A Generation on the Way Out

Last week saw the passing of David Carr and this week we get the news of Oliver Sacks’ imminent passing {ny times}. Seems like we’re losing so many great thinkers.

And leave it to Oliver Sacks himself to say it so much more eloquently than me:

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate—the genetic and neural fate—of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

Copyright, Art & Books

Read this article by Cory Doctorow on Salon for a fresh take on where today’s creators are and where they’re going in the new digital economy. I hadn’t heard of this:

Do you remember when the Authors Guild sued Google over Google Book Search, which is basically the right to make an index of stuff in books? They said to Google, “If you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it on our terms, and you’re going to have to give us a whole $70 million. And we want to establish that we’re not saying that it’s legal to do this for anybody. You have to come negotiate with us first, and next time the price might be higher!”

Google said, “$70 million? Let’s shake the sofa and find some change for you.” Meanwhile, you are guaranteeing that nobody else in the future history of the world will be able to afford to index books, which is one of the ways people find and buy books. Now Google owns that forever, for a mere $70 million! Nice work, Authors Guild. You’ve just made us all sharecroppers in Google’s fields for the rest of eternity.

Artists Who Make You Work Harder

You know the kind: $millionaires by age twenty-one. Inventors of life-saving drugs by age thirteen.

People who make you want to buckle down and to get to work.

Amanda Hocking’s story {npr} is like that. An excerpt:

So she quit [her job] to pursue her dream. That was in 2008, and Hocking had almost a dozen novels on her computer. She sent manuscripts to more than 50 literary agents. She got a lot of form-letter rejections back, one after another. Sorry, they’d say, it’s not the right kind of thing for us.

She wrote and rewrote, edited and re-edited, but still no one was interested in publishing her work. On a whim, she decided to self-publish a few of her books online for anyone to download. She waited.

Her books aren’t my cup of tea, but kudos for figuring this out!