New literary landscape


It seems to me that the modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio, in the old forms of the Renaissance or of any other past culture. Each age finds its own techniques.
                                                                                                               — Jackson Pollock

Visited the Abstract Expressionist New York exhibit at the AGO last week where these words of Jackson Pollack were mounted on a poster at the entrance.

The legendary American artists of the 1940s and ’50s responded to the seismic shifts of the 20th century by inventing an exciting new language of art, collectively known as abstract expressionism. They turned out paintings and sculptures in a wide range of styles — from Pollock’s agitated “drip” paintings to Mark Rothko’s bold fields of colour and Franz Kline’s dramatic black-and-white statements — that changed the course of modern art.

As Pollock said, each age finds its own techniques. The art of our age has been profoundly shaped by the computer and the Internet. The literary arts have moved in new directions just by the fact that writers now have a vast storehouse of information at their fingertips. The old maxim Write what you know no longer holds true when writers can travel the world via Google Earth, zoom into a neighbourhood and see actual streets and what’s on them. Writers can contact experts and have their questions answered within hours.

And the way in which people communicate over the Internet have become writers’ tools. Writers are telling their stories in the form of emails and blogs, and they’ll snap up other forms as they develop. They’re writing their work on computers and now marketing it over the Internet.

Readers can order traditional print books over the Internet or download  electronic books onto their computers, their smartphones, their e-readers and their iPads. E-book sales are growing by leaps and bounds. BookStats, a U.S. publishing industry survey, found that 114 million e-books were sold last year, an increase of 1,039% since 2008; in contrast to this, 603 million trade hardcover books, both fiction and non-fiction, were sold in 2010, a 5.8% increase since 2008. Amazon recently said it’s selling 105 electronic books for every 100 printed ones.

A whole new literary landscape is out there, and I’m going to be part of it when   comes out as an e-book and in paperback at the end of this year or early in 2012. Very, very exciting!

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About rosemarymccracken

Rosemary McCracken is a Toronto-based journalist and fiction writer.
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