“When I was watching Obama's acceptance speech (Tuesday night), I was convinced that he had written it himself, and therefore that he was saying things that he actually believed and had considered,” says Jane Smiley, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Thousand Acres” and other fiction.
“I find that more convincing in a politician than the usual thing of speaking the words of a raft of hack speechwriters. If he were to lie to us, he would really be betraying his deepest self.”
“Until now, my identity as a writer has never overlapped with my identity as an American — in the past eight years, my writing has often felt like an antidote or correction to my Americanism,“ says “Everything Is Illuminated” novelist Jonathan Safran Foer.
“But finally having a writer-president — and I don't mean a published author, but someone who knows the full value of the carefully chosen word — I suddenly feel, for the first time, not only like a writer who happens to be American, but an American writer.”
Maybe it was just the rush of the moment but I really was impressed by Obama’s writing skills on election night. What stuck me was the way he took his campaign catch phrase and turned it on its head. Instead of a call-and-response affirmation, he made it sound like a quiet prayer. It was nice bit of theater, but it showed a writer’s sure hand too: yes we can.
The larger hope, for me, is that we will finally leave behind the era of the frat-boy President. (I hope too the failure of Caribou Barbie is another good sign.) So much attention has been paid to his race or age or lack of experience that his intellectualism, anathema to so many Americans, slipped right under the radar. This might prove as important as anything.