Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blackberry Connected to the Wrist Bone

I used to have a Blackberry for work purposes awhile back when I worked for an event photography company. I had to solve a lot of problems, put out lots of fires and the Blackberry was a constant siphon of my attention. When I resigned to focus on some writing projects I turned it in, went back to using an old flip phone, and was happy with that shift in communication leash power.

That was a few years ago, and my wireless contract now was up for renewal, and I had the option of getting a swell new phone for free. So I hemmed and hawed and contemplated getting back into smart phone capabilities, and figured it may be good for producing stuff. I opted for the Blackberry after playing with several other types, iPhone included, because I liked the feel of the Blackberry. I'm not a big touch screen fellow when it comes to typing stuff, I like actual keys.

So for the last few days I've been very distracted by this device. We do live in a distracting age with technology and I've read posts and tweets and statuses of writers griping about the distraction of the internet. While I feel their pain, it is up to the strength of us as writers to pull up the will power to set a device down, and create, write. Dropping one type of communication for a more intimate, personal, playful one. Sometimes I like to write the old fashioned way, pen to paper. For some time I've also feared how the digital age is going to change literature, something I love so much. While we've certainly seen the fall of the big box book retailers like Borders, I do hope smaller independent bookshops can maintain their survival by remaining an active community location with readings and events. Although I think one cannot say "people don't read books anymore" because I think with all of these devices and feeds people are reading possibly more than they have in previous decades. So, for awhile I kind of moaned about the fact that "print" was getting murdered by digitizing of the reading experience. There's certainly a lot of us that prefer the feel of pages. But I sort of don't feel like focusing on the negative. I'm in a phase where I'm okay messing around with this digital device stuff and playing with it as its own form, find its own rhythm of storytelling, which hopefully can still operate as a gateway drawing people back to print. Much the same way that video helps some theatre groups entice people out to see their shows. Print and live theatre becomes a breath of fresh air for the spectator, a time to unplug. Sort of like a waking phase of digital sleep. Often I look forward to dreams as I would a TV show.

And I'm not necessarily talking about the digital as just promo for the unplugged aforementioned. A river might feed into the ocean, but the river is still a trip in and of itself. A river needs exploring. I'm going to leave it at that analogy for now.


Traditionology said...

i've got a bit to say on this, so i'm finally going to post un-anonymously. hi jeff.

i don't find technology to be a distraction so much, because the internet winds up being a constant source of inspiration. a couple apparently random mouse clicks, open a few tabs, and suddenly the mind starts connecting the dots. somewhere in there a story gets born. i also happen to be one of those people who can only write when the muse strike, so if i feel like writing, i can't really get distracted, unless by work or some such nonsense.

and digital vs print... man, i have such issues with this. i love that everything digital is essentially free in this day and age, because having spare cash laying around is no longer a prerequisite for exploring art. of course, as a writer, i should probably feel differently about this - if i spend a lot of time writing something, i should get paid for it, no? but, really, i don't write for the money. i don't even think i write for the reader. i write for me, and if someone else wants to pick it up and page through it, more power to you - and thanks to the internet, the power really is yours. as an added bonus, it doesn't matter if you're two states away or two oceans away, you can still reach me, still reach the art.

but i totally agree about hard copy books and live theater being a different sort of experience, just like listening to a band's CD and seeing them live isn't (or shouldn't be) the exact same thing. a book for me is like a mini-vacation. a 200-page word document is just more computer shit, no matter how many 4 A.M.s i saw while writing it.

anyway, now you get to figure out who i am. unless you already know, in which case, good game! you might be the first person to legitimately find their way to my blog.

see you next sunday

The Igloo Oven said...

hey man, thanks for commenting. I do agree with you, one of the wonderful things about this digital age is the capacity for sharing art all over the world in a single click. One can literally get lost in link hopping and discovering new things for hours. Sure, it can get a bit diluted as there is a lot of content out there, and I know for myself sometimes after "surfing" some gems can easily get lost in new items popping up in the memory. But, better that it is discovered and enjoyed, however brief.

One of the pluses of digital reading is the environmental footprint. Sure a kindle or an ipad needs to battery power, but so do gigantic print presses, unless you're doing a very old school with a manual type set. Which I'd love to play around with at some point in my life. Some say Samuel Clemens was able to write concurrently while setting type on the fly back when he worked for a newspaper, which brings a rad physical element to the art of write, much like a painter spreading colour on a canvas.

But all in all I think this digital world is a good thing for literature. I really do feel like people are reading more. And digitally, we can have discussion threads like this on a piece of writing that is accessible.

And the issue of money for books, monetizing writing, art in general, as well as most goods and services is in difficult state economically. I've read about different local currencies popping up created by different communities, which kind of serve as sharing tokens. Example, let's say I pick up your kids one day when you're sick, I get a token which I can redeem in participating places in the community, such as maybe a coffee shop for a cup of coffee. This is a topic for a different post, but perhaps the future (after the apocalypse and the crash of the U.S. dollar) will reside in the development of local currencies that focus on sharing and providing for one another, as rewards for pitching in, as opposed to a currency that's purpose is increasingly to become a profit engine.