Archive for September, 2010

I’ll be posting periodically about a favorite topic of mine – electronic reading devices, electronic books, and how they are fundamentally altering publishing and writing. Many major aspects of this topic, including e-reading devices and technologies and the business implications, already are thoroughly covered in many publications. I’ll focus on how e-reading might change the act and character of writing, especially on what we can term “immersive” writing (narrative prose, either fiction or non-fiction). I’ll speculate more than a bit, since the technology and products are so new, but think I can make some initial conclusions and project a little bit into the future.

We are in a transitional stage. Today, e-reading technologies and e-readers (the people, not the devices) will benefit from, or even require, format-specific writing composition. However, as readers continue to migrate to electronic platforms and technology evolves, I foresee the evolution of an, “E-Reader Manual of Style.” Every other writing format, print or electronic, develops its own style and usage standards. Why shouldn’t prose written for e-readers?



When I write, I am often inspired by the Trickster, that ancient archetypal mischief-maker. In whatever form he takes, the Trickster clowns and thieves, but he as often crosses boundaries, breaks rules, disrupts the status-quo, and challenges gods and powers and beliefs. The Trickster’s misdeeds are rarely crimes but rather acts of playfully intelligent trouble. We humans have always created and been drawn to Trickster figures because we also are compulsive rule- and boundary-makers. We endlessly categorize the world – and ourselves – by race, sex, beliefs, behavior, geography, and thousands of other criteria. And yet the more we define ourselves and our lives by rules and forces and classifications, the more we need the relief of figures who mash-up categories, traverse the borders, and confuse our careful distinctions.

Thus, paraphrasing the immortal Gordon Gekko, mischief is good. And mischief is fun.

Now, I’m no anarchist and far from radical. Hobbes had it right in saying that without communal laws and agreements, our state of existence would be really wretched. Further, beliefs seem to me like air for our souls. However, even the best rules and beliefs need questioning, and some need outright defiance. Rules and beliefs are ultimately creations of humanity, and thus will often be as imperfect as we are. A lot of them need to be challenged in our institutions or in the streets, but I’ve frankly never been a very effective Trickster in either. They’re also really tough venues for storytelling. But in realm of the imagination, well, here I can clown, challenge and explore the sacred and accepted, entertain, and, just maybe, change some minds. Here I can make some mischief.

So welcome to my little outpost on that ever-fluid horizon between art and trash, known and unknown, assumed and proven and imagined, and the sacred and profane.


Posted: September 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

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