Saturday, February 16, 2013

Where Has All the Stationery Gone?

Want to write a letter on pretty paper to an out of town friend?  Let me save you some time -- don't bother looking for stationery at any of your local stores.  You'll not find any.

For Valentine's Day this year, I decided that instead of buying a card for my husband and kids, that I would write them each a little note.  I'm a writer for goodness sakes! I should be able to formulate some type of passable letter describing my feelings for them. Plus, it seemed like a good idea to expand my horizons and use my words to create beauty instead of just describing insanity or conflict.  So, I set off in search of beautiful stationery on which to scrawl my feelings of love and devotion to my loved ones. I came away empty handed.

After a trip to four stores (one "big-box" store, one office supply store, one greeting card store and a craft store), I found that the only items sold that were considered to be stationery were invitations and thank you cards.  And even the supply of those items weren't large.  I know there are actual "stationery stores", but thinking I'd have no problem at the local stores, I didn't leave myself enough time to go in search of one. But the lack of easy access is my point.

Now you might be asking yourself, why does it matter? Why would I be spending time on a predominately "writing" related blog, waxing philosophical about the demise of stationery? I can say that the difficulty in locating what I would call traditional stationery isn't at the crux of the problem.  It is merely symptom of a much larger disease.

Written language is dying.  It's imminent death isn't because of an aggressive disease, attacking words without warning and wiping it out in a matter of years.  It is a slow disease.  One that lies dormant before slowly feeding on the ways in which we communicate. And the disease is being perpetrated on the human race because of a need for expediency in order to live at the speed modern life requires.  As writers and readers, we should all be concerned.  The degradation of language as we know it hits everyone one of us where we live -- on each and every page.

Why write a letter when you can email?  Why send an email when you can text?  As the years progress, the words we send to one another shorten, even to the point of not being words at all.  Even sadder, these abbreviated forms of words then become spoken. Where is the beauty in "BRB ILY?"  Shakespeare is probably rolling over in his grave.

The problem is when we begin to see this impatience in our literature.  Look at classic texts versus modern ones. Authors used to be able to spend time formulating beautiful sentences in order to make the reader feel something. Modern authors are forced to focus on pacing, even at times, to the detriment of the story. We consume information so quickly these days that we expect the same from our literature.

I am not speaking to you as a fire and brimstone preacher, warning you to repent and change your ways.  I'm giving this diatribe as a fellow sinner, addicted to Facebook, Twitter, email and the like. I'm certainly not suggesting that we give up these conveniences or abandon all modern technology. The world keeps turning, changing and moving forward.  We can't expect it to spin backwards, nor should we want it to. But we also shouldn't abandon our past in order to live at the speed of light.

What I'm proposing is a renaissance of sorts.  I believe the two movements can coexist, it just takes a little work.  Our daily lives require our easy and speedy technology.  Email your co-workers. Text your husband to tell him you love him.  It's these modern advancements that have helped us interact with each other on a different, efficient level.

But maybe, once and a while, write something down, by hand and, dare I suggest, in cursive?  I type most of my stories because my brain works faster than I can write, but when I'm having trouble trying to make something sound or feel a certain way, I take out the good ol' pen and paper and have at it.  I think it makes my brain slow down and forces me focus on the words instead of the idea.  It's the same with a letter versus an email.  The pen to paper, at least for me, makes the process feel more artistic, as I focus on the language.

So, what I'm asking is, maybe instead of sending a text once in a while, send an email.  And possibly, instead of sending and email, on occasion, write a letter.  Perhaps, if we all do this, our children's children won't end up speaking and writing a language that resembles an eye chart.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chapter 2 of Neverwell Falls Now Available!

Chapter 2 of my serial, "Neverwell Falls," is now available on JukePop! "Monsters and Antique Armoires Don't Mix" pits Annie and Dave against their portal-rific basement and has them wondering just what to do about their possible monster "problem".

If you haven't been on JukePop before, the process is fast, easy and free. Simply register your email address to have access to some of the best serial fiction available today across a wide range of genres. While you're there, be sure to give "Neverwell Falls", chapters 1 and 2 a +vote!

Access "Neverwell Falls" Chapter 2 here: