussion took place after extracts from her journal had been published which surely gave some context on the complexities of her personality…

Perhaps I am too squeamish, but I kept thinking yes, she was a public intellectual, perhaps she could be vicious and critical, but she was also someone’s mother and it cannot be easy to have your mother turned over and pulled apart like a piece of toast. You can see why it was so necessary for her son to write his recent book, which though remarkably restrained, created a profound portrait of grief and its inherent complexities. It’s effect for the reader was what John McGahern would have described as the particular being the way to the general, which is perhaps when and how the particular can serve a purpose.

This roundtable discussion relied too much on the particular only as a means to the particular and sometimes felt like crows pecking the same patch of land to turn up the same version of the repeatedly pecked and bloodied worm.

Why are these dichotomies in her personality so surprising? Why the gasp and gush over her insecurity? I’m confused as to why this is so foreign. Are not most humans similarly flawed?

Nabakov’s position of “I pride myself on being a person with no public appeal.” made certain sense as an aspiration in the aftermath of listening to it.

The roundtable discussions are here: http://philoctetes.org/past_programs/ They are varied and some are about the brain, and the weather, areas of particular interest to me. I also like that these discussions are hours long. We live in times of conversational brevity.

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