Thursday 13 October 2011

Something Lost?

I found this posted on a recent Crosscut blog by Skip Ferderber. He wrote …

There’s little doubt that the digital revolution offers all of us a far greater ability to fulfill our curiosity about our world. More of us are turning to tablets, smartphones and similar devices because we’ve grown accustomed to having the world at our fingertips. If you, like I, have fallen in love with those little gadgets that are our eyes and ears to the bounty of human knowledge, you know what I’m taking about. Try to imagine what life would be like without them. I really would rather not.

No longer is it a valuable argument to say, “Well, if you didn’t waste your time on those gadgets, you’d have time to read a book!” The reality is that many of us read more books because we can carry them with us all the time.

What is being lost, however, is a piece of our society that we’re missing terribly and haven’t yet come to realize what its loss means.

I’m talking about the loss of gathering places: the record stores, book stores, libraries and movie theaters, among others, where people met in person to see what’s new, to learn from one another, to see all their choices and come closer to each other even if it’s something as ephemeral seeing someone pulling a book off a shelf and wondering what they’re looking at.

This isn’t a reminiscence of the old days although, on one hand, it certainly qualifies as that. But it does raise the question, at least in my mind, about what portion of our society, our culture, our well-being, we could be giving up with this shift toward individual experiences and away from the common face-to-face, person-to-person sharing of humanity.

Skip has a point. I mean every author dreams of going on book tours, doing book signings, meeting readers and connecting with them on a personal level. Recently, my friend, Kevin Craig had a book launch at his favourite independent book store. I heard it was standing room only. So what’s the solution here? How do you launch an ebook, and at the same time come face-to-face with your readers? Good question, and there’s probably a ton of good answers.

But that doesn’t take away the truth in what Skip wrote – the fact that life is all about relationship – the human experience. That’s the reason why we’re all here in the first place. And that’s the reason why I write.

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