This cartoon prompted a recollection. Some time in the last year or so, I realized the importance of the printed word as a way to travel through time and space. I was reading a text set near a hundred years back, and yet it caught basic human qualities that haven’t changed.
The added bonus parts, for me, included being able to “see” what the time frame was like, historically. For a brief interlude, the duration of the novel, then the subsequent thoughtful analysis, I was transported to another time.
Books — and libraries by extension — are ways to convey meaning, feeling, and essence across time.
In one science fiction novel, a character’s personality is uploaded, and then, many processor cycles later, that personality is still hanging out in a vector-driven, html space. “HTML.” That was the first language for the web. Left, living on server someplace that was serving up much more than a basic web page.
I have yet to complete the transition, but eventually, all of my horoscopes will be part of the site’s backend database, and as such, everything of mine will indexed, searchable, and available.
As it sits now, most of the weekly columns are available in the handy format, with just a few blanks, I might fill in, then, the early material is still available as basic formatted text.
Scary formatting, to me.
Everything is linked — one format or another — from the site’s index, the table of contents — named for the book form I was shooting for. The problem being, my weird, and wandering miscellany defies being crammed into a single format.
What will remain? Only time will tell, but the current arrangement I’ve got, as long as the hosting bill is paid, the site itself, and its archives, will be updated and refreshed, kept current and searchable.
I haven’t seen — or used — microfilm records since the late 1980’s. Maybe once at the beginning of the 90’s, but I cannot verify that claim, would’ve been a legal filing in Austin. Not sure I care.
CDs were, at one time, the gold standard for available, long-term media storage, but even that seemed to have a short life cycle as most near all media I consume is available as digital, music, movies, books.
I’ve taken to ordering and dragging a few copies of my book, Bare Foot Astrology, with me as I travel. I tend to sell one or two each weekend. As a book, I wonder if there will even be a copy available ten years from now. There’s one copy, labeled “store copy,” on the table at Austin’s Nature’s Treasures, where I am frequently featured, and I do know that one copy is pretty beat. Tattered. However, its roots are digital, again, not printed. That was an afterthought.
A hundred years from now, wandering in a post-apocalyptic landscape, a small child by side, foraging for food, I wonder if the books will survive.
According to the cartoon, they will.