As soon as I learn it, it’s time to forget it.
January 26, 2016
I AM NOT and have never been a child of technology.
When I was born, Edison was still testing the electric light. Even now, when I flip the light switch I exhaust all knowledge of electricity.
I turn the key in the ignition, and the car runs. I understand that some of you don’t even turn the key anymore. You simply push a button, which is a brilliant innovation of twenty-first century technology that we first used back in the 1950s.
So why am I immersed in the technology of publishing.
It’s all about social media.
Build a brand, they say.
Build a platform, they say.
Build your name, they say.
But it’s all new and confusing to me.
I do it, but I have no idea what I’m doing.
I hope it works.
I have no idea if it’s working.
I sometimes feel as though we are all treading water until the breakthrough finally comes along and pulls us all to the next level where we can actually connect with book buyers and, God forbid, even sell a few books.
When I look at the changing trends in technology, I am reminded of the old story told years ago by the wonderful comedian, Brother Dave Gardner.
If you remember him, he was a treasure. If you don’t, his old albums have been converted to CDs, and you can still find them on Amazon or ebay. They’re worth whatever they cost.
Said Brother Dave: a little Southern town woke up one morning, and everyone walked out of their homes and saw a big billboard rising above the businesses. In big, bold letters, it said: IT’S A COMING.
No one knew.
A few days later, they saw a new billboard that proclaimed in big, bold letters: IT’S ON ITS WAY.
No one could figure out what it was.
But they couldn’t wait to see it.
On Sunday, the billboard was screaming in big, bold letters: IT’S ALMOST HERE.
The town was in a frenzy.
People couldn’t sleep.
They didn’t want to miss it.
On Wednesday, the billboard said in big, bold letters: IT WILL BE HERE AT TWO O’CLOCK SATURDAY AFTERNOON AT THE DOWNTOWN MAJESTIC THEATER. TICKETS ON SALE AT THE DOOR.
Only three days to wait.
It wouldn’t be long now.
They gathered for Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting to thank the Good Lord because he had allowed them to live long enough see it.
Saturday morning, the town awoke early.
People came downtown while the sun was still struggling to climb above the tree tops. They lined up at the box office at the Majestic, bought their tickets, and jammed their way into the little theater.
It was dark.
But then, movie houses were always dark.
Anticipation gripped them like a fever.
The theater was packed.
On some rows, there were two sitting in the same seat.
No one cared.
It was coming.
It had arrived.
It was here.
And the curtain slowly rose and, in the middle of the stage, there was a sign aglow in the light of a single bulb.
The letters were big.
They were bold.
The people strained to read it.
They stood to read it.
And what did they read?
The sign left no doubt.
IT’S GONE, it said.
I sometimes feel that’s the world in which I live. By the time I figure out one strange new piece of technology, it’s gone, another has taken its place., and I’m back to square one.
I spend a lot of time in square one.
I’m not even sure if the square is square anymore.
My latest novel is Night Side of Dark.