Blueprint for Transition

Can we quit our crowing and our bleating now? And can we plug our ears with beeswax to avoid the sirensong still luring the simpleton to islands of Old or New media? As if the waters were treacherous and we had to pick one safe shore.

Enough of the cocksure arrogance of those who’ve crossed over and love to laud the superiority of tomorrow’s technologies and how e- trumps print and how hard beats soft. Enough moral superiority by romantics who “love the smell of paper” and who,  too timid to get their feet wet, reminisce about the heyday and the old lands of yesteryear’s media ways.

Yawn. Enough already.

Set sail!

It’s not this island OR that one. Old Media OR New Media. Print VERSUS Electronic.

It’s about the journey, dammit. About transitions from one place to another (and back, perhaps), or one state of mind to another (and anywhere else, perhaps). It’s about leaving home and knowing you can return. It’s about the journey and the maker. Not what form the words arrive in, but where you will allow them to take you. What will you make of them and with them?

It’s not about the stage of the industry’s transition from one format of book or journalism to another. It’s about our ability to transition and to find new lands in old ways. Or ancient places with fresh vessels. It’s about an odyssey that takes us home. And about being AT home.

No more of This OR That medium, I say.

This AND That = More. Of Me. Of My Creativity. And of Yours.

And so this morning in bed in her traditional Lao wooden house on stilts, this South African read the New York Times via subscription on her iPad, and saw a story about a 174-year-old photographic printing process. Within five minutes she had researched the technique, paid for and received a book about cyanotype from London, and was planning the printing of digital images and physical objects onto handwoven silk.

The ironies abound. For cyanotype printing really is a blueprint (geddit?) about placing a negative image on treated paper – or fabric or glass… (See where this is going?) We embrace the negative afresh. And we transition from the dark room out into the light where the heat and glare will bake a new old thing that lasts.

When I’m done, I’ll take a pic and share it with you through the ether. Or come on over and sit comfy on the cushions I plan to make with my silk on which impermanent leaves from this Oriental garden have been perpetuated. Perhaps one day, high in an apartment on a New York shore, I’ll rest back against those silk cushions and reminisce about this life in Laos, or silken leaves will prop e-reader and I up as I learn some new skill online to take me ever forward into the fulfillment of my past.

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