‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Monday, January 3, 2011

landing paper airplanes

Years ago I had my tarot cards read at a party. I did it because the friend we were with really really needed to break up with her boyfriend. We figured if she heard it from a mystic authority, she'd listen to reason. So I went first to show her how spiffy fun it was.

I was writing a book at the time (I have been writing a book since the fifth grade), so I asked when it would be finished.

Imagine my surprise at finding there was no novel in my cards. There were, however, lots of little things. She asked if I published pamphlets or small inspirational stories. I had no idea what she was talking about.

It has recently occurred to me that the pamphlets she saw may have been blog posts and articles. These wouldn't happen for at least 10 years, so she must have had excellent distance vision.

While I still hope to get a book finished, I've started to wonder if books are going the way of albums. Yes, people sit down and read a book from beginning to end, but more and more, they are carrying around snippets. They have songs in their iPods and blogposts in their readers.

I imagine literary mix tapes aren't far behind. Perhaps they're already happening and I, having not smashed anyone's heart to smithereens lately, have not been given one.

By the time I get my novel out there, it will be like "hey! my album just came out on 8-track!" Which is not to say it won't be awesome.

On New Year's Eve I met two long-time Trout readers. One had told me she might be there, but the other popped up quite unexpectedly. It's impossible to accurately describe how surreal that is. The idea of people reading what I post is an amorphous swirl of "well isn't that nice" that doesn't quite seem real. It's like after years of reconciling Santa as a metaphysical concept, he shows up and introduces himself.

Knowing that real people who I can see (and other people can see, too) are reading what I write gave these words a tangible place to land. They are no longer floating out in the ether. They've been caught and held onto long enough for someone to be curious about where they came from.

Which made me wonder if I may eventually wind up on a literary mix tape.

I can think of no greater honor.


Donna said...

I used to want to be a fine artist and have my painting in art galleries, and now I'm designing websites for a living... Not that this relates, exactly, but it's something to do with the Internet and how it has changed things...

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Good thing I have all those comments you left on my site saved--it's like having letters (talk about almost-extinct forms of communication . . .) from, like, Emily Dickinson before she was famous.

Or something.

P.S. How are your chickens doing? Anymore problems with bald butts?

Emily Chickinson said...

Donna - exactly. It's just not the forum we expected.

Kristin - It's too bad I'll have to be dead for such a very, very long time until I'm famous. I think one also has to be dead a long time before one is turned into an action figure. And thank you for asking about my chicken butts. They are remarkably well-feathered this winter. Yours?

Cheryl said...

Emily Chickenson/erica m. szuplat? Who are you and what did you do with that bloody fool Trout Towers?

Books published on real paper are on the way out (not in my house) and the electronic versions will be around forevah. You'll just need to reformat your work in progress every year or so to stay current technologically. Kinda like changing the ribbon on your typewriter.

Jett said...

PF=literary mixtape
(and lately I have been on a geezery bent to correct all the youngers --by youngers I mean hipster thirty-year-olds-- who say 'mixed tape')