Novelist Dave Eggers, in a speech excerpted in the New Yorker:
anymore”: Walk into 826 on any afternoon. There are no screens there,
it’s all paper, it’s all students working shoulder to shoulder invested
in their work, writing down something, thinking their work might get
published. They put it all on the page, and they think, “Well, if this
person who works next to me cares so much about what I’m writing, and
they’re going to publish it in their next anthology or newspaper or
whatever, then I’m going to invest so much more in it.” And then
meanwhile, they’re reading more than I did at their age. …
Nothing has changed! The written word—the love of it and the power
of the written word—it hasn’t changed. It’s a matter of fostering it,
fertilizing it, not giving up on it, and having faith. Don’t get down.
I actually have established an e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org—if
you want to take it down—if you are ever feeling down, if you are ever
despairing, if you ever think publishing is dying or print is dying or
books are dying or newspapers are dying (the next issue of McSweeney’s
will be a newspaper—we’re going to prove that it can make it. It comes
out in September). If you ever have any doubt, e-mail me, and I will buck you up and prove to you that you’re wrong.
"826" is 826 National, a fantastic nonprofit that runs writing and tutoring centers for kids. Eggers was being honored for the project at this event.