On Longevity of the Electronic Medium

Tonight a friend brought up an interesting question. Someone had commented that they were reading in a diary they found in their attic. My friend asked will there be diaries in the future? My initial response was of course their will be. My journal counts as a diary. But upon further reflection, it occurred to me that she may have something of a point.

If we use computers and web sites to store our diaries, whether personal diaries or more general diaries such as blogs, who’s to say that they won’t be taken down when no one pays for them any more. They are not like paper diaries that cost little to nothing to keep around. Not to mention the fact that the computer or media that they are stored on is liable to fail soon after the author dies if not long before.

There is a permanence to be had from writing on paper with a pen or pencil. Much of the same permanence can be had from printing the electronic form to paper and putting the printout in a notebook. That involves some extra effort on my part though. I’ll get around to it sooner or later. Or I won’t. If I don’t, will there be anyone that particularly cares? I certainly won’t. So much for my acknowledgement of my own mortality.

I hope to write a novel and publish it. It would be nice if it sold enough copies that it will be around for a little while in remainder bins and bathroom magazine stands. Who even remembers magazine stands? These days, magazines are willing to give you a subscription to get their circulation numbers up so they can charge enough for advertising that they can stay solvent.

Long before I publish a novel, or rather someone else publishes it, saving me the embarrassment of being one of the ever growing members of the set of people who have self published their own book, whether for reasons of ego stroking or a genuine attempt to make a play for all that profit that publishers make after paying the pittance of a royalty to the author for each copy they sell, I will write my share of short stories in order to hone the craft of telling stories. I might even attempt to glean some income from selling them. Or perhaps I would be better off to make a hobby of collecting rejection slips. Then, submitting stories for publication would be a win-win activity. Either I would make a sale, thus enriching myself by some poultry sum, or I would receive a rejection slip to add to my collection.

I’m not as cynical as I sound. I have a good sense of humor and plenty of reasons to write other than to achieve great fortune and fame from any publication that I should happen to make. Perhaps, some day I shall share them, but tonight, the bed is calling to me.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.