Sunday, May 5, 2013

Our Joyous Modern World

I have to be honest here--I spend a lot of time thinking about the past, because the past seemed like it was a lot more fun. I had time to socialize, travel, see concerts and I didn't have to worry about being too much of a grownup. I had family who loved me, and it seemed like there was always something to look forward to.

All that changed when my mom died. I had to work three jobs just to maintain a modest lifestyle. My brother  yelled at me all the time. It seemed like I didn't have any time to do anything anymore, except work. I lost contact with friends. I would be lucky if I saw certain people once a month.

It would be nice if I could take the best of the past and bring it here to the future, but I can't.

So, since I usually bitch and whine and moan, I decided I would look at the positive of our modern world.

The Internet: Talk about entertainment! And education! For trivia junkies like me, I can look up facts and ask strange questions and get some sort of answer. Sometimes I spend hours on Wikipedia looking up old songs, music groups, movies and all sorts of stuff.

YouTube: This is the place where I was able to watch "Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story," a cult film which Richard Carpenter was really pissed about, because Todd Haynes went ahead and used the Carpenter's music, even though Richard said no. This film is disturbing and touching, and really interesting. Too bad the film looked like it was shot on toilet paper, but I highly recommend it. There's also so many other videos; Parry Gripp can make songs out of any lyrics and make them funny and happy; if you remember when MTV aired videos, you can watch them here, old television programs people have uploaded are on here, and if you want to see figure skating routines from the Olympics, you can find them here too. I love watching Elizabeth Manley's 1988 Olympic long program. She should have won the gold, and I watch this whenever I want to be inspired. Also, if you type in song lyrics from that one song you've always wanted to know the name of, chances are you can find it here. YouTube is one of the Modern World's wonders.

Publishing: If you are a writer, you are living in truly golden times. Turned down by every single publisher out there? Publish it yourself! That's what Amanda Hocking did, and now she's a millionaire. It doesn't mean that you too will become rich, but if you've always wanted to see your writing in print, it is possible. You can have an ebook, or you can do print on demand. I think this last option is amazing, because if you've written something; say an account of your first pregnancy, or a travel journal, or you have a collection of photos, you can publish them. You don't have to buy 500 copies and wonder how you are going to get rid of them.

I went this route with my erotic fiction, Anything For Georgetown And Other Stories, and my other collection of fiction, Served Cold: Tales of Revenge and Redemption. Both are available as ebooks, and both are available in print as well. Here are the ebook links. Click on them, and you will find a link to the print book as well. Here's the one for the erotic fiction: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/86128

Here's the one for Served Cold: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/140164



Blogs: I published a 'zine during the golden age of 'zines in the 1990s, and now I have a blog. I would say the Internet is way more democratic, because if you have the time and know how, you can promote your stuff, and have a huge following. If you like writing about a hobby that you think is weird, you can make a blog, put it online, and find others who are interested in it as well.

Social media: You can see what your friends are up to, and recommend stuff to each other. There are websites out there that cater to all sorts of interests, and some of them are set up like Facebook so you can meet people as well. You can even reconnect with people from your past. I got reconnected with a friend from a long time ago. We had split apart over something really stupid, and neither one of us reached out for about 28 years. I kick myself for not being mature enough to reach out and say, "I'm sorry." She forgave me. We were so lucky to find each other during a period of time in school that was horrible for both of us.

There are a bunch of things out there I haven't even mentioned, like Skype (which I haven't done) and Pinterest and eBay (I found a watch from my childhood, which I ended up losing on a temp job, but purchased another one from this site) and Google Earth.

You can watch movies and listen to music and watch videos and learn and laugh and cry and express yourself. Every time something bad happens, I think that despite it all, the world really is a cool place, and having the Internet is amazing. The world in the palm of your hand, or on your desk, or on your laptop.