March 07, 2015
Where'd it go? Have you seen it?
I read a piece yesterday by an author who advised fellow writers to "abandon their literary dignity" and pen racy page turners. In fact, she went on to say (and I'm paraphrasing) that print readers were more intellectual than Kindle readers. That writers should go so far as to pen two versions of their books—one for those smarty-pants print readers and the other for the groundling Kindlers.
I thought about the interview most of yesterday. Because I have this gut feeling that the way we read will constantly change and evolve. But that the words are what matter.
Whether you're reading words on paper, on a Kindle, on a note I slipped under your door, on a bathroom wall, in a comic book, on a billboard, on this blog (ha), the words have a chance to resonate, to linger, to get under your skin.
That is, if we writers do our job correctly.
My relationship with words is complicated.
• I have favorite words.
• I edit words.
• My words are edited.
• I dream about thousands of words.
When I started writing, I wrote for magazines, newspapers, 'zines and ultimately print publishing houses. Now, I am actually able to write mostly for myself. That is the power of the ebook (and the internet).
I don't know if I believe the studies referenced in the article. But I do personally know many ebook readers. They're intellectual. They read Shakespeare, romance, books on algebra, plays, Bukowski, pulp fiction, non-fiction, and porn. Basically—they read everything.
But there's more to the piece that I didn't like. Clearly, the author doesn't think much of racy—or page-turners. Because why on earth would you have to abandon your literary dignity to write one? We all have our dignity. The definition of the word? "The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect."
Are you a writer? You get to have that. Dignity, my friend, is yours.
I'm not linking to the piece. All you have to do is type in "abandon your dignity" and it comes up.
But this reminds me of another rant I—yes—ranted, several years ago.
P.S. Why did I have such a strong response to this? Because it pushes my buttons. I don't like when writers divide and point fingers. It feels too highschool to me. "You can't sit with us, because you're pulp. We're lit." Or "We don't like you, because you write smut, and we write historical." I don't care what you write. You can sit at my table in the cafeteria and we'll share french fries and words.