A lengthy analysis of novelist Tao Lin’s career was published yesterday in Eye, the Columbia Spectator’s weekend magazine. The author, Kaitlin Phillips, is a n+1 intern and the author of the @nplusinterns. She also contributed to @tao_lininterns.
The 4,617-word piece–which touches on Mr. Lin’s college years, early professional struggles, and shrewd online self-promotion–reflects a fine marriage of writer and subject. In the piece, Tao Lin says “all college students” are part of his otherwise eclectic target audience, and we’re hard-pressed to come up with a person more qualified to observe Mr. Lin in his natural habitat than a social media-savvy and ambitious lit mag intern.
Although the Tao Lin Interns Twitter account bio reads,”Don’t bother asking us to write an expose about Tao. We are nothing if not loyal,” Ms. Phillips has written a fairly loyal expose. It portrays Mr. Lin as an internet-accessible mentor for young writers disillusioned by the publishing industry.
“[Mr. Lin] will, to a small group of people, fame and money aside, be known as the guy who helped them find their place as writers,” she wrote.
Her profile does not describe Mr. Lin’s appearance, but readers can find a complementary take on Mr. Lin in Canteen, which recently named Mr. Lin a Hot Author. Mr. Lin told the magazine that his favorite sexual moment in literature is SPENT, by Joe Matt, which is about a guy masturbating and thinking about life. (Wasn’t that excerpted on Thought Catalog one time?)
Mr. Lin told the magazine:
“It’s memorable, to me, I think, because I feel like masturbation is a strange, complicated, affecting thing–whose strangeness, in its harmlessness and universality and solitariness, feels almost inherently literary–that seems to be definitely a part of my life, and the lives of people I know, but I haven’t read that many books that describe it in detail.”