I miss the times when I used to be able to spend time with the paper and my morning coffee. Sipping the 2nd cup of the day, I’d sit back after the home emptied itself and comb through it in a serene cloud of silence. Turning the pages, occasionally pausing to savor the language, and then at times brushing past the jargon not making much sense of it, but marveling at the sheer genius of being able to string words without saying a thing, was, indeed a luxury. Something that perhaps few folks who have the luxury of sitting back home and doing “nothing” while the rest let the clock dictate them can relate to.
Sipping my evening tea, I picked up the Post magazine (which I incidentally think can produce some fine gems despite being overshadowed by its parent) and I turned to the “spot the difference” pages wishing that the husband did’nt beat me to it. He did, and I tried finding the last difference that he could’nt, and of course gave up. The man is brilliant when it comes to picking up nuances in a visual form and I stop there. I then flipped it back to the column – Below the Beltway – Gene’s weekly.
Almost always filled with subtle humor on everyday annoyances and peeves to DC’s political circus that surrounds us in the area, the man never fails to bring out a chuckle and at times, even a guffaw in us. It helps even more when such beauts can be shared by more, and these days my older two have chimed in to lend their take, twist and add-on to Gene’s words.
Last evening, I snorted a hefty dose of some strong ginger tea up my nose as I read these lines. (and if you thought that helped clear my sinuses, it so didn’t. Just very messy, I assure you, in case someone decides to try it.)
The point I am trying to make is that it is very, very difficult to get a book published, which is why I am dismayed by a hot new phenomenon in the publishing industry: People who cannot write are getting fat book contracts for work they didn’t do. I’m talking about certain kinds of bloggers: people who run Web sites that subsist on things like reader-submitted snapshots of dogs in stupid outfits or photos of big plates of greasy food. The publishers are paying these bloggers for this “content,” which they then turn into paperbacks.
I digress just a bit to allow for my own take of what I see:
In recent times, there’s been a spate of bloggers bagging book contracts and they’ve been looked upon with wonder, amazement and awe within our blogging community. It seemed the cool thing to do once you have enough readers subscribed to your blog. Look closely and most were arts majors, journalists, creative poets, copywriters or ones who at least grew themselves to belong to one of those categories. They are indeed a marvel and I admire the grit for following through dreams.
Then again, the phenomena of writing and garnering an audience (for publishing purposes) is not entirely about writing as I quite naively imagined until recently. It’s quite like how one climbs the ladder of success everywhere else. Though can’t imagine why I thought writing was above it all! It’s not so much of what you know as who you know. You’d think with a creative avenue like writing, the most successful and cash-able are the ones who are well, creative. Who let their ideas, words, content and style be so inimitable and un-cookie-cutter-like that people would want to pay to read them.
After reading a few bad books that I refuse to review apart from expending the minimum energy one can, I am led to believe as a sad inference that I am indeed right!
I think this trend is a bad idea. But how do you fight an idea? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you just decide to cash in on it yourself.
If Gene decides to join the crowd for the most ridiculous book ideas, who am I to contend?
Let’s see now: read Chetan Bhagat? Writers like him ought be applauded to give hope and faith to all aspiring writers. The ones that enjoy the words, the play, the fluidity and the unique visual art that gets created within each reader’s head. That is what an art form is, in my humble opinion. A medium, where the artist provides the freedom for the recipients to take it and make it their own by how it speaks to one is inherently slightly different than the other.