It’s been brought to my attention I’ve neglected my blog. While I once posted at least once a week or so, sometimes more, in the last couple of months there’s been more time spent on writing fiction than posting online. There’s a few things I’ve been working on:
Pine View: The story of a group of survivors in Brooks County Georgia trying to rebuild a society after the human population has been all but wiped out by creatures from another dimension. A tale of hardship, farming, and how things are going to be, if civilization ends. It’s a novel sized story, and I’ve been working on it for a while now.
Laster’s Bridge: A Bluegrass band from Valdosta Georgia heads to Canada to crash a party for the very rich and exclusive, hoping to play one good song in front of a well to do audience. A sudden storm strands them on a bridge, and a bear shows up. Deep in the Canadian wilderness, who can survive in a lonely cabin with few supplies?
Switch: A frat boy with a lot of money and toys, and a penchant for drugging women in order to rape them, gets cursed by a witch. He now has her body and her life, and she had his. How does it feel to be a poor woman in a society ran by men? He’s going to find out, and he isn’t going to like it much.
Then there’s the long range, long term projects that I’ve had around for a while that I won’t get into right now.
Overall, I’ve been writing more these days. I’ve been spending less time online than I once did. However, this blog has been operating since 2006, and I guess I ought to keep it updated more than I do.
Also, I am experimenting with the old Bondi font. It’s from the 1700’s and you’ll notice the difference right away.
To me, writing has been a constant companion. When I was a child, I read many books, as many as I could, and as I grew older I recognized good writing and better writing, versus that which might have been placed to page without any real thought. It’s not easy to write, and it’s hard to write well. Writing is work. It’s an effort to translate thought, smoothly and coherently, into words other human beings might be able to understand in a manner the writer was attempting to convey.
In the beginning, I suspect writing was instructive, or used in accounting. This is the way that is done, or this person had that much barley put into the royal granary. But writing then evolved into this sort of thing, with one person drawing from the human mind words and thoughts that others might understand for its own sake. Writing had become part of the human experience as well as reading. If someone were to sit me down and tell me I could only have one hundred book for the rest of my life, it might take a while to decide which ones, but I could come up with one hundred that would last a lifetime.
When the internet became what it was, early on, I really and truly thought it would be a haven for writers, and those who liked to read. I never foresaw it would become a shouting match for the ignorant and the downright stupid, and popularity depended not so much on skill and content, but volume and noise.
Writing was once a revered skill, practiced and protected, by those who loved it. The keyboard has released many whose handwriting might be less than perfect, my own is barely legible, yet it has also made poor writing easier. It’s made writing errors more acceptable and I cannot help but wonder why. The tools are available to ensure writing is cleanly written, yet there are those who blow right past style and usage in the name of brevity.
When a person sits down to write, they should engage the same sort of intent used in building a bookshelf or a birdhouse, at a minimum. The edges should match, it should be level, and the design should be given some thought. Any fool can nail boards together in a manner than suggests carpentry but can a book rest upon wood and settle there with grace? Can a bird nest and bring forth generations of their kind? Writing should inspire others to read, and to write, and therefore it is very much like a birdhouse, where the egg of the craft is nested.
These days, it’s more popular to write like a drunken five year old with a substance abuse problem. Writing is use to provoke rather than to lead to thought. Writers now try to tell people what they are thinking rather than to lead them to think. Worse, in modern fiction, the leaning is towards so much dialog, most fiction might as well be written as plays. Gone are the vast swaths of text that describe in detail the setting, the scene, the mood, or the journey within the minds of characters.
Yet the New World of the internet is new. There is still time, and still hope, that a tool used as a bludgeon, might yet be refined into a stylus, to begin the new craft in freshly formed clay. There is still the dream of young people escaping not into the world of electronic games, but their own minds, where they might bring forth a generation of writing from the perspectives of those who will inherit the earth.
Nothing ever is born or dies, but is changed in some way, perhaps unrecognizable, yet it still exists, if nowhere else but the human mind. Reading will always be with us, certainly, but it has to change and be changed, by the idea that thought can be critical and must be. Writing, forever altered by the screen, will evolve also, in what form I cannot guess, but perhaps there will be a Renaissance of sorts, where there are great books written, and read, for an audience suddenly hungry for intelligent thought.