Amazon Wages War

While Amazon continues to wage war with various publishing houses, setting itself up to be the distributor/supplier of the future and carve out a huge slice of the monopoly pie in the process, it is us, as readers, who are losing out.

One of the contributing factors is we are no longer content to amble along to the local bookstore and rummage through books looking for something to read. In a world run by technology and having a growing need for instant gratification, are we sacrificing ‘choice’ in the process, especially when it comes to reading material, by turning to our so-called smart devices and buying at the click of a button?

And is this only a concern of a die-hard few, a breed of reader who, it would seem, like the Dodo, is heading for mass-extinction? Do those rank and file readers coming up behind us care with the same passion we do for paper? Are they drawn to, and motivated by other concerns? And will the ‘They’ even bat an eyelid at the demise of the publishing dinosaurs, care if books vanish off shelves slowly but surely, to be replaced by badly formatted files on their so-called smart phones?

Does any of this matter and why should we care?

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Life after Death

Or, surviving the loss of my parents.

Surviving a loved one’s death can only be personal and subjective. We all react differently, we all perceive differently, we all emote differently. Some feel the loss more keenly than others, some not so much. But one thing you can be sure of is, the loss of a loved one changes you no matter what your relationship was till that point.

I lost my father to lung cancer in 1991, he was only 68 years of age. His ‘illness’ was slow, debilitating, terrifying and painful right through till the last few weeks when, being cared for in our local hospice, my father passed quietly, almost peacefully after his (and yes, our) two year ordeal.

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BILLY RAY MELNIK (aged 13) of Pensacola, Florida, died today, March 6th, when his DNA register his final act of stupidity and terminated his existence under the Statute of Evolution regulations, section 7(a) para 1(b). Which states that, no entity can forthwith continue its existence if deemed to be in violation of watering down the Gene-Pool.

Termination occurred on the corner of 12th and Main, as, spray-cans in hand, Melnik engaged in the vandalous act of graffiti.

A bio-hazard clean-up crew for the city managed to collect enough of the gelatinous remains to fill a funerary pot. An interment service will be held Monday at the Pensacola City cemetery.


Consulting the stars

Sometime I think that everything I ever learnt about ‘how’ to write, I learnt from reading Ursula K. Le Guin novels [with humble apologies to my favourite English teacher of way back when, Mrs. Titherington]. Even now, I still find myself reaching for one or other of Le Guin’s works, not just for that spark of inspiration, but to remind myself on the ‘how’. How did she write this scene, capture that character, make it all work?

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My Sister … and other phenomena

My sister breaks things.

It’s a fact, a family fact.

She doesn’t just break ordinary things like you or I might do; dishes, glassware, bones in our body, no. My sister breaks things like, the internet.

What? Oh, okay, so maybe it wasn’t her, per se, who caused Google to have a nervous breakdown the other day, going off line for 5-10 minutes, thereby causing everyone one on the planet to collectively hold their breathes. But we, that is, our family, on hearing of the Google outage immediately thought: Anne! Yes, we actually texted and or messaged one other asking, did she do it, did she break Google?

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