I am a reader. I am a writer too, but let me put that aside for the moment.
I have always been a reader. I have happy memories of the infants’ class, standing beside the knee of kindly Miss Easdale as she helped me revel in mastering the technique of reading those first words, “Run John, run.” I didn’t know then that I would become what reading has made me.
Well, yes, there is the influence of my parents, especially my father who so loved books and education but who missed both through life’s quirks. The thing is, he never lost his faith in education and made it possible for his son to get what was denied him. But apart from his influence, and that of some others, my education is the books I have read and the insights they have given me. I am what I was born to – plus what I have read. Aren’t we all?
There is no adventure that appealed to me, no corner of the earth, no storm of the sea or the air, no strangeness of person or society in any part of the world that I have not been to – experienced – through a book in my hand. Perhaps the real world is in the pages of books and what is out there under jungle, or sun, or ice, is only the test material to see what values we really hold.
None of this of course, would have taken place without the industry of printing. Without leaving my chair I can be in the middle of terror, hate, love, doubt, greed, information…and if it is good writing I am absorbed by it, transfixed with delight. Enlarged.
From time to time, in a group of friends, I have played that game of nominating mankind’s greatest invention: electricity, the judicial system, the pill, glass, antibiotics… the list is impressive, but I always plump for writing.
It seems to me, as it has seemed to many others, that transforming speech into a visual element, is a masterstroke of genius, the platform for all human advancement. Since language was linked to an alphabet, mankind has seen a long and concentrated drive toward universal literacy. That is our aim – that everybody learns to read for enjoyment and or knowledge – only then will nations really begin to understand each othert.
Perfect an alphabet and we could write! We could write thoughts, and dreams, and then, quite suddenly, we were freed from the fragile limitation of human memory. Fantastic. The world did not have to be reinvented with each generation. Books, wonderful books, let us accumulate knowledge and imaginings – right and wrong – and let humanity build understanding and communication; explore itself. That we haven’t always used the ability well doesn’t detract from its greatness.
It was too good a possession to be controlled. The printing press had to come sooner or later and it did in the 15th century. Move over calligrapher-monks of Europe.
Growth never takes place gradually and at a constant rate. Progression is always a series of steps and stairs, even in the biological world. The printing press was a gigantic step.
But by the turn of this last century the old publishing model for books was pinching, not quite fitting the needs of our new computerized age. Like the monks, the old ways fought, are fighting, for the status quo but nobody can stop the clock let alone put it back.
Time for another big step. For good or evil, what has been let loose upon the world is independent publishing – the Indies.
That’s where we are. That’s where I am.
I welcome the e-readers which let me adjust font size for weakening eyes; I worry about the greedy commercialisation which seeks to swamp the e-publishing phenomenon. I rejoice to see the heat of change applied to traditional publication, but deplore the flood of self-published rubbish. Rubbish is rubbish in whatever form. I applaud the indie-authors but dislike the fact they have to spend half their writing time in self-promotion.
At present there’s a real scrap going on out there between traditional publishers, indie authors and selling platforms in the e-world, and it’s still a long way from resolution. That, is both opportunity and threat to indie authors.
So why am I starting a blog – in a crowded field?
Of course I have a vested interest. I want to see quality triumph in whatever form, and all that reading has built up in me, all my life, a desire to publish stories of my own. How to do it; where to go?
Well. I’m going to put work out on this blog, just for you to read. I hope you like it and take the time to let me know if you do.
See where we go…
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