What is a writer to do in these technology-driven times? Is tweeting in any way compatible with the circuitous thought processes required to write a novel, bearing in mind the long gestation period and the even lengthier process of bringing it to the page? Does posting on Facebook have anything to do with writing books?
I don’t know what the answer is for others, but for me tweeting as a pastime sounds about as dangerous as using drugs – I could get into it and never get out, never again write a sentence longer than 140 characters, while my head implodes from the unceasing onslaught of other people’s voices. I don’t watch television for some of the same reasons, but am I a Luddite, am I against change for the sake of being against something new? I don’t think so.
I have used Facebook for a while, although it’s a constant battle to decide whether I’m there for personal or professional reasons. The truth is, it’s a bit of a mixture, but as I hate being the object of relentless marketing via the medium, mixing it up is probably a good thing.
Just lately I’ve begun making short videos, readings of the work-in-progress. It’s exciting because I get to manipulate images as well as words, and by releasing a fragment of a work-in-progress like a paper boat into a stream I begin to see it as already existing in the world, already making its way towards the broad flow of published novels.
Unlike expending masses of energy on tweeting or contributing to online forums, this method of utilising technology seems like a natural extension of the writing process. It’s a way of making the slow work of a novel feel as if it already exists in the world, because writing draft after draft requires patience and continued confidence in where you’re going.
I gathered the images for this video in Adelaide’s beautiful old West Terrace Cemetery. Sadly, many of the early gravestones and statues have either fallen or been vandalised, but I think their distress only adds to their beauty.