So I bought a little city (it was Galveston, Texas) and told everybody that nobody had to move, we were going to do it just gradually, very relaxed, no big changes overnight…I thought, What a nice little city, it suits me fine.
It suited me fine so I started to change it.
-Donald Barthelme, I Bought A Little City
we who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting
as a group
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift
your analyst is
in on it
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us
in announcing our
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
indeed against ourselves
but since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
then for the good of the collective
This is the hilarious article on Kindle Singles I just wrote
So you want to be a novelist, but you don’t have the time or the ability to actually write a novel, nor do you have the patience required to look for an agent or a publisher. Now there’s an app for that.
Okay, so maybe it isn’t an app, but the idea behind Amazon’s new “Kindle Single” and their self-publishing platform is making it easier than ever to be a writer.
Amazon’s new Kindle Singles are basically 10,000-30,000 word (longer than a magazine article, shorter than a novel) ramblings on pretty much anything you can imagine.
The “singles” offered, range from chapters of (un)finished novels, to essays (on pretty much any topic you can imagine) which are priced anywhere from $0.99-$4.99.
I don’t own a Kindle—nor do I even know what their “book” database looks like—but apparently they even have a section dedicated solely to Kindle Singles.
The allure of a Kindle Single hinges mostly on the short attention span of todays “e-reader”.
While we’re sitting on the subway, or perhaps munching on a day-old bagel in the park, we don’t always have time to sit down and read a novel.
Some might be inclined to say, “capital idea, Amazon! You’ve done it again!” But on closer inspection, this notion of the e-reader may just be another axe-blow into the slowly collapsing world of literature and publishing—not to mention reading.
Perhaps the most mind-boggling part about all this is the self-publishing platform.
According to one article I read (written by Larry Dignan, of zdnet.com—excuse the prestigious name-drop), “If you have an Amazon Account, you can publish a book.”
I stumbled across this line about halfway into the article—as I was doing a bit of research into the Kindle Single world—and the only thing that came to my mind was, “what?”
Apparently, anyone with a half-baked idea for a story, article, thesis, etc. can log onto Amazon.com and get their word published.
Now, it’s being pretty presumptuous to assume that these self-publishers will even be read by anyone, but just to conceive of this notion is, well, inconceivable, to an individual such as myself (English Major, Creative Writing concentration).
“You’ve done it again, Amazon!” You’ve found another way to debase, demean, devaluate (take your pick) the respective worlds of writing, literature and publishing.
Call me old fashioned, but I’ve never been keen on the idea of e-readers.
Granted, as someone with delusions of going into any one of the aforementioned fields, I can’t really afford to be purposefully ignorant to the success and the future of e-readers—but there’s just such an enormous part of me that can’t tolerate what is happening to the world of literature.
From what I understand—which may not account for much—Kindle Singles are the YouTube equivalent to writing and reading.
They are shorter pieces, which don’t always have to be coherent in nature, and can be created by just about anyone.
If this says anything about our society, and our world, it’s that we are quickly moving toward a state of arbitrary advancement.
I for one can’t quite understand the importance of these “advancements”—especially in regards to an ancient art such as writing.
I mean, what has human existence come to, that we can’t read a book on the subway, or visit a library (or bookstore) or have a beautiful shelf packed with the sweet smell of old books?
Sometimes I like to imagine the absurd bookshelves of the future—in Gatsby-esque mansions—where there are just thousands upon thousands of identical e-readers, and on each one a different classic piece of literature.
It’s times like these I wish we could locate the lost city of Atlantis.
Perhaps while we’re digging around among the rubble of futuristic architecture and weaponry (which caused the eventual demise of the mythic city), we’ll come across an e-reader.
Maybe once we realize that the creation of the e-reader was the cause of the downfall of one of the most (supposedly) advanced empires in history, will we understand how evil they really are.
No, Chang, you are not honky
(My Korean international student friend from Montclair State)
“What is honkies”
Purgatory’s kind of like the in-betweeny one. You weren’t really shit, but you weren’t all that great either. Like Tottenham.
— Ray, In Bruges