Shocks of technological thought at four in the morning (An Entry in the series, Wanderings of a writer in the digital age)

Kurt Vonnegut said that a writer who leaves technology out of their work is the same as when writers during the Victorian age left out sex….

When I was in my twenties I could write in ‘the noise’. I still can but it’s different. I make too many mistakes and half the time I can’t even read what I had written. There’s a groove and a meditation with writing, just like there is when you’re reading, and that’s what they call concentration.

Ok, so being a writer (I seriously Loath saying that but what can you do when you already can’t win) you have to  have both restraint and also allow yourself to be spontaneous. You have to give and take and retract and expand. Writing for me feels like stuttering, and it does even more so while editing. It makes sense though because you forget that there is a small gap of time when the information is sent from somewhere in your brain all the way to your fingers, so thinking is in many ways stuttering and there’s always going to be a time delay. I guess while editing I see this more often. Then again, maybe I think differently than those that are smarter. Often I become overly sensitive to the sensing of my unspoken voice….and anyway…this is not what I’m trying to talk about right now. I’m talking about technology. I’ll get there, I promise. 

When you edit you slow down your reading, and maybe it’s just me because I’m naturally more chaotic than some writers. I’m spontaneous but I’m also very disciplined. For instance, it’s the summer, and I think the way that non writing people feel in the summer is a lot like how I am as a person all the time. You have to work but it’s so nice outside, you want to go on vacation but can’t. You sit there looking at the dumb monitor as people are taking their vacations and talking about music festivals and going to the beach. There’s a party every night of the week and you still have to make sure you get up and go to work on time. It’s hard to level out because everyone is on a different schedule. This is how writing is for me, and it’s even more of a mess in the summer because people are always around having fun and relaxing or planning on relaxing and cleaning outside. I don’t know, there’s a lot of noise in the summer. Most people call this life. I do too…

I’ve gotten better and sometimes I fall back into old habits like procrastinating, but you show me one writer that hasn’t procrastinated too much and in person I’ll shake their hand and say I don’t believe you. All of this nonsense that you’ve read is why I’m writing this and why I got up after a split-shift of six hours of sleep. I don’t have any social responsibilities until one in the afternoon so I can catch some more snoozes around ten. So what am I going on and on about. I’m talking about technology. I’ll get there…

The reason I got up was to be alone and not to be in the noise. I enjoy only hearing the sound that I’m alone responsible for, and sometimes that’s even too loud.

I like being alone with the fan and the taps of the keyboard, alone with my stuttering pauses and the silent hiss of everything I don’t know where it comes from. And like I said, I used to be able to edit in the noise, but now I can only write in the noise, and even then it’s not as easy as it used to be. Damn. What the hell is wrong with me? I’m sounding like old man river over here. That’s alright…

You change as a writer and person as the years go by. That brings us to, technology.

Working on my novel I was thinking about how the action of reading has changed. It has, there’s no getting around that. Social media has forever changed the way humans read text. For a while I was a strict traditionalist and I still am when it comes to the physical word. That’s why  my planned books and my old one’s for the most part (also that I have to make some money) will never appear in the digital form until I am satisfied with the technology that matches the technology that is my book.

You can’t think of technology as only being electrical. Technology as defined is, ‘the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem’.

A chimp using a stick to get some bugs for lunch out of a log is using technology. Technology isn’t  just readers and tablets and you know what I’m talking about. So what I’m saying is that the novel is technology too. Words are a form of technology. The book is technology. The physical thing on the shelf is a kind of technology that is made to solve a problem. What that problem can be is damn close to infinite, just like the problems that a computer can solve. Anything a human wants to solve has the potential to be solved with technology. That’s confusing but really simple so don’t think about that too long.

The problem can be all sorts of things. I’m not here to dive too deeply into this big old stubborn debate. What I’m saying is that the digital side of the written word, when it comes to tablets and readers and whatever else there is now, hasn’t satisfied me as the writer and maker of  technology. Each year they’re coming closer, but until they get there I’ll still be a book bound traditionalist sort of writer. So what does that mean?

When I was outside I wasn’t even planning on writing this post. Still tired I was thinking about what the book is and why it seems to be at odds with the times we’re in. I’m sure this has been said before but I don’t care because for me this was the first time I ever subjectively thought this problem through.

Note: I should say that I think about writing and books more than most people. I would estimate that I think about writing fifteen hours a day in one way or another. Multiply that by almost ten years and that’s some damn thinking about some…thing.

Of course this is all besides the point. I’m not trying to qualify myself because as the brilliant young philosophical students always told me in the graduate program, ‘you never preface your argument by qualifying yourself’. This is another small side note that always made me laugh because…who cares. Let’s wrap this up because I have to get back to my book for damn, three hours before snooze time again. TECHNOLOGY:

  1. The Physical Book is a piece of technology.
  2. The way people read has changed.
  3. The book and especially the novel have been losing mass appeal.
  4. Therefore, the Physical book as a piece of technology must change.

I’m not talking about e-books and picture screens with picture words. I’m talking about the romanticized physical book. The cells and screws that make up the tool of the book must evolve. So goes the way of technological progression. If it doesn’t it will die. So goes the way of extinction. 

I’m sure you might say, thanks a lot captain obvious, but do you have any ideas how the book should change? Yes, yes I do.

Alright…

Be well, be cool, and…PEACE.

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1261 words

More of this

I was afraid. Less than an hour later I woke up. I needed a candy bar or something.

Doing this out of the love for what I was told to love I started writing, even though, life is so damn hard on me.

Critical assholes that drive nice cars as I walk on by tell me the things I already know.  The fundamental problem is they’ll never have to find the courage to get through what I’ve seen. Constant war and the counter still doubt the pain. I’ve read it and I don’t have time to lose it all. I’m a new philosophy, the evolution of philosophy, and it’s peaceful but angry. It’s about how it is. I’m not a pacifist but I’m not a fighter, and the projection of inner ideals is a tower of Taoist babble for slaves like me, and so being a journalist and not a philosophical freeman I went back to swimming in the mess. For a second though I was as happy as I’ve ever been. I was lost and talking and writing and wasting time focusing on the echo of the waking earth. It was like falling in love with a beautiful woman, I’ve done that maybe twice, and my eyes focused on the rainbow of lights reflecting off from everything. The tents and the violin sound of the hammocks bending. There was a slow rain and this was  good. I could hear the hooks swing from pins nailed into two trees looking like a sliver of the moon on a clear august night. It was as perfect of a cold summer morning in the northern jungle as there’s ever been… WAIT…!

There’s no time for any of this. I have a job to do. Like I said I’m not a damn poet. Luckily for the consumer of free existential news I snapped out of my beatific damn trance. Maybe I know that the job isn’t me but I have to do the damn job because this isn’t all about me. These words are as much for you as they are for the soul of my memory. It’s just that for one day I wanted to be me. The thing is there’s not enough time to be selfish. I’m expendable. These words are for the people who struggle, and for those who believe they’ll never be heard. I hope…

Forgetting about work and loving the nature of my words I started forgetting and forgetting and the whole time I was forgetting I was in many ways dancing alone. I jumped up and swung on a branch and fell into the day. I was transfixed on the end of the night that held together like tape a strange mix of fog and sun. The concentration of the wind was laughing in sorrow as you could feel the beginning of the rapidly aging leafs dying before the fall. This was the sound of a brand new day. In the distance there was the re-stringing of guitars and still, there I was. I was walking without shoes and loving the moment as feet didn’t care. My toes bent and slept as my mind was walking with sandals. I looked up and the blues were born, and as I sung alone and headed somewhere walking through the woods I said…

Settle down pal. You have a damn story to get.

The poetry ended like it usually does for men like me. That being the case it was time to get back to…

MORE OF THIS

It’s snowing in Russia: Brief thoughts on the absurd digital noise that is the Snowden debauchery.

The internet frenzy and constant chatter concerning this world-wide American manhunt is insane. I’m not going to write any poetics here. I’m going to try to figure out shortly why I feel like this.

Nothing really appalling has happened but still the media would show this being on the same level as the Rosenberg episode. Mr. Snowden is manipulating the media in a masterful way but why? Here’s a man who worked at the N.S.A. He was well-educated and knew what the job was about. He wasn’t some young kid who just read Marxist theory and wanted to smash the system. He hasn’t told us anything new, and that’s another problem. Why didn’t he just initially go to Ecuador? Why the multi continental runaround? Is he trying to sell information? I mean come on, the citizens of the United States have known about the prism program in one way or another since the Patriot Act first was drafted. We know we live in a world where the government can find out if were up to something. I don’t really think he gets that people aren’t stupid, and that we just don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’m not worried and maybe we should vote on it but really the internet is free and Google and Facebook are the N.S.A in many ways. If you want to, with a little bit of diligence you can find information about anybody to construct the narrative of your choice. What does he have on those four hard drives that he’s so afraid of? Not just that, but why is the United States so worried? We have a liberal president right now and this is a very bad situation for the Democratic Party. It’s exposing everything that is wrong with our system. This is a big turning point regardless of what ends up happening, and it’s as big as anything that’s played out in real-time under his administration. I’m disappointed in Obama’s silence, but more so of many of the politicians under his wing that have gone on an embarrassing worldwide rant, and why?

This whole thing is ridiculous. Mr. Snowden knew what he was getting himself into. He knew that his job was to analyze data for criminal activity. Did this shock him? Is this why he decided to go to Russia? I think he doesn’t know what he’s doing, that’s one possibility. Another possibility is that he has some real top-secret information. On May 14th The Kremlin kicked out a C.I.A agent. Many more examples could be given why they’re not helping us. Why should we expect them to help us after situations like that have occurred? I’m on the side of my country but I’m also pro rational thinking. This is about more than freedom of the press. What Snowden did on face value seems innocent. The problem is that he could end up pulling the United States into some very troubled waters with China, Russia, and so many other countries, and for what? What does he have? That should be the focus. Why is this media frenzy such a big deal? He works for Wikileaks now and so what do they have to gain? Whose interest do they have? What interest does the government of Ecuador have in all of this? Something’s going on and there has to be something more than just information. Who knows what that could be, and when I think even more about it I have this thought that he stumbled across…SOMETHING!

Probable Facts: I think he’s afraid of facing his charges. I think the Russian government probably has the information now. I think he should have never come forward. Americans know we are being spied upon. This is not the old days of the dial-up modem. This is the social network where the global world talks. The United States threatening like an old fat cat is not helping either. Everybody’s being so damn self righteous here and I feel like the other governments are in many ways caught in the crossfire of immaturity. They seem a bit confused with our increasing behavior with what would seem to be discontent with everything that is…well, our government. The only new thing that I know is that my own damn country, The United States of America, has some computer whiz kid who’s one of their own on the run. He’s either a spy or a very foolish young man, or he’s a hero and the best reporter alive. Still, I want to hear something worth anything, something new, and no, I don’t know what the solution is, but one thing’s for sure,  and that’s he wasn’t the whistle-blower, not yet anyway, and now that he’s missing again, well this could turn out not so damn good for anyone.

What does he have? What was he thinking? He acted like a child here. He knew what he was getting paid for. I don’t really think he’s right or wrong, I just don’t think this is about freedom of the press anymore. This could change everything if he really has some real data. Everything he’s said so far has already been out there. So what’s going on? This is the question I have. Is it HARP? Is it Aliens? Is it Nazis? Is it some giant damn conspiracy? Why is this so dramatic? Is it the script of the new Star Wars? In the end, this might be one of those news stories that just silently goes away. None of it makes any sense.

P.S: For some reason the whole thing reminds me of this movie…

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