by Bruce Blake
I generally don’t make it a habit to hide my age from anyone…not yet, anyway. At forty-four years old, I truly feel like life is just getting started. Every once in a while, though, something comes along to make me realize just how fast time is passing and how much things are changing.
About a month ago, I was listening to the radio and the DJs were talking about things that our kids will never see. I was expecting the usual array of out-dated items to come up…you know: rotary dial phones, cassette tapes, Vanilla Ice, those sorts of things. The one they brought up that really got me was folding maps. Upon reflection, it turns out that I, like most people, haven’t used a folding map in years. Who needs one when you have GPS in your pocket, right? (I expect Autumn to call me out on that one…let’s see what happens).
It happened again today as I was having a joking conversation with my eleven year old daughter. I was telling her how my parents NEVER drove me to school when I was a kid (and no, I didn’t tell her it was uphill both ways), then she started teasing my about what it was like in the ‘olden days’. And do you know what the conversation eventually came around to?
Saturday morning cartoons.
With the advent of the Cartoon Network and similar channels, the younger generations don’t have a special place in their hearts for cartoons. How can they when they’re available 24 hours/day? People of my generation, however…we remember setting our alarms ridiculously early on a non-school day to haul ourselves to the front of the TV–which didn’t have a remote control, because who needed one when there were only 13 channels and the ‘U’ that didn’t do anything. With our parents still tucked into their beds because they knew what a day off was for, we’d plunk ourselves down with a bowl of Honeycombs and watch Scooby-Doo, Bugs Bunny, H.R Pufnstuf, Land of the Lost, and Captain Caveman. By noon, it was all done, and we went back to our lives playing outside, running around and having fun without electronic devices in our hands. Now, the magic is lost. There’s no anticipatory build up, the fire stoked by the fall cartoon preview show. Some thing is missing from the world without Saturday morning cartoons.
There is one place where it seems to me like things work in reverse, and that’s in the way people read.
I’m a 21st century guy when it comes to reading. I totally get the appeal of a dead-tree book, I mean, who doesn’t get excited about the idea of holding the remains of a once great tree in your hands for a few hours of enjoyment? But I love my Kobo and, if prices are equal between the two, I will buy the electronic copy every time. It’s convenient and easy and I don’t have to go out of the house to pick up the new Joe Abercrombie or Orson Scott Card, (check out the Ender’s Gan]me trailer while you’re there!) not to mention the raft of indie authors I would never have had access to without it.
The reason this comes up is because I was communicating with a reviewer yesterday (I say communicating because it was via messages on Twitter–messages, not tweets–so I’m not sure of the correct terminology). This reviewer is a young lady and we were discussing what format she would prefer to have my book in. Her response? Hard copy, because she is old-fashioned.
I say everyone should go out and get an eReader so they can discover the great indie authors and small publishers out there (and save the trees) and if we want to be old-fashioned, let’s bring back Saturday morning cartoons!
Bruce Blake is the author of five fantasy novels and the father of two children. Sometimes he longs for the olden days, but then he catches himself and remembers how great life is today.