In This Great Future...

I was one of the first in line for a library copy of William Gibson's third novel in the Bigend series, Zero History.  Gibson is a brilliant futurist.  But having finished God is an Englishman, I found that I wasn't ready for Zero History.  For now, at least, I am weary of the future.  I picked up instead Alexander Fullerton's WWII sea novel, A Share of Honour, which had come in through interlibrary loan, letting Zero History go to the next hold.

Michael Winerip wrote a column in the NYT last year, Aging by Megabyte, that continues to speak to me about growing old in the new digital culture.
Somewhere between the cellphone and BlackBerry, I stopped. I pay my bills by mail, not online. I listen to music on a CD, not an iPod. I e-mail, I don't I.M. or friend people on Facebook or Twitter.
Winerip is a little older than I am.  For me, the disconnect is touch-screen technology.  Pushing pictures around on a screen is to me the ultimate subversion of text.  But it's relative.  There are still die-hard command-line types who won't go near a graphical user interface at all.

I think that I need fiction now as an anchor, to bind me to the past, to nourish my roots.  I have supplied the needs of enough older readers to know that it is natural, as I draw closer to the age of 60, (I'm 56 now).

It puts me in mind of of the Mitford series of novels by Jan Karon, which were enormously popular with my readers at the senior residential communities when I ran the bookmobile service back in the '90's.  They are about the life and times of Father Tim, an Episcopal rector in a small North Carolina village, far from the stress of modern life, a southern Lake Woebegone.

I recall an old woman, her husband deceased, living at Casa Calderone apartments, (affiliated with the Co-Cathedral here), who, upon my delivery of the latest Mitford installment, said to me with such longing, "I wish I could go live there!"  I begin to understand her.

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