L.A. Writers Series: Writer Experiments with Social Media Format


SOCIAL EXPERIMENT: Students line up to meet author Matias Viegener as he autographs books and answers questions after a presentation at the Student Center.

Alexandra Duncan, Features Editor

He strode past the patiently waiting students, two cans of coconut water and a bag of kettle chips in one hand — a weathered, brown copy of his latest work safely cradled in the other.

Stark white cracks in the worn brown cover — much like the short, white strands specked through his brown hair — were visible alongside dozens of dog-eared pages.

Matias Viegener, author of “2,500 Random Things About Me Too” stood at the podium and began reading.

Viegener read from his self-published work and answered questions at the Student Center Thursday, as part of the Los Angeles Writers Reading Series.

His experimental work, “2,500 Random Things About Me Too” was conceived through a compilation of lists from social media. Facebook users would tag each other, and then ask friends to add 25 things about themselves.

“The lists I got were too cutesy,” Viegener said. “I didn’t like it. So I said ‘OK, I’m gonna do one.’” He created his own list and liked it so much that he decided to do it again.

The book was the first project where Viegener worked with lists.

“What can lists do,” he said, “Beyond what they normally do? What is a list when you keep going? When you don’t stop?”

These are the questions he asked when compiling a list of 25 “random” things about himself daily, until he reached 2,500.

“I wanted to replicate myself on a piece of paper,” Viegener said. “This book was a more accurate representation of myself.”

The lists range from poetic to passing thoughts to memories of his mother and past relationships.

“I have stared death in the face,” said Viegener. “Is it wrong to say I found it beautiful?”

Viegener is also a CalArts instructor and a book critic.

The Reading series was founded by Claire Phillips and Jocelyn Heaney and it is now in its fourth year.