What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Questoin: Can you talk about your next project?

Andrew Sean Greer:  A little bit.  I don’t want my editor to see this and get any inkling of what I’m doing.  Yeah, I started it a while ago.  It’s actually a book I abandoned a while ago and got really down about.  I couldn’t figure out how to do it and when I was writing The Story of a Marriage I figured it out.  I think you do that.  You figure out the way into a book, which had a more comic tone and I will say it’s a time travel novel, which won’t describe it at all when you finally see it, but that’s the best I can do.

Question:Any downside to being a successful novelist?

Andrew Sean Greer:  A downside to being a successful novelist.  Wow, I can’t imagine one.  Well, I think it would be bad to a truly successful celebrity person, because I know these novelists where people get a cult following and they have some strange personal attachment to them because it’s so personal to read a book.  It’s one of those personal art forms, so you could become very strange about the author.  I think I’ve done that about authors, but people don’t do that with me, you know, I’m not that level of author, so I’m in a good place.  You know, people will e-mail me and say wonderful things or call me up because I’m still listed, but I don’t get any of the weird stuff and no one is mad at me.  No one is blogging bad stuff about me.

Question: Is it more difficult to be a writer today than 20 years ago?

Andrew Sean Greer:  For sure it is.  I mean, it’s hard to say because it’s like saying strawberries don’t taste the way they used to, but I have no idea, but you hear people talk about writing.  You hear Philip Roth talk about it and it’s clear, his first book came out, Portnoy’s Complaint, everyone in America talked about it, you know, not just people like you and me, but everyone.  That doesn’t happen. It’s hard to remember because that could’ve been the center of the culture the way it is in Germany still.  But on the other hand, you look at the lit blogs online and the book blogs and you see tens of thousands of people checking them out every day and you realize there is passion.  You know, they’re getting angry about stuff.  They’re getting delighted and enthusiastic about stuff, so the passion is still there.
Sean McManus:  I’m curious, when John Updike rendered his compliment to your latest work did you call him and thank him?  What was your response to that?

Question: How did you respond to praise from John Updike?

Andrew Sean Greer:  Can you call and thank reviewers?  I always wondered that.  Does that make their job, you know, obsolete if authors are thanking them for things?  I know when he reviewed my book Max Tivoli in the New Yorker I was at the New Yorker a month later and I wrote him a note and I said it was like having an older brother in high school who tells everyone that you’re cool and not to mess with you and that it made it so much easier for me and that was the best I could do.  I think I might get a chance to interview him in the coming months and I’m definitely going to take him up on that.

Question: Is it different to write about gay relationships versus straight?

Andrew Sean Greer:  It’s tough because my short story collection there’s a lot more gay relationships, but they’re sort of young and unformed because I was at the same time and in the latest novel there’s a gay tension.  Hard to tell if it’s a relationship.  It’s strange that I enjoy writing about different straight relationships a little more.  I think it’s because for something like Max Tivoli it was already hard enough to write about a man aging backwards that I just couldn’t complicate too much, but I added a gay element to it too just because I’m curious.  What makes me most curious, because I don’t write a lot of contemporary fiction, is to set all these characters in the past and see how the constraints of the time change it, so that becomes very obvious how a gay or straight relationship would be utterly different.  But in contemporary times they wouldn’t be so different because I think now young people, everyone is mixed together.  you know, it’s not like it was, in a good way.






 

Andrew Sean Greer: Becoming...

Newsletter: Share: