Sunday, April 27, 2008

How writing is changing

OK, so I read in the NYT that nowadays it seems there are more writers than readers. Fewer and fewer people are reading and more and more people are writing. Sometimes I think I am only writing for myself. Sometimes I think that is what the writing obsession is all about.

The self-publishing biz is burgeoning. The bloggorhea is boundless. The vanity presses are hooking them in by the boatload, so many suckers that Borders is getting into the biz, offering editors and publishing for a fee, though when it comes to shelf space, not so much. The concept is transforming just as everything the web touches is transformed. I read stories about web-based companies that pop up, grow and blossom into billion dollar ideas. I read about China having bypassed the US for online activity.

I Googled my name and found three dozen listings some in foreign languages, reviews and links from all over the world. This ethereral connectivity spreads through the electrons and photons, from mind to mind. No one knows who reads these words and what they think.

I have had a website since 1993 and my own URL since 1998. I taught myself Photoshop and HTML and in a matter of months wrote, er...created an interactive sestina called BLOODLINES ( and just put it out there. I got nominated for a webby, more properly the Perranoski Prize and featured by a German design site. It is all sort of happenstance. Yet, I see it as part of my pattern since my first days of writing when I was not yet a teen.

My first story was a science fiction story based on my personal fantasy of being an alien. I came to this conclusion because I felt I did not belong in the family I was born into, and was adopted. My baby pictures, my memories, photos of my birthdays and family events, were evidence that I was indeed born into the family I had. However, I never felt at home there. I imagined that I was somehow spirited into my mother's womb by space creatures.

My fantasy, as I walked in the woods, was that there was a certain tree somewhere that I had not yet found that was really not a tree at all, but a cleverly disguised device masquerading as a tree. If would but pull a branch, push a knot or the scar of a broken branch in the right combination, the tree would somehow transport me back to my real home, on another planet. I read that this alienation fantasy is quite common among artists. especially those who had suffered some sort of abuse. I have even had conversations with others about similar fantasies. But, in truth, I still search for that certain tree.

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