Last weekend I went to see the new 3D movie Alice in Wonderland. Those special glasses the theater hands out so the audience can experience 3D images also transported me back in time. I recalled my youth when television images were displayed in black and white. Color TV existed in my childhood, but its popularity and affordability weren’t realized for a decade or so. Even after my family owned a color television I liked to watch some of the classic old black and white movies. Movies with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, the Marx Brothers, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, and all the other stars of that era.
I’ve seen the comings and goings of analog TV, BETA and VHS tapes, VCRs, and most recently DVDs. For Christmas my kids gave me a digital HD, LED television with a BluRay player. The latter is already outdated with the demise of the local video store and the expanding availability of on demand video sites through our cable.
When the lights came on in the theater I wondered if the kids under 10 in the audience would, as adults, remember a time when they saw anything other than 3D movies. That’s when I started to think what these changes meant for me as a writer. The art of writing and publishing at first glance seems to have changed much more slowly than other visual arts. Yes, I believe writing is a visual art. Don’t the majority of readers use their eyes to see the written word? There’s no question that in medieval days illuminated written word was art.
Writing and publishing are now subject to the lightning fast changes taking place on the Internet. Witness the falling prominence of hard copy newspapers and magazines to their own dot com sites. Kindle, blogs, podcasts, and all the rest are the new formats. They deliver written content faster and farther than the older forms, but at what cost for the writer?
…to be continued…
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