The Permanence of the Pen

I have been listening to audiobooks during my commute. My current choice is a thriller written like a historical romance novel. Not my usual thing, but I like to expose myself to different writing styles as often as possible. The novel has a protagonist following the murder plot/love affair between characters from 1800’s Boston by reading letters sent by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Suddenly it struck me:

Incalculable minutiae of history have been pulled out of letters from one person to the other. There are other records, of course, but there remains details I wonder will be lost in the future. I heard once – but I cannot personally vouch that – that there are not mention of camels in the Quran, they being so ubiquitous that they hardly need be mentioned. But what in 10,000 years? Camels will certainly have changed, to the point where the definition will refer to the camels that will be, not the camels that were.

Now our correspondence takes place over Email, electrons mapped into memory which will soon be wiped and  forgotten. That stored ‘permanently’ on magnetic medium will degrade and become unreadable in less than a century. How will they remember us? And not ‘Wow they were Jerks!’ how, but how will it be possible with no records?

How did we live? What were our small problems that explain the large problems in society? Why were there only 2 political parties and 147 brands of cereal? Why, for the love of god, do the Baldwins keep showing up in TV and movies?

We have traded in convenience for a life of transience.  Even with the Library of Congress saving every Tweet known to man, I doubt it is stored so that Archeologists will find it useful when we dig out from WW VII or the next black plague. Then again, should we? We may preserve a modern Samuel Clemens, but is it worth it if we have to save the memory of the Jersey Shore? Just an odd thought that plagues me.

Well this weekend I’m going to Lunacon (Actually I am at lunacon now, and would have posted this earlier but I had to find the super secret squirrel location that had WiFi in the Hilton) . This also brings up an odd thought: How many other people take vacation time to go to work? Still, it is a special kind of work. It would kill me to give it up.

I’d give you a description of the panels I’m on, but they left me off the list! So I’m hoping they have for me when I land in a few hours. Failing that, I’m going to take Menkin’s advice and hoist the Jolly Roger and begin crashing panels. (Again, since I am here, I can now say that I did take Menkin’s advice and now have access to over a dozen panels! Arrrgh!)

Even better, good news has come in. Bad Ass Faeries #3 has won the Epic Award for Best Anthology! This is great news, and becoming a habit for the fine crew of authors Danielle Ackley-McPhail has collected. Of course now I’m under even more pressure to finish the short story for BAF #4.

I am prepping for a release of I Know Not: The Story of Fox Crow at Balticon in a few months. My first fantasy novel, and I hope it is well received.


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