Tag Archives: writing

Books, ebooks & Squashed Bugs

6 Oct

ebooks!

Do I hate them? Affirmative.

Have I used them? Negative.

Does that make me a grouchy elderly person? Probably not at this current moment in time because I’m only 19, but I would say it indicates that in the future I will be like those old grannies that refuse to use Microsoft Word because they already spent years learning wordperfect back in the 90s.

I just can’t disregard the fact that I love old crumbling books (and I love that old book smell. Unashamedly), I love dogeared pages and I love holding a BOOK in my hand. Now some words that spring to mind to rebut my love of real books in this ebook debate: modernisation, progress, advancement, technology, convenience, development. Ok fine. As an ezine article notes:

Ever since the dawn of civilisation, the progress of mankind has been aimed towards one main purpose and that has been to make life easier and more convenient…Books and newspapers are the latest additions to the paperless online juggernaut

(Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7068840)

And yes, I concede, in a changing media landscape the ebook is just another way of getting things NOW, getting things quicker and of course…like the iPod…not having to lug a whole library around with you. So yes Mr. eBook, you win points for practicality. But surely you only need one book at a time? And maybe, as noted in the Rise of e-reading,  eBooks encourage more people to read. But why do I feel a little stab of offence in my wee-little heart, every time I see an ebook reader on the train? Perhaps the pros and cons will help:

The Pros and Cons of the eBook Race, According to Myself and My Research:

PROS:

  • Cheaper (the price is usually around half of the physical book price)
  • Faster access (can purchase and download straight away)
  • No more long lines at the book store!
  • No more overdue library book fees
  • Convenience
  • Promotes more reading amongst those who would not usually read (according to a U.S. Survey)
  • Allows easy access to a wider range of material for those who are already avid readers (see here)
  • Creation of a new market for online eBook businesses

CONS:

  • Requires electricity (the benefits of a good ol’ book, was that you could have it in your bag, for all those times when technology fails us – I agree with this gentleman)
  • Doesn’t have the same generational/family importance – a memory passed down the ages
  • Libraries die
  • Book shops die
  • Paper factories die
  • The social environment created in book stores and libraries of like-minded, book-loving people is…dies
  • The ‘old book smell’ phenomenon fades into an oblivious of myth and legend
  • We spend even more hours of the day staring at a digital screen

So ok. I think I’m coming closer to the reason why eBooks make me cry. Some facts:

  1. To purchase an eBook, you usually won’t pay more than 50% of the physical book price (so they have an unfair advantage already!)
  2. 43% of Americans aged 16 and older have read an eBook (so it’s definitely on the rise)
  3. There are more than 4 x the amount of people reading eBooks now, than 2 years ago (so it’s definitely, definitely, on the rise)
  4. 42% of ebooks are read on computers, 41% on digital readers like Kindle or Nooks, 29% on cell phones and 23% on tablets

I think my major issue with this whole eBook phenomenon, is that it’s obviously on the rise = people seem to enjoy the convenience and cheapness = so I feel like I’m on the losing side. And I don’t like losing.

I just feel like we have excused every technological development with:

The thinking behind progress being that a better life is an easy life.

(Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7068840)

But has technology made our lives easier? The stress of having your employer and work contacting you whenever he wants via call, txt, email. The suffocating rise of reliance on facebook for notifications, event invitations, birthday reminders, phone numbers, friendship connections. As if our eyes were not already overwhelmed with torturous over-exposure to screens of all kinds – work computers, home laptops, televisions, GPS screens, mobile phones, tablets, iPods.

And if all progress was to make life easier, then what is the point of art? Maybe eBooks make me sad because they no longer carry that ‘work-of-art’ aspect that real books just exude…a little bundle of joy, with a tangible cover – is it cloth? Is it paperback? Can you knock on it? Is it textured? Does the title stand out so you can feel the letters with your fingertips? Not only is a solid book a piece of art, but it carries so much heart (or soul, as this guy says) a note you scribbled here or there, a folded page, a slightly torn page, a coffee stain, a squashed bug…(yeah sorry if that’s icky, but at least it has character! Squash a bug on your eBook reader because you’re to engrossed in what you’re reading to carefully flick it off, and see if it has the same effect when it slides off your plastic protective cover!)

References:

(image from wikimedia commons)

http://vulpeslibris.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/why-i-hate-ebooks-by-daniel-roush/

http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/04/04/the-rise-of-e-reading/

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Ebook-Phenomenon&id=7068840

http://digitalpublishingaustralia.org.au/2012/04/05/lies-damned-lies-and-ebook-statistics/

Friendship, Faux Grown-ups & Folly

6 Oct

It’s a strange feeling, growing up. But even stranger, is realizing that you thought you’d been grown up all along, but now, now you’ve actually grown up. (Just a small side glance to the audience to my right, perhaps we haven’t really grown up at all. Perhaps we never do. Because if growing up is about understanding things and knowing things and feeling things as they really are – and not as we want them to be – then maybe we can’t ever, actually, ever, grow up. I am sitting on the artificial lawn, surrounded by prison walls. Quite profound. It sits there, looming; a metaphor, an allegory, a motif…or maybe, it’s jut a historical wall that we’ve now built a university around. It’s lost all significance; all prisoners; all screams; all somnambulists – they fade with the times, like all specter things – imprints, allusions to something that once was there, and now is not. It surrounds the university like a cage, or perhaps a fortress. But it’s a museum now, not a prison. Just something we go and gawk at.

So we sit on the plastic grass, in a circle of sun, surrounded by shadow of the dark prison walls. And we talk about things. I have known her since I was a child – and though by this, I literally mean for 15 years – it would seem that perhaps I am still a child, because perhaps we all are. So perhaps I have known her since I first started being a child, and as children, we know each other still.

We are sisters. Not real sisters of course. Though we have often been mistaken for sisters by the colour of our skin; the hair always caught us out. Mine is dead straight and thin, hers is thick and frizzy, like a black American popstar from the 70s. So yes, the hair, always proves we aren’t real sisters. We are something better, I do believe. Sisters of a certain inner something that is quite inexplicable by blood or biological reasoning.  When I say an inner something, that is because I must deny any relation whatsoever to her, in anything at all that is visible or observable. When people say that so-and-so is their ‘other half’, they usually don’t mean that the person that is closest to them is actually the exact inverse of the self. She is an exact replica of all that I am and love, but then reversed. What I could call the antithetical polemical of our friendship. The paradox that renders a friendship impossible, ergo: we must be sisters.

Composed. In tears. Running onwards. Run away. One smokes. One eats cake. One breaks. One mends. One has had boys in her life, till they turned into men. The other, well, hasn’t at all. A love for knowledge, learning, education. One dropped out of school, then dropped out of TAFE, then pretty much dropped out of life for a bit (don’t worry, this won’t offend her, because she’s actually sitting right beside me).

As they were sitting in the sun, they realised something about life. Whilst one had broken up with her boyfriend the day before (whilst the other has had none at all), whilst one had abandoned her home long ago (whilst the other may well end up living with her parents for a life time. Maybe not quite that long) and whilst one planned to be out all night long to avoid the problems of uncovered secrets and regrets (whilst the other looked forward to her cosy blankets and a good sleep) both began to realise something terribly profound. The steps, the streets, the stairs, the moments, the leaps – they all lead somewhere. We grow old. We make mistakes. We make mistakes again. And it happens like it does in the movies. We always heard the term in books and films and songs; a lament to a loss of childhood innocence.

I actually thought, that I had already passed this stage of child-like naivity last year. After taking a year off after graduating in 2010. After I had turned 18. I thought I had grown up. But it’s not until you realize, that it’s not the new things you experience (like independence and travel and uni) but it is the old things that you suddenly experience in truth; in reality.

It’s not new, scary, frightening things that suddenly come knocking on your bedroom door. It’s the old things that have been with you in your bedroom, all along. You just never noticed that they were there; that there were monsters under your bed; everyday of your life, for a lifetime.

And before any of this happened. And before any of us realized this was happening, we were greatly deceived. Deceived into thinking, it was ever possible for a world of grown-ups to actually exist. We think we grow wiser, because we see wise grown-ups. But when the wisdom we think we’ve gained turns to folly, as it always, always does. Then the grown-ups are exposed as children. So what the world needs then, is not a festering quagmire of self-deceiving grown-ups, but a Father.

Poem of My Life

8 Sep

So I was just brushing my teeth, thinking about some words and things. And then this happened. You could analyse it and say it encapsulates the terrifying chaos of postmodern society, institutionalised education, ever progressing pressures of time and space….or you could just say, it makes no sense. Let’s just enjoy words and rhythm and rhyme then, shall we:

Happy happy happy chappy

Spiral, downwards, slow, delaying

Expert fast and from decaying

Undiluted ex-profaning

Priests in exegetical layers

Of Harvard/Oxford-typed donators

Hindered in test tubal breakers

Can’t refuse

The endless payments

Mummy daddy escalators

Credits, fails and parking meters

Highfalutin innovators

Bludgers, boulders, budget-haters

Traffic lights, communicators

Fostering adjudicators

Exponential Nietzsche races

Dominating worldly places

Slaughtering lightbeamic chasers

Denying entry, ALLIGATORS

Chomping off all lifelines, savers

Festering in swamp-like craters

Killing killing

Rightful waiters

Serving platters

Blameless, blameless

Poisoned wine and mutual rapists

Distributing fashion tapes like

Donning desolated frames

In galleries that almost make

The Chim Cherie cry out in shame

Oh break the blackness

What’s your name?

Happy happy happy chappy

Spiral downwards clappy clappy

Expert fast and from decaying

Undiluted ex-profaning

Masters fighting monkey claims

To human tribes and human fame

To humans dead and humans’ shame

Playing, playing

Fraying, fraying

O’ ex-com-mun-i-ca-ted

Sayings