• Michael Parker

Back to the future.

This could be my last blog entry for a while. This time next week we will be travelling up to Bilbao to catch the boat back to England. Technically we’ll be homeless until we have handed over the money for our Park Home at Pagham (West Sussex). It means no Wi-Fi for a while, but like a lot of people of our age (me and Pat), we have travelled thousands of miles over the years without Wi-Fi, mobile phones, tablets, laptops and all that modern paraphernalia. We will still have our mobile phones with us of course, so we won’t be completely isolated. Something we noticed when we travelled to Australia a couple of years ago was the fast disappearance of public call boxes. No doubt they will become a thing of the past. As technology moves forward and leaves the past behind, a lot of us mourn the passing of the old days but would probably not welcome them back. I would not like to go back to writing novels on a typewriter, even with a correction ribbon in place. And as for carbons: God forbid! But thinking back to the tapping rhythm of the typewriter keys and the zip of the carriage return, I harbour a kind of masochistic desire for those days. I think it’s because it made the acceptance of a novel by the publisher a rewarding triumph after the drudge of bashing away in a lonely corner somewhere. Modern indie writers cannot possibly know that feeling: they can never live the sheer joy of receiving the acceptance letter from the publisher. Publishing a novel now is a fact of life that turns us all into writers. Anybody can pen a story, good or bad, and publish it in Amazon. They become instant writers. Just add water and stir. There’s a kind of metronomic output with some of the writers I’ve come across on various forums. They promote their next series of first time novels that they have yet to complete and invite readers to log on to their blog and sign up for the newsletter, behaving like established writers. And it’s all down to modern technology. So what’s the next step? Who knows? But the fun, the joy and, (dare I say it?) the creativity needed to produce quality will be missing, and this can only be to the detriment of the published word. One day youngsters will seek instant gratification through apps on their mobiles and tablets, apps that will be produced by wizard technology that probably doesn’t exist yet, and books will confined to the dusty shelves of old houses and bookshops. So when me and Pat are finally settled in our new home at Pagham, I will get on with writing and publishing on Amazon because that’s the only way to go for so many writers today. Unless I manage to get my novel finished and accepted by my publisher! Wish me luck.

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