My entire life I’ve harbored a bias regarding quality in the world of writing. Even though I’ve long been a front-line journalist, I’ve believed the text in a hardbound, academic or commercially published book must somehow be superior to what’s presented in a newspaper.
For that matter, magazines were, in that measure, a degree above newspapers, but a step or two below either paperback or hardbound volumes.
In the past few years, though, that misconception has been shattered, in part because of conversations I have with one of America’s top literary voices and in part because of encounters with a host of other living authors of more mundane accomplishments.
Yes, we have every right to expect a work that requires a year or two to draft to be superior to reports written on the fly, but in some ways, that long work often turns out to be little more than a series of daily reports strung together. What turns up can be as formulaic as any pyramid-style news dispatch, and filled with more cliche and unchallenged bombast. Read carefully and you might notice a higher standard of editing in your daily paper.
What I now realize is that I had expected the books to be eternal monuments that would sit forever on public and private library shelves. I never expected them to be commodities with their own precariously short shelf life, with rare exceptions. Even public collections have only so much space and so much patience. Rarely do I find there a recommended piece I desire.
What this all comes down to is that reality that good writing is good writing, no matter the place it appears. That, in itself, is cause for celebration.
Now, for more on the newspaper dimension, there’s my Hometown News novel. Adding a further twist to this plot, though, is the fact it’s available only as an ebook.