Much ado about something

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By John Pawlak

One has to wonder what motivates a person to write about anything these days.  Do people rant in the hopes that someone out there is actually listening?  Do people really expect to change the mind of someone they never even met?   Personally, I think columnists spill out their thoughts in newspapers and blogs not to be heard, but simply to get all that clutter out of their heads.

So what’s it all about?

And can someone tell me who Alfie was and why we should care? 

Several people, surprised at the diversity of my mental meltdowns, have asked me what am I normally thinking about.

Well, I’ve never been much of a fan of ‘normal’ and rational people wouldn’t want to spend any time in my head.  Trust me, it’s messy, cluttered and has a lot of sharp objects that can cut you.

But I do love to write.  I barely passed English in high school and my teachers would be amazed to see me now knowing the difference between a noun and a verb.  That is to say, back in high school, “Me not good much at writing.”

The real question is, why don’t more people write?  Why don’t more people send in letters to the editor, or e-mail their Senators or write letters anymore?  When did writing go out of style?

Writing is an art and is fast becoming a lost art at that.

With so many young adults being unwilling (or unable) to write, the only good news seems to be that they are equally inept at reading.  Imho, if u cn rd ths (ykwim?), ur texting too much!

When I was young (way back before electricity), my friends would read books for fun.  Imagine that!  Today, if a kid reads for fun, it’s usually Manga or vampire novelettes.

Sentences that use words bigger than three syllables are strictly taboo.  It won’t be long before books like Harry Potter are considered “the classics.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I loved reading Harry Potter.  I’ve even read some Manga and I can see the attraction.  Much like the comic books of my youth, they’re mindless reading.

Character development is vacant; plots are veneer thin; and there’s no real meaning presented.  You know, kind of like presidential nomination campaigns.

Speaking of comic books, have you seen any lately?  Cover prices range from $3 to $5.  For a comic!  When did the price of a comic book start leaping over tall buildings?

Fortunately, there are a lot of people out there still reading books.  Bookstores are doing quite well and lots of people get books for Christmas gifts.

That’s a great idea, too.  A nice bounded copy of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  Some James Herriot books.  Or perhaps one of the good old standbys?  Did your kid ever read “Little Women,” “Through the Looking Glass,” “Conrack” or “The Fountainhead?”  Or how about a nice book on algebraic geometry and its applications to algebro-geometric error correcting codes?  (Sorry, figured I might be able to slip that one in without anyone noticing.)

A book doesn’t have to be academically inclined.  Have your kids ever read the “Wizard of Oz?”  How about “1984?”  “War of the Worlds?”  “Catch 22?”

There’s a phenomenal list of “books for teens” available in bookstores or online.  Not being a teen, I have to admit that I haven’t read them, but it’s easy to find reviews that will suggest good books for any reading interest.  Maybe one of these?  “Kite Runner.”  “A Walk to Remember.”  “My Jim.” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”  “Life of Pi.”  “Three Cups of Tea.”

Even better, a gift certificate to the Otowi Station Bookstore.  There are plenty of books to choose from and it’s good to support local businesses. 

Of course, with technology being our omnipresent buddy, more and more people are getting electronic book readers.

Myself, I prefer the feel of paper.  Nothing beats a good paper cut.  But if you enjoy the smell of electronics over paper, you can get a nice wireless electronic book reader and download all the best sellers at the touch of a button.  Just remember though, a better reader doesn’t make a person a better reader.

So anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, reading and writing are slowly going out of style.  The pen is no longer mightier than the sword, though now you can probably buy a combo Zelda Twilight style pen-sword with a USB connection.

Maybe we can’t get kids to write more, but reading is a start.  Buy them a book.  Just find something that doesn’t have the word ‘vampire’ or ‘doujunshi’ in it.