Monday, August 23, 2010

The future of books.

Electronic books save on paper. Are they really greener?   There is still controversy on this. Trees are a renewable resource. Yet, electronic books do not use up landfills, unless they become unusable. That, of course, would happen at a much slower rate than physical books. At the same time, I cannot envision a world without books. My son loves the "ology" Pirateology, Dragonology, Egyptology, where he can open and discover wonderful pictures and hidden treasures. He and I both enjoy the art of pop-up books. There are some very creative books on the market which combine the written word with art. Would an electronic book truly reproduce the beautiful "table" art books available? I wonder if a future reader would truly appreciate Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" on a 3 to 7 inch screen? For this purpose I am assuming the screen is in full color. (Currently Amazon's Kindle is not, although it's just a matter of time until it is.)  Imagine, if you will, a city wide blackout. I have experienced this many times. What will you do with an electronic reader once the batteries are exhausted. If you do not have a car where you can recharge it, you cannot read. Even a solar powered reader will lose its charge at night after time. Not everyone will be able to afford an e-reader. What about the poor child whose family cannot provide such a device? Would he be lost without the paper book, which he can borrow from a library? One can only assume that the library will loan out e-readers. Even so, we can refer back to the whole power supply issue.    
     I truly believe that there is a place for both electronic books and paper books. Of course, we need to have paper books for reading. Here's someone who is using books for a house. Electronic books are not going to go away. We might as well accept this. Yet, I am reminded of H.G. Well's story The Time Machine, where the main character goes to the future only to discover the demise of books. He is shocked at the sight of books which crumble to his touch. Then there is Fahrenheit 451 where individuals memorize books in order to preserve them in a world of book destruction. I understand that e-books preserve information. However, they can be erased. They can be unreadable during a power outage when the batteries have died. They cannot be touched, shelved or admired as a creative object. I believe the physical book is an art form which deserves to be preserved. I remember a time when people were aghast at the ideal of vinyl albums disappearing. They said it would never happen. Alas, despite the opposition, it did, indeed happen. There was a time when those in the radio business were convinced that television would never last. Again, it lasted and over took the radio shows of the day. This is the way civilization evolves. Someday, we will no longer have CD's with music. Eventually, all music will be digital only. It seems hard to believe to those who have yet to cross over to the digital music age.  There will always be impoverished individuals who would have no access to technological advances. The physical book can be found in libraries, in second hand shops and be given out to the needy. Technology needs to be maintained, which some people simply cannot do. I truly hope, for the sake of future generations, that civilization leaves room for both types of books.

Monday, August 16, 2010


     People who constantly have bad luck tend to see things in a different way. They see life as a string of negative experiences. They wear the badge of despair for the whole world to see. Sometimes they even compete with others for "I have it worse than you" scenarios. Then, conversely, there are those who think they are better than others. They compete for "Mine is better than yours" situations. One thing these types of people have in common is the "self-fulfilling prophecy" phenomenon. Their lives will reflect their outlooks. It is rare to see the person who is content, no matter what happens. These people put their focus on what they want instead of what they don't want. These same people will find that life delivers what they put their focus on. They do not compare themselve to others. They just do what makes them happy.
      It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. I see people who love to begin a sentence with "if only" or "yeah, but". They infer that their dreams are impossible. Then, of course, they are. Then there are those who walk toward their dreams. If they fall down, they get back up and walk again, even if it is in a different direction. They savor the journey and realize their goals. Once realized they create new journeys and new goals. They are happier than those who savor the worst case scenarios. They may even experience similar situations. However, they know it isn't the situation but how you react to it.
     We are all residents on this planet which resides within the Milky Way Galaxy. Standing back and looking at the whole picture can make all the difference in the world. I used to think all of my problems were caused by others or circumstances beyond my control. Now I realize, in hindsight, I was the creator of my life. I made choices that I didn't have to make. I despaired over situations instead of looking for better scenarios. I made my life choices. At the same time, I am a product of those choices. Sometimes it takes something negative in order to help you see something positive. Opposites can teach and can give you perspective. I applaud those who can stand up, brush themselves off, and move on...with a smile on their face. Life doesn't have to be as difficult as we make it out to be. Here's to perspective. Live it, write about it and get to know it.   

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MirrorMask: “If I Apologized”

Sometimes a song can put life in perspective. Sometimes a lyric can inspire. I now think of someone, who is gone but not forgotten, when I hear "Blackbird" by the Beatles. I find music relaxing, inspiring, motivating or just plain fun. Different types of music is essential for different types of moods. The music below was written for the movie "Mirrormask". It is reflective, yet hauntingly poetic. The enticing instrumental blend is pleasantly melodic. Although the lyrics might have resonated more with my younger self, it is still evocative. This is a personal observation. Everyone has music that they can respond to, depending on their moods. Music can be a wonderful mood enhancer when life seems a bit oppressive. Many artists use music to create by. Here's to the beautiful melody in all its evocative forms. 

If I apologized
it wouldn’t make it all unhappen
wouldn’t make the darkness go away
If I apologized
it wouldn’t mean I was forgiven
wouldn’t mean you wanted me to stay
it’s a dream
when you seem
to be walking into the sun
we’re on first
and we still don’t know what we've done
so we don’t say anything.
If I apologized
I don’t suppose you’d even notice
even though I’d whisper it inside
If I apologized
we could be the perfect couple
Well we could, but only in my mind
if you ask
for the mask
then we’re stumbling on through the dark
But we wait
it’s too late
And we only had to be asked
so we don’t say anything.
It couldn’t hurt to try it
It couldn’t hurt too much to try
It’s there beyond the quiet
it couldn’t hurt too much to fly…

Here's a link to the song's author discussing it. 
Here's another link to songs which were inspired by the classics.