Books Magazine

Social Media and the Writer; Modigliani and Akhmatova

Posted on the 14 March 2018 by Angela Young @AngelaYoung4

It’s wise for writers to have a social media presence these days. Publishers don’t exactly insist on it, but they like writers who have significant followings. (Followers equal interest in the writer and so potential sales, obviously.)

But how does a writer balance the time she spends on social media and the time she devotes to her fiction?

Social media and the writer; Modigliani and Akhmatova

Dani Shapiro‘s article here, tells how, when she had a book coming out in 2010, her publisher urged her to start a blog. Now (February, 2018) Shapiro writes, ‘The blog seems quaint’. But she’s kept with it and, here, see how she turned her blog into a book … .

The way I divide time spent in cyberspace with time spent talking to and writing about imaginary people is this: I still blog (quaintly, perhaps, because only once a month and I doubt there’s a book lurking there). And I have a Facebook page and a Twitter page @AngelaYoung4 where I post Goodreads reviews and other writing-related things. My blog subject matter is usually connected with writing / the creative process, and then a paragraph about something which, in a parallel universe where time is infinite, I’d love to have made. I refuse to allow it to take up too much time, the vast majority of which is spent doing the thing without which I couldn’t properly exist: writing fiction, with my email and internet connections turned off.

And this month, the thing I’d love to have made in a parallel universe where time is infinite and all things are possible is this:

Social media and the writer; Modigliani and Akhmatova

Possibly Anna Akhmatova,
by Amedeo Modigliani

The sculpture is probably based on this drawing:

Social media and the writer; Modigliani and Akhmatova

Drawing of Anna Akhmatova’s head, by Amedeo Modigliani

I saw Modigliani’s sculptures at Tate Modern’s exhibition recently (it’s on until 2 April) and, when finding out more about them (I never knew Modigliani made sculptures), I discovered, through the eloquent Richard Nathanson, in his article here, that:

Throughout her stay in 1911 [in Paris], Modigliani repeatedly took … [Anna Akhmatova] to the Louvre’s Egyptian gallery, so that he could see her among the statues and friezes.
and
The drawing is closely related to the carving [sculpture] … . The rich heavy black seems already to be ‘feeling’ the sculpture. The dream-like quality of the face. Its length. And implied mass of hair [‘à l’Egyptienne’] with its distinctive fringe, suggest that Modigliani ‘saw’ Akhmatova in this drawing.
and
‘He used to rave about Egypt,’ Akhmatova wrote. ‘He drew my head bedecked with the jewelry of Egyptian queens and dancers, and seemed totally overawed by the majesty of Egyptian art.’


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