Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Punxsutawney Prognostication

Sharon Wildwind

Monday evening some of our collection of stuffed animals left for Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania. This is their year to be part of the International Monitoring Committee for the Fair Treatment of Marmota monax, also knows as the ground hog.

As they explained it to me, their functions are to ensure that Punxsutawney Phil is gently lifted from his burrow and is not subject to scorn and abuse should he predict six more weeks of winter. They will also do quality control at a lavish tea served in Phil's honor after his public appearance. I suspect the last duty is the reason that the agreed to serve on the committee.

Zoriana, our little socialist/feminist dragon, also intends to find out why all of P. Phil’s Inner Circle, that group of caretakers so nattily attired in the tuxedos and top hats, contains no women members. But that’s a whole different story.

After tea, Phil returns to his burrow for a nap, and the International Monitoring Committee comes home in a condition that best reflects their perpetual state: stuffed.

Unless you have been sleeping with Phil—or perhaps even if you have, for all I know he has 24/7 cable news and a wi-fi connection in his burrow—you know that in the past week
1) a major electronics company unveiled a new gadget and
2) an on-line book and one of the “big six” in North American publishing went head-to-head over electronic book rights.

I will not bother to further clog the Internet with arguments and counter-arguments. They are out there for the reading.

I’ve stayed away from the more knee-jerk, inflammatory, end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it pieces in preference to thoughtful and, in most cases, contradictory analyses. I found it interesting that well-informed, intelligent people can come to such diverse conclusions, given the same set of facts from which to work.

In the end, I was reminded of my husband’s “On any given day” theory. He participates in a competitive sport, and he goes into each competition knowing that while ability, good instruction, and practice—especially practice—play a large part in who wins, on any given day, combinations of factors determines the winner. Maybe someone had a good night’s sleep and his opponent didn’t. Maybe someone is upset by a family crisis and her opponent isn’t. Maybe it’s the luck of the draw: if A meets B in the first round that may produce a different outcome than would happen if A didn’t meet B until the semi-final round.

On any given day
~when an author signs a new contract, much of that book’s future will depend on the terms included in the contract regarding both printed and digital rights management.

~having at least a basic understanding of the multiple ways in which books are published is as critical to any writer as having a basic understanding of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and story structure.

~putting all of your publishing eggs in one basket is no longer the way to go.

~there will always be a new technology, a bigger-and-better gadget, or a new publishing arrangement on the horizon. Work with what you have today and let the future take care of itself.

~if real estate is location, location, location, writing remains story, story, story. Go write, write, write.

Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
~Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Roman emperor and philosopher

Oh, my gosh! According to our blog counter, today is the 1,000 blog posted to Poe's Deadly Daughters! Happy blog day to us, Happy blog day to us. Well done, my sisters!


Sheila Connolly said...

Did I read in the paper this week that PETA or some similar organization is pushing for an electronic Phil? (Wonder what his agent has to say about that.) Obviously we can't escape technology, so we can't afford to ignore the on-line/big six brouhaha.

Julia Buckley said...

Great writing advice as always, Sharon!

signlady217 said...

1,000 blogs? Wow! That's incredible, considering what busy lives everyone has. I know I've enjoyed reading them since I discovered them last year. Keep up the good work!

Sandra Parshall said...

Congrats to us for making it to the 1,000 blog mark! Do we have enough now to go into syndication and rake in residuals? :-)

As for Phil and winter... grrrrr... I AM SICK OF WINTER. I AM SICK OF SNOW!