Steven Soderbergh Writes Twitter Novella After His Retirement From Filmmaking

How does one read Twit­ter lit­er­a­ture? Your thoughts are as good as mine. I sup­pose I’ll have to learn or end up in the ash heap of old-timey turn­ers of pages. Because Twit Lit is upon us, man­i­fest­ed by Jen­nifer Egan and now, under the twit­ter han­dle “Bitchu­a­tion,” by mer­cu­r­ial film­mak­er Steven Soder­bergh. Hav­ing announced his retire­ment from film­mak­ing in 2011, Soder­bergh made anoth­er announce­ment at the San Fran­cis­co Film Fes­ti­val on the State of Cin­e­ma (video above, tran­script here). The fol­low­ing day, Soderbergh’s Twit­ter novel­la Glue began with the lacon­ic April 28 tweet “I will now attempt to tweet a novel­la called GLUE.”


Some unique fea­tures of Twit Lit: Soder­bergh can twit­pic an estab­lish­ing shot—which he does, of Ams­ter­dam—along with pics of oth­er loca­tions (or just vague­ly sug­ges­tive images). The indi­vid­ual tweets often read like Horse ebooks absur­di­ties. He’s up to Chap­ter Four­teen now. The lat­er tweets repli­cate screen­play dia­logue, with copi­ous inser­tions of BEAT to sig­ni­fy dra­mat­ic paus­es. Tak­en togeth­er, I sup­pose there’s coher­ence, though as I admit­ted above, I have not mas­tered the abil­i­ty to pull tweets togeth­er into longer text in my mind, Twit­ter being where I go when my atten­tion span is spent.

I leave it to savvi­er, more patient read­ers to judge the suc­cess of Soderbergh’s attempt. It may suf­fice to say that his pes­simism about the state of film does not apply to Twit­ter Lit. Or maybe he’s just pass­ing time before he makes movies again.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Read, Hear, and See Tweet­ed Four Sto­ries by Jen­nifer Egan, Author of A Vis­it from the Goon Squad

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him @jdmagness 

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