Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two things for today

1. I’ve discovered a new radio station I love. KVOD 88.1 FM is a classical music radio station that is run much like NPR—intelligently and with impeccable taste and class with donations from listeners (“like you.”) The little bit of advertising on it is about itself. The talk is about classical music and just that… no nonsense about the DJ’s trashy lifestyle or anything of the sort that makes you feel trashy for even having that station on your radio dial. These DJ’s actually KNOW classical music and talk about technical stuff pertaining to the music they’re introducing. They also have news that matters that doesn’t sound parasitic, but rather well-prepared and of good quality. Good stuff, so do give it a try if ever you get tired of the total crap on the radio.

2. Maybe we need to go back to typewriters and paper so that only the good stuff stands out. It’s too easy for crap to survive nowadays.

I recently read an interview with Stephen King in one of those magazines that come with Sunday’s newspaper. The interview was to celebrate 35 years since the publication of “Carrie,” his first best seller. In the interview, King said that if it weren’t for his wife finding the beginnings of this book in the trash, it would’ve never seen the light of day. The significance of this story is in a detail that King mentioned about how authors did things “back in those days.” He said that “Carrie” began with just four pages of single-spaced prose; back when typewriters were more common fixtures in homes than computers, hence, books were significantly shorter before computers with word processors were the norm (imagine having to rewrite, or more accurately, retype, multiple pages in their entirety, just to fix one sentence or paragraph edit.) Just like the concept that a little competition is healthy, a little fear of having to retype pages of prose can make a writer think twice about what they put down.

On another humbling and somewhat sobering note for the modern-day writer: J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his Lord of the Rings trilogy during World War II in the midst of a paper shortage. He is just one of many authors who had an abundance of words and ideas worth putting down, but a shortage of paper. Today, we have an abundance of paper and a shortage of words and ideas worth putting down. Think about that the next time you've got writer's block and a computer screen with abundant space for your work staring back at you.


Elisabeth said...

Interesting topic!

I'm for that. The democratization of all the various media out there has definitely plopped all the good stuff and diluted it in a vast ocean of crap. And it bugs me that people seem to say, "It's published, therefore it's good/art" when it was they themselves that grabbed any old piece of schlunk and put it out there without the discerning eye of an editor.

And I've also always said that having limitations on your work forces you to up the ante on your creativity. Hence early Hitchcock with the production code was absolute, magnificent genius, and post-code... naaahhh not so great. And the technological and financial difficulties that George Lucas had to circumvent made a fabulous fantasy out of the original Star Wars, but later when he could do anything he wanted? Yeah.

I also like the idea of a writer clicking away at a real typewriter.

But are you going to forgo the advantages that word processing has brought? And are you going to give up the blog and the possible opportunities it may afford you someday? Not to mention the practice it gives you in writing? How about your Intrepid Media pieces?

The democratization of media also means that talented people who may have otherwise never had any opportunities are suddenly able to get their work out to the masses.

It's tricky. There are definitely two solid sides to the argument although, even though it makes me a hypocrite (who is constantly self-publishing online) I still lean towards being against the democratization.

Reem said...

I won't forgo the advantages of word processing and I definitely have seen and reaped (on a very small scale) the benefits of being able to publish at the click of a button. It's a two-sided deal with definite pros and cons. But there is an abundance of crap BECAUSE of the ease of what is essentially self-publishing and other tools that make those who barely made it out of composition or art class, published folk.

The list is endless of tools that are causing a gradual, but fast, demise of good quality work in creative mediums. On the flipside, people like you and I know how to utilize these tools, not to put up the pretense of "I'm good because I'm published," but to further our reach to get noticed for the quality of our work. There's a difference.

So, I will continue to blog and write columns at Intrepid Media and use Microsoft Word, but it's hard to see the good stuff in the midst of an abundance of crap covering it up.