It’s not just that you can’t find fiction in magazines and literary presses are becoming obsolete.
It’s not that so many of our literary greats have passed away in recent years (Kurt Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger, John Updike, and Norman Mailer).
It’s not even that Americans don’t read as well or as often as they used to.
The problem goes beyond all of that. Americans just don’t seem as interested in fiction as they used to be. A well crafted story with sympathetic characters has little chance of making it even on television or as a movie. Americans have lost their patience and interest in story itself. The fact that scripted tv shows are becoming hard to find – taken over by reality tv – shows that this isn’t just about the decline of reading. There’s been a decline of interest in story.
Sure, reality tv has stories, and all the little youtube vids that go viral and the twitter stories that everyone follows might have some element of story.
But they’re missing the crafter.
They’re missing a human being who creates a story and then shares it with another. They’re missing authors.
Why do Americans no longer have the patience to listen to each others’ stories? And what does this mean for us as a culture?