Friday, October 12, 2007

I still don’t know my RSS from my elbow…

And why the hell would I? After all, I’m just an author and an author writes stories doesn’t he? Shit, how I sometimes wish that this were true, for it’s become clear to me over the past 2 years that actually writing the bloody story is just the start of it! You see, once the prose are finished and the characters happy in their new place, these days the author then has to spend pretty much all of his time presenting himself and his work to the world outside of his book. Now that used to mean occasionally sitting around in carefully selected book stores (preferably near your house), sipping crap coffee and smiling at browsers in an effort to convince them that your book about assisted suicide would be a better buy than the cookery book that they actually came in to the shop for. It used to mean, if you were lucky, radio interviews and newspaper ads. Today though marketing means blogging and any author who tells you otherwise is in denial (as I was until my publisher recently and rather brutally beat me into submission). So now I have my own blog. I guest post to blogs. I read blogs. I comment on blogs. I still don’t know my RSS from my elbow but I will do one day; and this from someone who only six months ago thought that blogging was for losers. In fact, thinking about it, now would be a good time for me to set the record straight on this point because, in my ignorance, I could not have been more wrong. It turns out that the blogging community is ram packed with vibrant and talented people who simply couldn’t produce the quality of work that they do without fully engaging the world outside the blog. For me bloggers are producing some of the best writing, the funniest observations and the sharpest comment (political or social) that you can read today and I personally am pleased to be able to contribute to that achievement at whatever level. But aside from the fundamental things that blogging provides (whether it be commercial opportunity, freedom of expression, communication of ideas, friendship or just plain fun) I still gotta ask, where the hell is all this going? Big question I know, and it isn’t one that I intend to try and answer here, although I would like to close by putting a rather strange thought out there.

You see, last weekend I was reading the latest issue of New Scientist. Now I’m not a regular subscriber but me and the girlfriend were on our way to Greece and she likes me to look clever at the airport (this while she fills her boots with copies of Heat magazine and pictures of celebrities without make up…..and by the way, have you seen Cameron Diaz without filler? Scary shit). Anyway, there was an article in the mag’ that laid out an alternative way of considering reality (bear with me) and a possible answer to the question of life, the universe and everything. If the boffin is to be believed, it turns out that the answer could well be 42. He argued rather convincingly that, whilst the scientific community generally accepts that the universe and everything in it can be defined by maths, more fundamentally than this, the universe is maths. As far as I understood it, his theory would mean that you, me, everything we see and experience is simply the result of some as yet undefined (but very simple) mathematical operation. And here’s the crunch. If you can accept this, or even consider that it may be possible that reality is a mathematical expression, then it may go some way to understanding why humanity seems to be moving, with every new fangled gadget and dogs bollox processor, ever closer toward representing itself in a digital format. Weird I know, but maybe not such a stretch if you put the ideas of evolution and a mathematical reality together because after all, wouldn’t that be the result; a super species that disappears up its own digital arse?

Andy Tilley
Author: Recycling Jimmy

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