- by Dianne Drake
My Kindle went poop a couple of days ago. I’ve had it for three months, it’s been sitting atop my dictionary, unused, often adorned by a cat or two. It has a nice, burnt orange cover, looks good where it is and, basically, I haven’t seen any point in turning it on because when I want to read something other than my own writing, I’m like every other writer out there who has shelves and shelves of books. But, I’d bought the Kindle.
Why? I don’t really know. I’m not one of those die-hards who hate e-publishing, or anything like that. It’s fine. Serves a purpose. So maybe I just bought my Kindle so I wouldn’t fall so far behind. Anyway, the first month, I totally resisted anything to do with it. In fact, the only person who even so much as looked at it was my office assistant who comes in occasionally to tweak my electronics and kick me in the butt about my deadlines. He thought the Kindle seemed pretty nifty, and being the techie that he is, couldn’t understand why I wasn’t indulging. To be honest, I almost gave it to him. But I didn’t because some force greater than my unenlightened fear stopped me.
So, into my second month. Admittedly, I opened the thing, turned it on, then decided to read the instructions. OK, I’ll confess right here that I like my instructions simple. The simpler, the better. And as instructions go, they were simple enough. After clicking through several pages I decided I might get to like my little device. However, there must have been about a gazillion pages of instructions which instantly left me out because I simply don’t want to learn that much about anything. Don’t have time to learn it, either. Meaning, off went my Kindle. Back to the top of my dictionary.
Now, three months have passed, and practicality is beginning to kick in. I really should use the darn thing is what I kept telling myself. Then came the day. I wanted a book. Not just any book, mind you, but one that was back-ordered. Except, I could get it immediately on Kindle. And that’s when I discovered that my convenient little one-click on Amazon also had a device to one-click a book straight to my Kindle. Which is what I did. And in the time it took me to walk from my chair to my Kindle’s resting place, and shoo my cat away from it, I had my book. Like, wow! Awesome, dude! It was instant love, immediate gratification at the same time. Finally, I had claimed my Kindle.
My relationship with my Kindle was short-lived, however. It ceased to function after just a few uses, throwing me into a fit of depression and panic. I’m addicted, need it now! Getting short of breath, having a panic attack. Now what? Will they overnight me a new one? Is the customer service process going to go the way of so many customer service processes these days and lose me in a hopeless maze of foolishness? The answer was… one two-minute phone call and a very nice rep telling me how to reboot my Kindle. Then the love came flooding back.
Over the years, the industry has changed. I started as a journalist, hit most of the major magazines and saw my word counts trickle down slowly and steadily, making way for more ad space. After all, the ads pay the bills. I get that. Then I went through the whole e-revolution – magazines were way ahead of the curve on this, by the way. I had to learn new rights, and in an industry that was changing by the day, let me tell you magazine e-rights were crazy! But, I went with the flow because I had to, if I wanted to keep those paychecks coming in. Eventually, when my books overcame my articles, I entered what I thought was a more stable environment. Sure, there was talk of electronic readers on the horizon, but we were being assured they would be more popular in the scientific segments of society. No self-respecting novel-reader would ever want to give up the feel of paper in hand for an electronic gadget. But, that changed too. I love my electronic gadget in hand.
So, what does it all mean? When I was a kid, I listened to music played on vinyl records. The predecessor was hard plastic, and before that, rollers. Today, I turn on the iPod that sits on my dock and listen to my music. In order words, time rolls along, and so does technology. It’s inevitable. But what’s even more inevitable is that as writers, we’ve got to roll along, too. The late, great Kurt Vonnegut wrote his books by hand, on yellow legal pads, pretty much all the way to the end. But, he was Kurt Vonnegut, and he got to do that. The rest of us get to merrily roll along, or get left behind. Kicking and screaming aside, it’s not really such a bad thing. Just a different thing. But we’re writers, eh? A wholly stalwart bunch. And the thing is, each of us, in our own way, moves and shakes the world, or some segment of it. So, I suppose it’s only fair that the world, or some segment of it, moves us and shakes us, too.
Now here’s the thing. My Kindle is 3 months old. Three months, I tell you! And it’s a second generation. There’s already another one out there, new and improved. I want it! I crave it! The practical me will wait. But some gray day, when everything I’ve written is garbage, and my editor is pressing me for revisions or more content or less content, and I’m feeling really (you know the word here), I know I’m going to look at that latest Kindle, or Nook, or whatever happens to be the market trend, my finger is going to hover over the one-click button, and that little beauty is going to be mine, all mine!
Thank God the times they are a-changin’!
Also, just to mention, I have a book out this month. The Baby Who Stole the Doctor’s Heart is available at eHarlequin.com and, I believe, you can probably find it available on Kindle, too!
Until next time, wishing you health & happiness!
P.S. Want me to tell you about the new entertainment center I bought my hubby for Christmas? It has 4 different remote controls, plus 4 boxes that do different functions, and I’ve totally lost my ability to simply sit down and turn on the TV. Don’t know how, don’t want to learn how. Too many gadgets. In my mind, I no longer have a television. But who knows, maybe three months down the line…