Visiting the Page

I got to thinking this morning what it means to me to be a writer and whether what it means for you is all that far different. Who are we writers? Why do we bother, when some 5,000 books a day are published and millions of blogs as well? The chances of being heard in all that noise is like humming at a rock concert. Yet we do it. Week after week and year after year, we do it. I think of my work as visiting the page.

For me, it seems like the beginning of a conversation and if there's one thing I love to do, it's spin out thoughts to friends and encourage them to respond. Ah, you say, but friends are a smaller group yet and of course you are right.

So I settle for the several hundred readers who may see my work on a regular basis and imagine them as an audience standing before me. The only thing lacking is a question-and-answer period and I miss that the most of all. It's difficult to have a conversation all by yourself at the keyboard, a little like singing in the shower, but I imagine one and try to write as if it were happening.

If I'm lucky, it does happen. If I'm lucky, there's not the blind agreement of an audience sitting through a lecture, but argument in its best meaning. Conversation, when it works and is meaningful, is argument--the back-and-forth that changes minds on both sides, or at least makes us thoughtful of another position.

For you, I don't know if what I've said resonates or not. So argue with me. I'd love it, eager to listen and learn.

Chop Shop: The Deconstruction of America

Non-Fiction Book

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Book by Jim Freeman
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(15.24 x 22.86 cm)


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Does the evening news make you question what happened to your America? Can this possibly be the nation that spent more than two centuries crafting itself into the strongest, most envied and productive country on Earth?

Chop Shop is a refreshingly ironic and down-to-earth analysis that makes clear the origins and responsibility for an unprecedented Deconstruction of America. The past four of our forty-four presidents treated this country like a stolen car, selling it off in parts, plunging the nation toward mediocrity and the loss of personal freedom. The past two administrations increased that momentum and Freeman sees us with our backs against the wall. He argues that we either restore our constitutional legacy, both physically and intellectually, or lose the necessary energy to rebuild our dynamic republic.

Without being a rant against liberals or conservatives, Chop Shop flags the many stops along a route that dumped us at this point, confused and at each others' throats. We all share equally in the blame for that deconstruction. The book demands we look at America as it is, without the comfort or distraction of finger pointing.

First steps forward require an understanding of what went before. Chop Shop uses that structural history, from its 19th century origins, to understand this threat to American society. We thus far have failed to do that and are losing it all in ignorance. The time is short. The impact is enormous and undeniable. Freeman states the case with enough humor and sense of irony to make the read, if not a pleasant journey, certainly an informative one.

Reader Reviews


E-books and the Concept of a Book

I ran across an interesting video the other day, Brian Felson’s conversation with book designer Joel Friedlander. The title was How eBooks Do Violence to the Concept of a Book and it wasn’t as confrontational as you might think. Felson is the CEO of Bookbaby and they are in the business of formatting and distributing e-books, so he has a dog in that hunt. The thrust of Joel’s comment was that new technology always tries initially to look like the old stuff it replaces, then catches its breath and moves into its own space.

It’s an excellent point. The first automobiles were ‘horseless carriages’ and essentially just an engine mounted in a carriage. Then came the Model T and now the hot cars of today. Hollywood began by filming stage plays.

I am not yet a fan of e-books, although all my books are offered in that format as well as print. I like to feel a book in my hands and turn pages and having invested the time in reading a book, I still like to put it up on the shelf and feel myself surrounded by books. Now, a Kindle or iPad can store upwards of three thousand books in a machine. No ‘library’ in the common sense of the term, but I guess you can still settle down with an e-reader in front of a crackling fire. I own a Kindle, but don’t use it much. I’ve seen friends’ iPads and admit the reading experience is much friendlier, but haven’t yet laid out the cash.

Now that I’ve established my point of view, here’s why I will no doubt someday become an e-reader owner. First, they will evolve as the Model T did to the BMW Z3, morphing into a number of designs from carryable to models for stay at home readers. Plus, e-books are also instantly delivered and cheaper, but the clincher will probably be the agony of lugging cases of books from home to home. Last time I moved it took 26 cases to transport 900 books and they are still not properly ordered on the shelves four years after the move. E-books can be cross-referenced on an e-reader as they’re purchased. Pretty smooth.

I’m a cautious and probably future owner, but not yet convinced enough to dive into the pool. And even then, I’ll probably continue to lug around the books I already own, just for the sheer joy of their ambiance.