As an avid reader, I find myself saying, “Where are all the great writers?” With each passing year, the overall quality of literature that is written and recommended to us by the media and popular book clubs, is piss-poor to say the very least. Are there any modern “greats” hiding in plain sight?
I mean, with the advent of Social Networks, coupled with the ability everyone has to self-publish, buy a domain name, and or create a free website; doesn’t everyone have a voice? Doesn’t everyone have exposure? And wouldn’t it seem logical, that the cream of the crop would rise to the top; and that which is lesser would remain unnoticed or fade away?
As one of the world’s best Tweeters and literary minds, I have a rather large reach. And for many years on Twitter, I have expressed a desire to collaborate with and or assist individuals that may need help in any and every way I can.
I have tried to create with Twitter a new-aged “BloomsburyGroup;” a modern day collective of creative minds, philosophies, & ideas; it never really got off the ground. I have created communities on the popular networking game and tool “Empire Avenue;” and I am still a community of one.
The world isn’t logical. And Social Networks are not logical. And people are not logical. And this dumb-ing down of our society coupled with technological “advancements” and our own selfish nature, dare I say has not only destroyed the written world, but rendered any hope of future brilliant writers obsolete.
For a moment, let’s forget that very few people are avid readers and consummate students; but with no time for reading, when will one have time to write? For most writers, unless you are fortunate enough to have a best seller and get a book deal; writing is something one does in his or her free time or as a hobby.
So let’s assume you have to work, you have to eat and sleep and shower regularly; you have to do normal household chores, occasional trips to the supermarket and gas station; you exercise a few times a week and perhaps go out amongst the living to a bar on a Friday night. And you always have your “smartphone;” so you are always on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Google+; text-messaging, and checking that dinosaur we call e-mail.
So when does a writer have time to write a novel or collection of poems or short stories? Because as a Social Networking participant, you must always be creating content in those worlds, so when do you sit down to “write” for yourself?
Today most “writers” create a blog, with the hopes that they will one day take all his or her blog posts and turn them into a book of sorts. Or someone grabs his or her ear and tells them how brilliant their Twitter stream is, and how they should turn their stream into a book.Well, who the hell wants to read that? And didn’t folks already read that? So you are going to deliver the same goods, slightly rearranged and packaged slightly differently?
As a writer and speaking from experience, I would “create” and write more in one month, than I have in my four years of joining Twitter and being a part of other Social Networks. I am very fortunate that I was never into video games and the Internet and the vast majority of my writing and novels have already been written; it is just a matter of me deciding what I want to release next and tighten things up a little.
But you will not find a better book available to read then my collection of short stories. Pick up a book written yesterday or in the past 25 or 50 years; and then read my book, and you tell me which is better. Not only have I read all the “greats;” and hundreds of thousands of books; and have degrees in English and Linguistics; and was a journalist; and refined my vision and voice since 9th grade; but I worked on "Silent Pages, Loud Thoughts, Short Stories" for OVER ten years before releasing it.
An eBook for only $1.99 or $3.95? Let me say this about eBooks: anyone can write and “publish” an eBook. I for one could publish an eBook a day, because an eBook is nothing more than a glorified PDF. And that old saying, “you get what you pay for” in this case certainly holds true. The best thing you can buy for a few dollars is still candy, like M&M’s and Kit Kats, to enjoy while you hold in your hands and read a “real book” by a brilliant author. This ability to publish with great speed and publish at will and publish for free; has destroyed the craft and art of painstakingly laboring over creating a book and the process of “being published.”
Let’s take my favorite Social Network, Twitter, as an example. The 140 characters seen by all as a limitation, but seen by me as an opportunity, are grossly misused on a regular basis. The stream is not seen as art; and if it is static and not moving; it is viewed as dead and irrelevant. Who would ever go back and read 3,000 Tweets into someone’s time line? Who would even want to? Most Twitter streams, unless one uses Twitter to talk to friends, are absolute crap. We have a blind eye when it comes to the repetitive nature and nervous chatter of Twitter. When we “tweet,” we do not value, refine, and prune our language; we simplify, abbreviate, and use slang, which is very different. (And Google+ has become a similar wasteland in a relatively short time.)
And just about everyone on Twitter is an expert. Everyone on Twitter is a guru of sorts. And everyone is an AUTHOR. Everyone and their sister has a “published book” to check out. And upon further examination, it turns out that these books are ALWAYS ebooks; which are free giveaways or can be purchased at a nominal fee.
But back to the “language” of text messaging and Twitter for a moment. What exactly are we conveying? Do our words, does our language even convey “meaning and understanding” anymore regularly? With all this added exposure and opportunity, is it possible that we have become more invisible and unnoticed by each other? Is it possible that what we transmit and convey to each other, is not as valuable and meaningful as we might be led to believe? (It is a bunch of crap. #Sixwords)
We are teaching our youth that technology is smart and bright; and that when connecting to the Internet, you can find “knowledge” and “information.” I ask us to reevaluate this, and perhaps encourage kids to go to the library and read comic books; and use technology when they are older, and their brains have matured.
You will never find more knowledge and information, than that which you can explore within tangible black and white paper pages. If you are an avid reader and enjoy intelligent conversation; I encourage you to connect with and engage me on Twitter @UnSeeingEyes.