Best Literary Twitter Account (2010)

Colson Whitehead

Writers tend to use Twitter for self-promotion. Colson Whitehead uses it to express self-loathing. There are his failures as a parent ("The kid, as she repeatedly drives my fist into my face: 'Why are you punching yourself?' Me: 'I want to feel something' "). There are his struggles with depression ("Oh, look: my despair is crowning. So glad I'm here. To think they used to stand outside in the waiting room with cigars"). And then there are the bonkers, apropos-of-nothing narratives that go on, sometimes for days. One Tweet: "When you discover one of your clones has been turning tricks off the NJ Turnpike, you start to think about nature vs. nurture. Like, a lot." A second: "The IKEA exit, for those who were asking." The Whitehead of Twitter, of course, isn't confessing—he's turning a novelist's tricks to bear on the always-disingenuous rituals of self-presentation. Whitehead just lies better than the rest of us.


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