Hi guys, just a quick note to let you know that I’m back. I took a couple of weeks off, and that was the reason behind the recent recent silence. Anyway I’m back to writing -or trying to- but one of the souvenirs I brought back with me is a rather nasty cold, and that one’s driving me nuts (in a nutshell, I’m not sick enough to stay in my hammock doing nothing, but I still feel too crummy to do much of anything. Yes, it’s better than being seriously ill, but colds have a tendency to get annoying after a while… after a very short while).
I know, I know, I said I was going to keep my pets out of this blog, and for the most part I’m going to try to stick to that promise (I may love cats, but I’ve just about had it with their attempts at taking over the internet), but the truth is that right now I’m scared. The girl you see in the featured image is Shadow. She has been my constant companion for well over fourteen years, and seeing how she wasn’t exactly a puppy when we first met, she is at least fifteen years old. That makes her a grand old lady by dog standards, and right now she has an abscessed tooth that needs to come out. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. Now, I realize that a tooth extraction is a fairly straight forward proposition, and my vet tells me that she’s in about as good a shape as a fifteen-year-old dog can be, but the whole thing does call for general anesthesia, and I am almost painfully aware of the fact that at her age there’s no such thing as a minor surgery.
What can I say? I may know that no matter what I do, our time together is running out, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Continue reading I’m scared
Okay, so my last post was an anti-facebook rant. Now let’s turn to the brighter side of technology… at least from where I stand. To begin with let me get one personal detail out of the way: I am dyslexic, and that means that I basically owe my life to my computer… or at least my lifestyle, why?
Well, to begin there’s the fact that without a keyboard I can’t write, full stop, and yet I’ve been able to become a writer. That’s about as big a shift as there can be, and the very notion of being unable to get the words out is one that fills me with a sense of dread. I realize that to an outsider that may sound like I’m exaggerating, but I’m not, and I am almost painfully aware of the fact that I was only a generation away from finding myself in exactly that position.
When it comes to reading I was lucky to overcome most of the challenges at a fairly early age (politically incorrect, and cringe worthy as it may sound, I have to give Enid Blyton a lot of credit for that one, as her books made reading fun) but even there I have to admit that I find reading on a screen, where I can actually modify the layout to suit my needs, so much easier. In fact my favorite device in that regard is an iPod touch. Yes, I realize that it’s an odd choice, and that most people cringe at the thought of reading on such a tiny screen, but from my perspective that’s by far its best feature (and I’m still grumbling about the fact that some moron saw it fit to increase the size of the display some three years ago)… and from a more general perspective there is the internet. We can’t forget about that one.
No, I’m not a digital native, and I suspect that that gives me both a better perspective to appreciate the benefits the internet has brought about, and a greater awareness of what the price we’ve had to pay has been, but that’s a subject for another post.
No, I don’t have a facebook account. At first I didn’t really see the point, then it became almost a matter of principle. Simply put, I am fond of my privacy, and I find their policies terribly intrusive, but my main gripe has to do with the way in which having a facebook account has become almost a requirement.
In a world in which facebook likes have become a sort of digital currency there are sites in which you can’t even access the content unless you ‘like’ them first (i.e. sight unseen), and that’s without taking into account the fact that your facebook login has become a sort of universal id, to the point that trying to interact with the rest of the web without one becomes something of a nightmare.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know the thing has its advantages, but I miss the days when a friend was some one you knew and cared for, when liking something meant more than clicking on a button, and I certainly don’t appreciate the way in which facebook has become the gatekeeper to our digital lives, or the fact that trying to do without it turns you into a sort of outcast. Believe me, as a struggling author trying to attract an audience I am reminded on a daily basis of the price I have to pay to maintain that particular bit of independence (in fact I’m not even sure how much longer that policy will remain viable, and I’m already trying to formulate a contingency plan for the day it effectively stops being an option), but the price I would have to pay to join that ‘free’ service is so much steeper.
For some fourteen years I’ve been working on a fantasy series, and in the past few years I even managed to publish the first three volumes of the thing. In fact I was beginning to work on book four when the whole thing was basically poisoned in my mind. In a nutshell, I had entrusted the covers to one of my closest friends, and that was a mistake that wound up causing the friendship to implode as we were trying to agree on a design for book three. The end result was that for a while there I couldn’t even look at those books without a lot of pain… and then I reread them.
I don’t know how tainted my perspective was by that recent debacle, but I wound up cringing quite a bit. That led me to push book four to the back burner. Now I am back to contemplating what to do with the whole thing, and I’m leaning towards a full revision of the first three books, to be released simultaneously with book four (and hopefully a new set of covers that doesn’t cause my stomach to get twisted in a knot whenever I see them). Yes, I realize that it is a bit extreme, but one of the downsides about publishing a series is that you are bound by what’s already published, even though at times it might be described as cheating, this will enable me to go back and make some changes… and it is that freedom to make changes that brings me to the main question I wanted to address with this post: how am I supposed to tackle the subject of technology?
That’s one I hadn’t expected to become such a major issue, but the truth is that given that the first draft was written back in 2001, there are a number of aspects that seem a bit anachronistic. I realize that there are plenty of books out there that gleefully disregard that particular aspect, that literature has a permanence that is part of its charm in an age of planned obsolescence, and I don’t even know how feasible is it going to be for me to work that into the story without totally disrupting the plot (not to mention that, even if I were to succeed, in five years the books will probably be back to feeling as dated as they feel now), but at least for the time being, I am tempted to give it a shot.
BTW, the series in question is Citlalli, but if you want to give one of my books a shot I would probably suggest that you give those a wide berth, and consider Horsesh*t (history/humor), Homo Ex Machina (SF), or The Eyes of the Dead instead.