Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Matter of Words

Yesterday, I finished revising a manuscript of 427 pages, 96,207 words. I accomplished this over the course of a week, with a birthday and a wedding thrown in there to keep my on my toes. One night I stayed up until four in the morning, rising at six to get my family ready for school and then returning to the revision project two hours later. When I reached The End, I was elated. I've always identified strongly with the characters in Charm Bracelet, and I felt the corrections did them credit. I love this story. The literary references, the dialogue, the message of redemption and happiness where none were expected.

A couple of hours after finishing, I became very sad. Let's face it, when you create a world you enjoy, it's hard to let it go. To say goodbye to people who seem so real but aren't. How I wish they were. Maybe I'll revise this story again next year . . .

Have you ever felt this way? Longing for the editing work to be done and yet, mourning a bit when it is.

My husband and I took his parents to see the Carl Bloch exhibit. It was even better for me on this third visit. While at the museum, I found another interesting display. A Matter of Words by Adam Bateman, Harrell Fletcher, and John Fraser. It is minimalist, modernist, and conceptual art. Very clever, entertaining, and definitely worth seeing. The above work especially caught my eye. It was a large tower of carefully stacked books. After the exhibit has finished touring, these books will be donated to the Wordwide Book Drive.

It was interesting to watch people react to the book tower. Everyone wanted to touch it. They ignored the boundary marks, walking past the lines without a thought on their way to feel the sometimes beautiful, other times common, volumes. We're all drawn to words, stories, ideas, aren't we?

A plaque at the exhibit read, "In an age of electronic media, where the printed word is rapidly being dematerialized as a result of digital forms, "the matter of words" may soon become an outmoded concept."

A few minutes ago, I picked up a hardbound book, dazzled by the burgundy cover. It's the kind of soft glowing leather that needs to be held and used to grow in beauty. I treasure heirloom quality editions like this, and the classic brilliance inside.

While I enjoy the new digital reading systems of today, knowing they are convenient and accessible, I hope the printed word never becomes an "outmoded concept."

Read on, talented writers, and if you want to check out a great blog about art, drop in and visit Crystal Cook. She's absolutely amazing, and a wonderful writer to boot.


  1. I think it will evolve into an art form. It won't die, just get more collectible.

  2. Roxy you are such an incredible person. Why don't we live closer? We could chat about books, writing, art, kids, over hot chocolate or something. :)

    I'm so happy for you that you finished your revisions! Bravo! What an accomplishment. But I do understand how you feel now that it's over. I feel the same way every time I read the last book in the Harry Potter series. :)

    I saw that big exhibit and my jaw just dropped. I am SO curious to know how they did that. It's amazing. And I feel the same way about books, there's just something about holding the real book in your hands that adds so much to the reading experience.

    And thanks so much for the shout out. You are too kind my friend. :):):)

  3. Finishing one book always makes it much harder to move on to the second.

  4. That art work would be amazing to look at and touch. Thankful there are still paper reminders still out there and not everything has to be plugged in..... :O)

  5. Congratulations with finishing your wip!!! And after such a hectic time too!! Well done you!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Thanks for the info on this fab exhibit!!! I feel like an old dinasour every time I raise my hand for print books, print stories, print newspapers and magazines in the face of a sea of instant e-readers downloads.

    So I would probably have spreadeagled myself against this tower of books saying as fervently as I could, "thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you"!!! :-) Then I probably would have been dragged out by security. But that's a different story!

    Have a lovely day and well done you again for finishing your wip!! Take care

  6. ditto what Old kitty said about finishing. And I hope books never go out of style. There's nothing like a book with a beautiful cover in your hands. looking at it on the screen could not compare.

  7. I understand how you felt when you finished editing your book and said good bye to the characters you love. It's always hard.

    Love the picture of the book tower. Awesome! It does make a person wonder how the book market is going to fair. I love both hard copy books and digital. I hope we can have both.

  8. Congrats on the revisions! I wish I was done with mine ;/

  9. Hey! I miss seeing you....just found you on Megans sidebar. Yay on Charm Bracelet. You know I am it's biggest fan. Love it. Can't wait to buy my copy.

    I am so glad you wrote about the book tower. It was still under construction when I took my kids to the Bloch exhibit. My Hayden (9) mirrored my own horror when we first saw it behind the construction curtains. We both were devastated at such a waste of good books.

    I just informed him that the books were not damaged and will be donated. We are both very relieved. We should have known.......

    There's no way I could ever damage or throw away a book. Makes me sick just to think about it.

    There is NOTHING like a book with pages. The digital versions are good if they make people read that otherwise would not......but will never replace the real thing in my eyes.

    E-cards for birthdays and holidays make me sad. I'll plant a few trees a year if it means I get things on paper instead of the web:)

  10. I loved the Carl Block exhibit. Amazing!
    I don't know if I ever feel like it's over. I'll have to let you know when I get there. Congrats on finishing!!! =D

  11. That's a big stack of writing in that picture!

    Congrats on finishing your book & that is a huge accomplishment! :)

  12. Massive congrats on finishing your WIP - it's always an accomplishment, and with everything else in between - wow!

    My Blog is Down So I'm Temporarily Here

  13. Congratulations on finising that manuscript, and condolences on your mourning. I think most writers go through a period of withdrawal after finishing a big project like a novel. We get so attached because we love the story and want to stay with it. But all things must pass.