On the future of books:
2040: Authors WillBecome Like Tamagotchi.
Having determined that what readers want is a "sense of connection," publishers will organize adopt-an-author promotions, repackaging writers along the lines of Webkinz and other imaginary pets. "Feeding" your favorite authors by buying their books will make their online avatars grow less pale and grouchy. If they starve to death on your watch you will lose social networking points. Book clubs will cultivate with their favorite writers the warm, fuzzy, organic bond a trainer develops with his or her Pokémon, a process that will culminate in staged fights-to-the-death between your author and the author sponsored by another book club. These fights will occur offline, since there will be one or two bookstores left and something has to happen there.
James Warner, Link
There are only about 10 American poets most anyone has ever heard of, and they're kinda so-so. I mean, Robert Frost? Having white hair doesn't make you a poet.
That we must either be supportive cheerleaders of the yeah yeah community kind (I find this to be the falsest. The Children of the Corn Glazed Look that comes over the faces of people who live in this place or that place when talking about the place, as if the good poems just come right up through your legs for merely walking in an American place that isn't the Grand Canyon or among the Sequoias.
Jim Behrle, Link
She claims to have no tale of woe when asked what hardships she has had to suffer through and her determination to carry on despite everything she’s known is certainly commendable. However, as strong a woman as she is, she cannot escape unscathed, forcing her to learn that love for one’s self is a challenge that is always ongoing. As for allowing one’s self to be loved by another, that takes a strength we may not even know we have and this is what JANE EYRE embodies.
Black Sheep, Link
when I walked into the venue, all I saw were people in little clumps, talking amongst themselves. I did not know how to join one of those little clumps so I sat to the side, alone, looking like the biggest freak in the universe. I wanted to die or disappear or both. I brought my iPad as a social crutch to pretend I was deeply involved with very important work. I sent an e-mail to a friend. Then I just stared at the screen and tried to figure out what to do, like if I should stay in my freak corner until it was time for my panel while everyone else was in a group or if I should awkwardly try to join a clump of people and then have to endure feeling like no one wants to talk to me and that I’m intruding. It was stressful. I almost left but there was no invisible way to manage that. This is what it’s like in my head, all the time. People think I’m aloof but no I’m literally just spending all my mental energy trying to figure out the least embarrassing way to be around other humans.
Roxane Gay, Link
In general, if a pastime is not classy, those who love it are “addicted.” Opera and poetry buffs are “passionate.”
Virtually all non-work activities have, at one time or another, been represented as craven and diseased...
Novels themselves, now the signature pursuit of the sound and literate mind, have also been considered toxic, as in the 1797 analysis, “Novel Reading, a Cause of Female Depravity.” The 18th-century worry about female literacy is not unlike the contemporary anxiety that Web use above all makes girls vulnerable to “predators”: “Without this poison instilled, as it were, into the blood, females in ordinary life would never have been so much the slaves of vice.” Taken together, these warnings against the very stuff that makes life worth living often seem either like veiled boasts (“I’m addicted to the symphony!”) or just absurd.
Virginia Heffernan, Link
I’ve always thought of the internet, then, as this other universe where fantasy is possible. And it’s true, as the old people say, that its fantasies are not like living. Better. They make it possible to live. How you feel about things that are not really happening to you on the internet is no less real than how you feel about things that are not really happening to you in Gus van Sant movies, or Band of Horses songs, or Raymond Carver stories, or Carmen, the opera, or Carmen, the ballet.
And so the feelings of internet children are less believed-in, but no less true than the feelings of everyone who preferred art and fantasy to reality in every time before.
Sarah Nicole Prickett, Link
I start to imagine, what if a writer could see, experience, feel, at the moment of writing, the lives of every single person he would ever influence with his work? What if she could know the twisted path the work would take? It's the afterlife that makes work dangerous, like a golem or a poltergeist, like the creatures a nymph turns into after she can't be a nymph anymore.
Elizabeth Bachner, Link
On watching Toy Story 3:
How do the toys deal with immortality? Does it cause them to think about time differently? After all, the only possible end to their lives would be profound mutilation like in a garbage compactor or a fire or by an abusive owner. Presumably the toys will see the last moments of our bloated red sun before it goes supernova. If they somehow get aboard an evacuating interstellar spaceship full of humans, they could be around for the heat-death of the universe. In that case, they’ll be the last living beings, floating through a cold empty void, thoughts disintegrating slowly over the millennia into utter madness.
Brad Pike, Link
Comment in response to above essay:
...We thought we were safe but we weren't. Bonnie's mother, spurred on by trendy narratives of material simplicity took it upon herself to just chuck us all in the trash. The effect upon the little girl is unknown. Still, we found ourselves back in the dump again, this time buried inescapably. Separated, unable even to converse, there was nothing we could do to retain our sanity. Buzz probably had it easiest; his finite battery life was his saving grace. I on the other hand, powered by pullstring, have no such easy way to escape consciousness.
Under the refuse of generations, I have been doomed to smolder.
I have no batteries, and I must scr-THERE'S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT
Craig Messner, Link
When I watched Toy Story 3, I kept thinking about immortality and the end of A.I. Artifical Intelligence, with little robot Haley Joel Osment and the teddy bear "living" for eternity.
Also that short story by Ray Bradbury, "There Will Come Soft Rains", with the robots doing things after a nuclear holocaust.
I like when magazines end their articles with some sign, so you know it's over, and the cat still isn't fed, or that cancer is like grossing inside a stranger as we speak, and ignorance/beer is our only mercy.
Jimmy Chen, Link