Posts Tagged ‘#questions #heuresment’
That title definitely caught my attention! It was a sub-section in a bigger article; Literature, Plugged In: Brooklyn-based Electric Literature envisions a robust market for fiction By Andy Hunter available here but it pretty much pushed all the other stuff aside as I thought about the truth behind the statement. Are books dead? And why isn’t that affecting literature?
I was in the University of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library a few days ago, I was supposed to return a book I mistakenly borrowed [my #Project2011 is to read books by Kenyan authors but I happen to find books by West African, South African...ok basically writers outside of Kenya more often than not. Well in any case the book ‘The story of a non-marrying man and other stories' by Doris Lessing was in the African authors section and a quick Google search had me mistakenly think she was a South African author *_*…long story short, I was back to return the book because as much as I enjoyed it I really had to read a book by an African author and do my first book report already!!!]
*OK SO BACK TO THE ORIGINAL IDEA OF THIS POST*
The Library is HUGE! And as I settled into a surprisingly comfortable seat on the third floor to finish up on a few stories, I began to wonder if all the books in the library had actually been read, at the very least opened and thumbed through even once in all the time the library has been in existence. I think not. And isn’t that scary? That knowledge lies dormant, undiscovered, unchallenged? Why? And what does that mean for us who are in the business of writing? Ok, so the copies of the books are not just in this one library, of course they are scattered across the globe and there has to be at least a handful or more who have read them. But it still begs the question, how often? How many? And more importantly why aren’t there more people?
But as I came to discover after reading the passage, the act of picking up a book may be in decline but the unquenchable thirst for knowledge is not lost. Lets just say the tap has changed into a water bottle.
As the author sees it, the novel’s value has not changed because nothing captures the quality of consciousness like fiction. Only a great novel can make you truly feel what it is like to be someone else, alive in a different place and time. Literature exercises our empathy, salves our loneliness, and helps us learn how to live. Without Flaubert, Balzac, Dostoyevski, and Joyce, our understanding of human psychology would be greatly impoverished.
What doesn’t really matter, though, is how people choose to read…what matters is that people still choose to read!
Literature is important; the choice of paper or plastic is not. For hundreds of years, the best way to transmit complex information was to cut down a tree, pulp it, stain symbols onto the flattened pulp, bind it together, and distribute it. Industries grew to support that process. That is no longer the best way to transmit information, and paper books will inevitably evolve into objects and collectors’ items. Text, on the other hand, only becomes more useful with technology.
The author argues that the ability to search, link and share digital text is what will save the day. That in time textbooks and manuals may become dynamic, with text, video, and interactive elements in discrete modular units that can be recombined in configurations that suit a task or course. For instance memoirs can include home movies, photo albums, and perfect copies of diaries and letters. Nonfiction can contain pertinent documentation, news articles, and broadcasts.
Basically with such innovations as the Kindle and more recently the iPad [and Rupert Murdock’s soon to be iPad only newspaper] the written word will not die, it will just go digital. Exciting news for budding writers who are already shoring up our digital text with images and links through our blogs anyway! [case in point this post..yaaaay!] And isn’t it exciting to think that all we need is marketing because even if not everyone can afford a smart phone, WAP-enabled phones are becoming more and more common-place so all we need is to put the reader onto our blogs and other sites?
However, the author warns that in an atmosphere of distraction it is we who must make the conscious choice of prioritizing literature. We must seek out sites that will enhance our understanding and appreciation for the written word. Special mention to publishing house Story Moja . Incidentally, I ended up going home with Madam Doris’s book, it was unputdownable! Doris Letting didn’t win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for Literature for nothing!
So today I’m planning on heading back to the library, perhaps I’ll borrow [fingers crossed] Coming to Birth by Marjorie Oludhe-Macgoye because for some of us the Kindle and iPad are still out of reach but access to that stiff yet yielding paper full of clever ‘magic’ isn’t. That is, until my ID is revoked! Yikes! But that’s another story for another day.
comes and goes
that flares up
a searing heat
from the mind
a damp coolness
over the heart
balancing things that she saw
palms riddled with broken life lines
all that lies broken
is that thing
that has become
nothing at all.
This has been a good year,professionally at least. I got an internship in April and as at December I had both a promotion and better prospects in the coming year. That is a big step in the right direction and I am fortunate to work in an exciting and highly creative space.
I sold two short stories courtesy of StoryMoja and I also came second place in a ‘Vignette’ short story competition run on their blog. Anyone who knows me knows how much I hate competition,so to come out among the best is a feat that I take both joy and pride in. Oh and they added my profile to their list of writers
I had my first one-woman poetry show and also performed on telly. Another thing about me is that I hate the limelight. Sure I enjoy it but only when I control it so to be in a situation where I had to give myself over to ‘their’ control…hard but rewarding.
You see,midway through this year I claimed it as the Year of the WRITER since as the ‘Year of the Tiger’ it would be marked by bravery and confidence in pursuing goals. Traits which I willingly admitted were not part of who I am but that I wanted to claim. And I’m proud to say I met my goals!
Personal achievements? Well, I think maintaining this blog ranks waaay up there. I’m not big on sharing and the critique and/or compliments that come with it. I am conservative and tend to take either things too personally. That said, its lovely to have a place to call my own,to dream and doodle in.
But this has been a trying year emotionally to the extent that it affected my *ironic use of term * ‘love affair with words’. I made bold steps and declarations to try and find my mojo but I hadn’t factored in the whole ‘I am human’ bit. Its hard to accept that going back on our resolves is not a sign of weakness and naivety but really an acceptable part of life. We are not perfect. We can only aspire to be the best versions of ourselves in the full realization of our shortcomings. As things stand, I think I’ve realized that my biggest asset is speaking my mind honestly.
To sum up this ‘year in perspective’ post I feel I should share a few other things since they also rank as achievements to me.
I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo. I had an idea for both design and position. I’ve also always wanted to paint and graffiti my room. I told myself that I must achieve these two goals this year. Oh how I talked and talked and theorized about this! Until one day I just ‘kasirikad’ and got things done…Funny thing is that I ended up getting two tattoos,the second one being the very word I wanted graffiti’d on my wall! And the graffiti I do intend to have ‘up’ is more amazing than I could have ever dreamed. Oh and as for the tattoos I basically got them for free when the 1st one got botched.
So here I am close to the year’s end, looking back at all its promises and hidden lessons and all I can think is…’You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need’!!!
I’d like to thank you for all the love and support shown through this blog and elsewhere. God Bless! May 2011 bring us all greater achievements.