Friday, December 30, 2011

Endings lead to Beginnings

I thought I'd get a wee jump on the New Year by wishing one and all a very Happy and Prosperous 2012.                                                                

I noticed this morning that Samoa has decided to become the first country to welcome in 2012, instead of the last -- a pre-historic construct that was set in accord with the US well over a hundred years ago. On first reading, I fancied a slew of islanders literally lifting up the island and moving it westward in order to cross the International Dateline etc. My math is weak, and my assumptions about changing cartography and longitude and latitude and time zones is wobbly. Most I can manage is springing forward and falling back one hour -- but whole days?? For a moment, I thought time travel had become a reality.

The year sped by for me. When you are rapidly aging, it does this. And when major world events seemingly flow one into another, you don't notice time, you only notice the heartbreak, devastation and exasperation that most of these events engender.

The writing year has been peppered with more and more discussion  about electronic publishing. I see its future role, I see the many benefits, but I still look at it as the last resort, not the first, for gifted writers. Yes, I am a snob. I don't pretend to hide the reality that in our current cultural dross, dumb and dumber rules. I think Margaret Atwood means well when she says the internet is wonderful in that it basically forces people to be literate. I don't quite agree. The semi-literates outnumber the literates. And they want cheap, accessible books that are badly written, thin in language arts, bereft of depth and characters, top heavy in plot. Thing is, they don't notice -- or care -- that they are reading a lot of junk. Electronic readers are the big thing. Anyone at Amazon can be read. Some great books, yes, but also, thousands and thousands of bad ones.

So...will legitimate tree-killing publishers prevail in the coming years? I'm counting on it. I'm praying for it. If I had a magnificent pocket watch and a striped vest and fob, I'd wear 'em with pride! Real books with book smells, real books with paper and glue and bindings and face plates and heft -- those are the stuff of my dreams.

Some naysayers this past year have complained that new writers won't get the breaks they deserve because of bonafide publishing woes -- and the mid-list may dry up altogether.
And yet, The New York Times' list of "notable" books for 2011 included five or six first-time authors in their list of about 45 books. That's more than last year's crop. Hope springs eternal.

Are enough people reading important books? Seems to me that books and essays and "deep thoughts" are the last refuge intelligent people have -- 
And is writing itself the last refuge for the curious mind wishing to create new worlds, searing characters that leap off the page into the collective consciousness? Are serious writers becoming hermits, dumping the media wasteland into the trash? Maybe it's a good idea. Maybe it's time to stop obsessing about social media and web presence until it's actually time to consider it.
Maybe it's time to stop putting the cart before the horse. Maybe it's time to sit down and roll up the sleeves, and stare at a blank screen and then...write.
And keep on writing until a goal is met.

Maybe that's all that really matters. Everything else is probably an excuse to avoid the inevitable. A writer writes.

I plan to. I hope you (writers out there) will, too.

Do you have any goals to share? I'd love to hear them!
Happy Writing!


  1. Happy New Year to you, Carol!
    My main goal is to use the new tools I've acquired in 2011--Dragon speech recognition and Scrivener--and get on with the writing. ; )

    Good luck to one and all.

  2. Hi, Zan Marie,

    Thanks for the good wishes!

    Your new writing aids sound wonderful -- I am familiar with Scrivener but not with Dragon Speech -- can you tell me about it?

  3. Nuance is the leading dictation programmer. Their medical dictation software has been tops forever. I'm just getting the hang of my Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It even let me select a Southern accent to start with. Good thing. I might have a *slight* one. ; )

  4. Happy new year, Carol!
    I'm with you on the vest and watch fob. Ah, the good old days...

  5. Hi Deniz,

    Thanks for the good wishes!
    Good luck with your queries!!!!!!!
    Hope the New Year holds a wonderful surprise or two for you!