Magic and Lost Bookmarks

MAGIC AND LOST BOOKMARKS

The decision to release my novels in Ebook format was difficult, I love the feel and smell of a physical book in my hands. I was a little slow accepting the format- it seemed temporary, unreal and as amorphous as dissipated fog- it also smacked of a format custom-made for the dilettante; a screenshot of a plastic dildo, a vanity project worthy of prescient banality – but I evolved. I suddenly began to see the many advantages- the hovering/definition feature, and the lovely font enlargement feature of the Nook or Kindle Readers. Portability ranks high, so does the storage of multiple books. The final decision to release my novels in digital format was financial- for an independent Author to produce, market, and distribute physical books is cost prohibitive. Yes; the more you order the better the price; and then you have a basement full of unsold books to remind you of your lack of marketing savvy (or more likely, lack of operating budget.) Once Amazon Prime gets hold of your product, they unilaterally reduce your copy price, until it costs you money to sell your novel. It is a frustrating and maddening conundrum; very disheartening considering that the act of writing and editing a novel is barely changed in respect to the real WORK involved in the conception and completion of a manuscript.

Does the falling tree go boom if no one is there?

Is an unread book still great?

Simple answer: it’s much better if people read your work.

I have no advice for trees, they’ve been here longer than I have.

The Pandemic has eviscerated the Arts- particularly the performing Arts- but it also has made for a very strained economy- Pay rent, buy food or buy Art? Most know the apt decision. No one can blame struggling families forgoing ‘fluff’ like Art- unless of course it comes with the cable T.V. bundle. In the case of Fiction, Literature, or Poetry – I am a firm believer in the sad fact people don’t read as much as they THINK they do. This is not anyone’s fault, time has become an ever more precious, measured. Speed rules. Most of us read scores of short snippets, rushed paragraphs, cute quickies and social media posts. It takes dedication and love of the Art of Fiction (or for that matter, non-Fiction) to apportion  time to sit still, focus and absorb a novel of any length. It also obliges the Reader to release control, allow the story to unfold, to give the author nearly total control of the mind of a Reader- and here may be the rub. No scrolling in between metaphors. Sacrifice is not a common predilection for the ‘average’ consumer. Watch the Trailer- here’s the plot and explosions. No need to wait.

Such is the pretension born of ‘individuality’ or ‘freedom’ for most Americans, or anyone else who now spends a large chunk of their lives staring at screens.

Technology is ecumenical. The other great equalizer. Available to anyone with a credit card. It’s in everyone’s interest.

A frighteningly large percentage of fellow travelers read or watch screens and come to the bewildering conclusion that wearing a mask is a sacrifice, an intrusion of their rights as sovereign herd-members to resist tyranny. Inalienable Idiocy. It’s in the Constitution. The Right to be intractably stupid.

We can all be virtually absent from grasping…one…single…thought.

The Mind tells us an accomplishment has been made, or goals fulfilled by interacting avatars on Instagram or (pick one- we ALL have choices.)

Reading is just so boring. (Yes; I’ve heard it spoken more times than I care to recount. I once even heard it said on a train and felt a strange repressed strangulation in my mind.

{To Sleep, Perchance to Dream?}

I too plead guilty. I’m staring at a screen as I write this. I have several Art-related FaceBook pages. The need to interact and with any luck, gain ‘followers’ is pure Crack propane to the sense of fulfillment- like a never-ending stream of opiated whipped crème being shot with happy gas down the throat. We willingly pull the trigger; the flaky spume collects around the corners of the mouth. Sweet, filling, tasty- but mostly empty. No Likes yet. Bummer. No love. Not even the pretend kind- which is enough in a world where touching, singing, hugging, praying, laughing, shopping, attending a wedding or burying our dead could mean our own lonely, painful, death. Petrifying. Horrifying. Unimaginable.

Wholly incorrect. The correct word? Inhuman.

Even a Loner needs the human touch – even if the last time it was truly experienced was traveling down the Birth canal toward the cry of vagitus. You can’t hug Mom now. She needs you too. Now more than ever. Dad is facing his mortality. They nurtured us, taught us to speak, eat and spell. How to scab and learn from pain.  And now, as a direct result of pure IGNORANCE, we are unable to reassure and comfort them. We can interact with technology, with cameras, cool space-age telephones. Touching the other side of the glass window at the Nursing Home.

Hello, Grampy. We haven’t forgotten. We love you, but it’s impossible to adequately explain to you why we can’t just…simply…touch…you.

If I believed in such nonsense, I would define 2020 in one word:

Demonic.

I believe we’ll make it as a species. It’s simply our turn for brazen, harsh, raw lessons. We aren’t the first, or the last generation to be challenged with the threat of annihilation. Obliteration.  Eradication by way of the polished turd of exceptionalism.

No more –Black Friday.

Suddenly fighting over the widescreens at a big box doesn’t seem worth the effort; besides, that might mean we’ll need to give up our place in the line at the Food Bank. Or the Testing Station.

Blink and you’ll miss it. The closeness. The Love. The Art. The myth of INDEPENDENCE. To seize back mental control would require the realization that we allowed ourselves to be duped into believing that there is a shortcut to understanding. That information equals knowledge. That an App can make you pretty.

Ah, the crass irony of our collective November. It seems endless. Cynical. Ambivalent.

I’m no half-baked conspiracy nut. As time has gone on, I’ve begun to trust logic, science and informed consent over astrology, magical crystals, and decapitated flopping chickens. I still like the romance of whooping shaman and wide-eyed ghosts. Spirit dances and creation myths. Stories crooned around a fire-pit. I believe in a tale well-told. A conclusion reached by intelligent consensus.

Common fucking sense.

But now I fear I’ll be the only one sitting on a rock watching the sparks flow upwards and disappearing into the night sky. I just told a joke to no one. I still imagine the laughter. Something moved in the dark.

The Boogey-Man doesn’t lurk in the shadows.

One look in the mirror should illustrate that point.

As my Momma, the English Professor said:

Trust the Tale- Not the Teller ~ D.H. Lawrence

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