A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ring! Ring! Your Novel Is Calling

A friend, who is not a writer and who has never been less than encouraging about my choice of career, recently sent me a link to an article about a new literary genre, the cell phone novel. I guess he thought since it pertained to my field and was something new (I'm a confirmed neophile) I'd be interested. However, the unintended effect of this missive was to depress me mightily.

Cell phone novels, like text messages, are both written and read on phones. The most prolific authors can input text much faster (using only their thumbs) than they can type on a keyboard. Since the screens are so small, readers must continuously scroll or turn pages. The cell phone novels are short by other literary standards, but pretty long considering the format.

Plot tends to be thin or nonexistent. These are formulaic cliffhangers, with horror and love stories most popular. Many are written by high school girls who have had no other literary output.

Deep Love was the first cell phone novel. It was authored by "Yoshi," and tells the story of a teenaged girl, Ayu, who is prostituting herself because she values money above all else. Ayu meets an old lady who teaches her there are more important things in life. Ayu thereupon begins earning an honest living so she can pay for a desperately-needed operation for the old lady's son. Sniff, sniff.

Popular cell phone novels get turned into manga, movies, and hard-copy books. Fifteen-year-old authors are getting obscenely rich. I don't think I'll be jumping on this particular bandwagon. And that realization is making me feel like an old fuddy-duddy.

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