Saturday, February 19, 2011

Through the Heart

This Valentine's Day started and ended with a massacre.

At my temporary freelance job, a jolt ran though the halls after a dozen people were fired on Monday the 14th. I imagine them at their pre-paid romantic dinners handing over gifts of dark chocolate accompanied by the unromantic conversation (and often held these days) about how the middle class can survive on lost income...

I spent my lunch hour wandering through the church-like splendor of the Wall Street Borders, enjoying the feeling of books all around me, new books, with their inviting covers and sexy flap copy. The carved and gilded wooden ceiling an appropriate dome, a bookish cerebral cortex above all the thoughts captured in page. But they are going into Chapter 11... I said to the man behind the help counter, "I don't want you to go," and with deep feeling he replied "we don't want to go." But soon, they will. And with the unfolding huge shift in technology, paper books will become high end gift and art objects and the reference books, textbooks, and quick reads will be electronic. 

I came home to face death. Our cat, who has gradually been getting sicker, got to the place where there was not much good about being alive. Barely moving, she slept on my heart, her weight barely more than a blanket, her purr a dim throttle. I thanked her for the good times and petted her until the vet came to our place and with a final shot to her heart she died with eyes wide open.
Loss always echos with other losses. I miss my cat and our sixteen years together (yes, I know, I am a trope myself, middle aged writer with a cat, I know) I miss my mother and our 18 years together, and I miss Scribners, the plethora of used bookstores on 4th, the specialty Mystery bookstores, the recently closed Barnes & Noble on 67th, and all the other bookstores I have known and loved.

But books will still be read and written. I cannot be a paper Luddite. I am learning all the new web technology as fast as I can. It is like dating a fast talking mystery man...maybe at some point I'll understand what he is saying and even fall in love. My friend Flash Rosenberg has invited me to come and learn more about the possibilities of electronic books. I'd like to help her turn her cartoon art into inviting experiences on any kind of page, wood pulp or pixels. And do the same for myself with my art and words... It kills me that it is all changing. I'm sure they said the same thing when Gutenberg's presses replaced the scribes. The Book is dead, long live the Book! This is my world, goodbye and hello.

1 comment:

Brooke Richardson said...

I just learned web technology, it can't change, noooooooooooooooo.