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Literary Notes from the Blue of Mountains

It is what you make it to be.....

"Dying each others life, living each others death..." Heraclitus

Ten years before the Net, sometimes up in the crows-nest and other times down in the brig. But there.

Two large and general ways the Net effects writing and the writer:

  • The writer is transformed into an editor since the writer, along with the librarian, is one of the most resourceful creatures on the planet. The technologists think the machines will do it all but they are quite wrong. The machines need discipline. Machines can add value but they take it away just as fast. Think of e-mail and the pains it extracts these days.
  • Two forms of writing dominate on the Net. One of them is copywriting and the other is poetry. And by poetry I don't mean broken up lines of text. I mean the poetic discipline to take a large glob of writing and make it efficient and precise so each work delivers its full load.

Prose is better done in print. And the print world is going to hang around for quite awhile. But since the Net will be (if not already) the main means of communication, the modes I described above will be the writing-of-choice.

The Net is a fully transitional media that will not see the light of its own destiny for a few generations. Print may turn out to be a savior. The "tragedy of the commons" will ruin the Internet to some extent. It will drown the uncritical people and discredit them to the future. But it is a wonderful space to pick over a few rich seeds, pocket them, and use them for better things.

Even after ten years I am gaga over the Net but in a sober and intelligent way. The initiating laughter, as one is swallowed by the Beast, is at the expense of good sense, money, energy, and other necessary qualities. These are rescued when the initiated runs into a thick wall in the panopticom that the Net seemingly becomes. After all, the Intenet is not the valley of Yosemite, threatened for decades by the endless caravan of site-seers. It is the vehicle that brings the site-seers in. It is not the moon. It is the vehicle that brought a camera to the moon.

The Net reminds me of poetry in this sense: It looks easy but is very difficult to use for your benefit.

August 25, 2007

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