Lev Grossman begins his recent Time article, writing “For every minute that passes in real time, 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube…Sixty hours every minute. That’s five months of video every hour. That’s 10 years of video every day.” How is that possible? Most often YouTube’s content includes movie clips, short films, whole films, television shows, music videos and amateur videos. “Anybody can run [a YouTube channel] easily and for free. That puts individual YouTube users on the same footing with celebrities and major networks.” I don’t know if I’d call them celebrities, but recently, I’ve developed this immense fascination with the people who have video blogs (vlogs).
Samuel L. Jackson is the highest grossing actor of all time. I know, I was surprised too. According to the Guinness Book of World Records he has appeared in more than 100 films, that have in total grossed over 7.42 billion. So, I started an investigation —no this was not a form of procrastination to distract myself from writing, I swear. Over the course of two weeks, I watched and re-watched as many films starring Sam L. as I could, in the hopes of understanding what makes his films such a success. Most compelling of his performances, the thread that united his roles, was his voice. Perhaps his success lies, not in what he says, but how he says it.
In November, I watched the National Book Awards ceremony via an online broadcast. A U of Michigan alum of 05′, Jesmyn Ward, was nominated for her novel Salvage The Bones , and if she won, I wanted to witness it. Of course, my impulse to watch the awards was a self-involved, highly illogical one: that if I am a U of Michigan MFA Fiction student and she is an alum of this same program, then I might be able to produce a work of similar notability and talent. When she won, I was surprisingly elated. As if I had won too. I bought her books, the hour after, not yet critical of why it hadn’t occurred to me to buy them before. Later, I realized I’ve become a complacent reader.