Dragoncaller (dragoncaller) wrote,

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Jumping through flaming monkey hoops

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. used to write scraps of his stories on bits of paper, napkins, backs of business cards and table cloths, then hand them over to a typist to work on.

He was a genius.

I'm not.

I realize that.

But seriously, this is the 21st century. The century we were promised flying cars and instead of embracing creativity in a pre-formatted world, we find ourselves bending to the system instead of the reverse. The stuff we build should work for us, not us working for them.

I've been pissed lately because I have been back on the publishing thing. There is nothing I hate more, save having my skin peeled back, having fine ground glass sprinkled in with wasabi paste and then the wound sewn back up.

Or staked out in the sun with my eyelids taped open to provide a drinking pool for fat, black, hairy flies.

Or p'raps sitting in a dark room listening to the grating echo of a dull drill slowly bore its way into my forehead.


I digress.

The point being is this is the 21st century and I have the aching suspicion that those who have some semblance of power over us are intrigued about exactly how much they can do with that power.

How many David Letterman tricks are those poor, desperate writers in their fruitless search of validation are willing to perform?

Someone once asked theexpert, 'What would you do for a Klondike bar?' His response, "Kill you and take it."

They didn't air that commercial.

But now the question is, 'What would you do to be a Published Author?'

Really, should it come to homicide?

Well here are the formatting requirements for one publisher. I am not making this up. You can visit them here.

Do not press the Tab key at the beginning of each paragraph! ...putting a completed manuscript into the format we require, please remove all the Tab arrows at the beginning of each paragraph.

Oh, it gets worse.

Try not to leave two spaces at the end of the last sentence of a paragraph. ...We urge you to perform the tedious task of removing those, if they abound in your manuscript, before sending it to us.

I was subjugated as a youth to typing class back in the days when typewriters were these monstrosities of metal and oil that filled the room with the sound of the wicked crack of tiny hammers slapping onto paper and the Pavlovian bell that rang at the end of every line triggering you to reach up and shove the carriage over. Ding! Graaaaziip! Another line! Ding! Graaaziiip! Progress!

It automatically rotated a big rubber drum that fed the paper up to the next line so the action never stopped.

Part of that training came with format that at the start of every paragraph to hit tab and at the end of every sentence you double spaced.

No more! At least for this publishing company. You can do without those things. Go back and remove them for us, and if we find one we shall reject you out right and send along our scathing scorn and contempt!

I envisioned in the 21st century not only flying cars, but also the form fitting silver lamé jumpsuits so we would all look sexy. But we can't even get our word processing programs to chat with one another.

Part of my first job in the Marine Corp was to build programs that bridge other programs together. I made one called Babble Fish which took data from the big computer and put it in a format that the general could understand. Keep in mind, we still had punch cards and memory was stored on 12 inch reel to reel tapes and if you needed a file drawn, you had to call the Regional Automated Service Kiosk, RASK, and sweet talk/bribe the guy on the phone to go pull a tape from the locker and mount it on the spindle, thread it through and hit start and hope the thing didn't tangle a make a nest of magnetic tape. My data was then printed out on a white and green line page that was 24 inches wide.

But that was the 20th century! A hundred years ago! Why, natives thought if you took a flash picture of them, it would steal their soul! I had to pay extra for a camera that wouldn't do that.

But now, here in the 21st century we fear the Tab button, and the blank nothing of an extra space after every sentence.

My, we've come so far.
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