A writer friend with an almost-finished book told me recently she thought she would podcast it, skipping the bother of agents and editors and such. This was within the same week that another friend advised his summer reading would be strictly Kindle, skipping the bother of books and magazines and such. Personally, I am left in some despair. Those of us – a dwindling brood indeed but nevertheless not quite extinct – who started our writing careers on Royal Portable typewriters and moved only with trepidation and bewilderment through the Smith-Corona Selectric to assorted clunky memory machines and eventually, Lo! willy-nilly into the computer age --- well, we are still emotionally tied to agents and editors and magazines and books.
So, OK, the world is changing. There are pockets of resistance, though, and I choose to believe that real-time agents and editors and old-fashioned publishing companies will continue to line our pockets for a brief and nostalgic time yet. Surely not line our pockets with silver or gold, but rather with cool silk and a trace of soft fur.
Old writers, a lot of us at least, still recall with fondness those days of the cool-silk agent who allayed our fears with assurances that this manuscript would undoubtedly be the breakthrough book. It might not have happened, but its non-happening was cushioned by agented tufts of fur. Meanwhile, editors and publishers encouraged our hearts with the feel of shiny, new-ink-smelling magazines that occasionally bore our very own words within their slick covers, newspapers rustling comfortably against the breakfast table that occasionally carried our weighty prose and in any event carried the news to be read at leisure with the toast and honey, a quaint practice still cherished in proper breakfast rooms. And books, bless them, no matter whose weighty prose was within, came new from the bookstore shelves or post office with heft and texture and their own delicious odors of parchment and printer’s ink.
The new words (for more on the fascinating struggle with our expanding language please feel free to visit my general blog) and the new world of publishing will be old worlds in another decade, I suspect, dragging us all, Royal Portables and lightweight laptops in tow. Bred in the old world where hope sprang eternal because one had to wait at least a few weeks before the rejection-bearing SASE arrived, baptized in the harsh reality of e-mail submissions that can splatter back in one’s face in a matter of moments, we persevere.
Not only that, we blog.
Causes Fran Johns Supports
Compassion & Choices of N.CA
San Francisco Interfaith Council