I’m making slow progress in recovering from the recurrence of pancreatitis. If you’re interested, a new page that I had scheduled went live this morning; it’s a brief autobiography by myself. Yesterday saw a record number of hits on the blog, topping 100 comfortably. It seems that I must be doing something right! Saturday, the blog will be worth a visit: there will be an interview with the successful Australian thriller writer, Chris Allen, who has led a rather remarkable life.
Talking About Software: Calibre
Calibre has to be one of the most useful free programs out there! It is a great library manager for books, especially ebooks. Apart from maintaining more than one library, you can update the metadata for your books/ebooks, either by entering the details yourself or by searching for the metadata online. You can change covers, convert ebooks to different formats and even use the built in eReader (though that can do some odd things at times). Personally, I have three libraries: all ebooks and books I own, a Kindle library for my wife’s eReader and a kobo library for my own eReader. As a matter of fact, Calibre is far superior to kobo’s desktop app, which doesn’t permit adding ebooks from sources other than kobo. One of the most important things is that Calibre is easy to use, being very intuitive. There are some clever things that you can do with it, but those do involve learning more.
I can’t recommend Calibre highly enough!
An Insider’s View of the Author’s Mind
It can be argued that authors of fiction are, by their very nature, prolific liars. Where anybody else might have the occasional flight of fancy, inventing an event to impress another or others, an author uses very much the same process to create short stories or novels. Whether they limit it to writing is entirely a facet of their individual character. Personally, I have always tended to find that writing suffices to express my Walter Mitty tendencies. That said, I have been known, in the past, to sit with my children (when they were still little) and simply make up a story for them, revolving around some place that they knew. One such tale took an episodic form, being related while we sat outside where my wife works, waiting for her to finish for the day. There’s a twinge of regret that those times were not recorded, but then that might have destroyed the specialness of them.
So then, a great liar sits down and commits their inventiveness to “paper” (meaning anything from a scrap of paper to a computer), where it begins to gain a life of its own. There may be some kind of plan behind it, or it may just flow freely, with the author being ignorant of exactly where it’s heading. Whichever, the result remains one huge, complex lie! And that’s where the author-liar has an advantage over the ordinary liar: their lies are recorded and so they rarely ever find themselves embarrassed by making a fatal slip; that dread moment when the ordinary, everyday lie is suddenly exposed. Perhaps the most remarkable thing is how what is a limited ability in an ordinary liar is, in the author, transformed into something which may be sustained and enlarged upon for a significant length of time, even through interruptions.
(I’m given to wonder whether the minstrels of the past, who toured villages and towns, bearing news and tall tales, were of like kind to the author, or whether they were, as it were, the “books” wherein the inventive genius of others was carried virtually verbatim. Perhaps there were two types: the carrier and the inventor-liar. It’s a pity that we can’t discover the truth of it.)
Perhaps, with this view of the author as an inveterate liar, our view of lying as being necessarily immoral should change. Of course lies can be destructive. We all know that. But perhaps it is the intent or purpose behind the creation of the lie which should determine whether it is immoral or not. If, in some future time, people were so conditioned that it became psychologically impossible for them to even construct a lie. Would that society be without any new authors of fiction? It’s an unhappy thought.