Thesis

Digital Exile.

An extreme definition: An Artist of some variety – specifically a poet or story teller – who turns his back on the established publishing houses to become a part of the clutter and chaos that is the Internet. I.E. Someone who posts their work online free to all who would read it. A form of guerrilla publishing.

This term will likely never turn into the literary movement I envision. It is not the nature of writers to throw away an opportunity for a by-line, never mind a pay check. Not even I am willing to do that. But I do like the name. I think it’s probably more applicable to the community of writers at large. Any starving artist who must cast his lot in with the throngs of other online artists, all of whom hope to be the next bestselling author, is a Digital Exile. It is applicable to all of us. We might as well acknowledge it. Getting published has always been tough. Nothing new there. The creation and subsequent evolution of the Internet has made it a million (or more) times more difficult. This is bad for the writer and the publisher.

We want to hold our submitted works or our novels in our hands. We want our names on the covers and our tales on a shelf so they can acquire that beloved old book smell. We want to hand down those dusty books bearing our own names to our grandchildren. We don’t want a simple stream of data to load into the same computers we used to write that stream. We want our art – both individually and the greater art form- recognized in the face of advancing technology, not marginalized by it.

Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, Stein, Dos Passos, Ford, and Joyce had the fortune to live in a time when they could correspond or gather around tables in a Parisian cafe’. We have so many areas to gather online that I believe these forums further dilute the writer as an individual. We need small, exclusive groups of writers to rally to when we have ideas or receive rejections. Intimate groups who are open and constructive and above all passionate and committed. We need our own tables in Paris.

This is my blog. This is an argument for a greater common identity among today’s writers. This is Digital Exile.

– Christopher Floyd

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