One Great (Virtual) Leap Forward
I have decided that the British seasons are like one of those fairground Big Dipper rides... antalisingly sluggish to the top of a steep climb (that's winter), then whizzing down the slope on the other side (that's May-Oct) at a hundred times the speed. We are in that whizzing bit now and I want it to slow down. I don't know where April went. It passed in a blink. I got drunk on all that sunshine. I did things like GARDENING. (I never garden). I also, finally, mustered the confidence (the sun has multifarious beneficial effects) to acquire my first IPHONE. It is the very latest model, sleek and white and I know it is just a question of time before I sit on it or drop it. Until then, it has produced several radical changes to my humdrum life. Namely:
- I get glances of respect from my twentysomething sons, wondering if I might not be a Lost Cause after all.
- I embark on car journeys to new places without the terror of getting lost.
- I can listen to the latest Bruno Mars single (it is the only track I have downloaded) at any time, though doing so does tend to interrupt those glances of filial respect (see above).
- Most significantly of all, I have downloaded a book onto it. ME - downloaded a BOOK! Now. I have nothing against downloads, kindles or any other aspect of e-publishing.... how can an author NOT want her books to be enjoyed in all forms possible??!!! But I have made no secret of the fact that I still prefer to read the hard versions, for reasons which I know many romantic traditionalists share with me: Books smell nice. They are enjoyable to hold and handle. They develop character. They are containers and triggers for all the memories of life lived during the course of the reading. They look very fine on shelves, especially (in my view) if visibly a little beaten up from the attention they have received.
So, in the small world of this writer, downloading a book onto an iphone 5 is something of a momentous event. I haven't read the work in question yet. It is, shall we say, a very "commercial" title, picked primarily out of competitive curiosity, not something I expect to want to keep on a shelf for reasons of posterity or anything else. But I like the 'virtual' look of it, sitting on the 'virtual' shelf, behind the little icon of an open book. It's neat and natty. I shall save it for a long train journey when I have finished the crossword and don't want to disturb the person sitting next to me by rummaging for more solid reading matter. It's like having a glossy magazine still in its plastic wrapper, or a snack to ward off a future attack of the munchies. Yes, I am very happy to have taken possession of my first virtual book.