Friday, December 2, 2011

You (used) to have mail

Just watched "You've got mail" with the previously quite adorable Meg Ryan and always loveable (to women at least) Tom Hanks. (why do men HATE Tom Hanks so much?!?)

So it got me to thinking about all the things that have changed since this supposedly era defining film was released.

* Big super store putting small personal but obviously much more expensive shop out of business.

Ok. This happens. It happened when we were all rich but we wanted more stock and we wanted more STUFF like coffee and muffins AND books at the same time. It also happens in small villages where a big shopping centre with a roof and free parking opens up out of town and suddenly your rainy parking officer infested main street becomes a pain in the butt. Then it becomes a dog shit footpathed, pound shop & thrift store boarded up wasteland.
However, when was the last time you went into Easons/Borders/Angus&Robertson to ask if your favourite author had anything new, and was told "no, but if you like her you will love this because it's the same style/genre" ?

Long time heh? Unless of course you have long deserted Easons/Hughes&Hughes/Barnes&Noble for Amazon. Where a computer suggests what you might like.(and rarely gets it right!)


Conclusion: my local village still has an independent bookshop. I make sure I buy stuff there. I often pay a few euro more- but if they don't have it they order it in and they don't charge me postage. And I can't get a book signed and stalk/annoy/question my favourite author on Amazon.
(incidentally, all the big book stores are now in deep shit because of Amazon/Kindle)

* Email!
20 years ago. Okay, 25 years ago I finished High School and moved to London. I kept in touch with family and school friends by writing letters. I was lonely, I missed home and I poured my heart out on paper, week after week.
One of those friends came over to London and she told me she kept my letters, because they formed a kind of narrative. I've lost touch with her, and I doubt she still has them but if she did I probably couldn't bear to read them. But they are an historical document of an 18 year old from a provincial Australian town moving to London with no money, no qualifications but a lot of chutzpah and working to live.
5 years ago I opened up a new correspondence with another old school friend by Email. We hadn't spoken in 20 years. We were best friends, then fell out (over my intense swottieness during the last year of high school) and we had gone our separate ways.
But once "reunited" by that olde website "friends reunited" - ironically put out of business by "The Facebook" - we emailed DAILY. Sometimes even more than that with emails going back & forth so quickly that it was like a conversation - and then we would even gmail chat. All while I sat upstairs with my laptop putting Gracie to bed, and my best friend reunited sat at his work desk on the other side of the world.

I haven't spoken to this dear friend for 9 months. When I started blogging, I did both. Bit of blog writing, bit of emailing. Then more blog. Then it was "social media" tweeting and facebooking and "micro-blogging"
I started my own business. I started to use social media as part of that and blogging began to fade. When I had a thought that I used to spend a whole evening writing about & sharing, I would just put it into 140 characters and spend the rest of the evening directly engaging about it.
Emailing was dead (except for work)
Blogging was dead (except for profound but rare posts like this ...*gag*)

One new thing pushes another thing aside and....

Albums become Tapes. Tapes become CDs. CDs become Mp3s and the arse falls out of the music industry.
Bookshops become Amazon and eBay. Real books become Kindles. Kindles don't go anywhere because they don't take up beautiful rich and telling space in a bookshelf. Or get donated to your local MAIN STREET charity shop to be bought, by me, for a dollar.

Where is our oral history in this? When the lights go out, the apocalypse comes and we are left fighting over a can of peaches while the geeks try and get us back on the grid, What are we going to do of an evening if there is no electricity? How we gonna recharge our kindle/nook/iPad/tablets?
How we gonna entertain ourselves with no internets/facetweets/YouTube+ to engage our short attention spans?

I think we will tell stories. Stories about ourselves. Stories we read in a book once. Stories we watched maybe.. I know a great story about 6 friends who lived in New York and they had great hair and 2 of them were in love, but they were on a break... Oh wait. That's not my story.

I guess I will tell my story. I'll listen to yours, and when I meet new people and we can share a can of peaches I'll tell them both our stories.

Our stories will sustain.

Xx

11 comments:

Petunia said...

Had this conversation with Ms K the other day about books and kindles. You really can't beat the smell of a good book though and the feeling of the pages under your fingertips. I'll keep buying the paper version til the time comes they stop printing them. Its been a LONG time since I wrote a letter. Might actually surprise someone this Christmas with one. Lovely post as usual missus xx

Sockitmama said...

I really loved that movie, but now that I think about it years later...how can she fall for the man who put her out of business?

Have you seen "French Kiss" with Meg Ryan? It's one of my favorite films.

Me said...

I'm no fan of Tom Hanks. Ive also long suspected I have a hormone imbalance, perhaps too much testosterone?

Anyhoo great post.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

One of the things that made me cry the most when my Dad died was a beautiful letter from the lady who used to help look after him...it was very special and I will be able to keep it forever. Yet I now write only 1-2 letters a year. I haven't converted to Kindles and I still read a newspaper made of paper. I didn't know that blogs were passe though! I love twitter but it doesn't fulfill my need to write. Anyway really enjoyed this so please don't give up blogging completely x

GenLeeSpecific said...

First time reader of your blog. Love the sincere way you right, just like a conversation.
Kindles: No, No, NO! Even though I hate dog ears and bookmarks I will always want the feel of the paperbook in my hand - Hopefully the Kindle will go the way of the Mini-Disc player (Remember those?)
@Socketmama - Tha's what love will do to ya! :P

jazzygal said...

Thought provoking my dear...and oh so true!

I miss your blogging.

I like all the quick texts, tweets and fb messaging and use email rather than writing letters. I was a big letter writer too. I have a small bundle of letters from (threw out the tomes I wrote to him!) a friend who lived in Germany about 22 years ago. He died there, very suddenly at 27 years old. So good to still have those letters...

xx Jazzy

Truf said...

Aha, so that is why you blog so rarely these days?! Never managed the switch to twitter... I suspect the Kindle is on its way out, since I bought an ereader a few weeks ago. Usually any purchase of "new" technology by me is the death knell for said technology (check cd players and flat screen tvs).
I also hate Tom Hanks. He is cheesy.
xxx

lisadom Grace App said...

Truf: I've had to write so much lately or the various judging panels in award applications it drains me a bit. Xx
Jazzy: I still send cards by snail mail but my handwriting is awful!
Gen: I've been covering a kindle, purely for the sake of having many books to hand when traveling light. I would still buy the hard copy xx
Candi: a letter like that was healing I hope xx

Socket: yes it's strange, and yes I liked French Kiss xx
(for Kevin Kline)

Me: did you like Castaway?

Petunia: please do write a letter. It will be worth keeping xx

lisadom Grace App said...

Truf: I've had to write so much lately or the various judging panels in award applications it drains me a bit. Xx
Jazzy: I still send cards by snail mail but my handwriting is awful!
Gen: I've been covering a kindle, purely for the sake of having many books to hand when traveling light. I would still buy the hard copy xx
Candi: a letter like that was healing I hope xx

Socket: yes it's strange, and yes I liked French Kiss xx
(for Kevin Kline)

Me: did you like Castaway?

Petunia: please do write a letter. It will be worth keeping xx

lisadom Grace App said...

Truf: I've had to write so much lately or the various judging panels in award applications it drains me a bit. Xx
Jazzy: I still send cards by snail mail but my handwriting is awful!
Gen: I've been covering a kindle, purely for the sake of having many books to hand when traveling light. I would still buy the hard copy xx
Candi: a letter like that was healing I hope xx

Socket: yes it's strange, and yes I liked French Kiss xx
(for Kevin Kline)

Me: did you like Castaway?

Petunia: please do write a letter. It will be worth keeping xx

Me said...

If I ever saw Castaway and I doubt it. No!