When a Novel Tries Too Hard…

I’m reading a novel that was recommended by a publisher as one to read for style for current submissions. Okay, I get that the setting might call for a bit more media exposure than a normal plot, but, to me, it’s trying way too hard to be current.

Facebook, Twitter, iPads, Youtube – even political issues – are mentioned practically on every page (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration). I know some people think these things should be included in contemporary novels and feel let down if they’re not, but, for me it’s way over the top in this book. Other than that, it’s well written and I’ve picked up some pointers on character development. So perhaps it’s just a sign I’m not that into contemporary reading these days. I may turn to more historical novels and write another one of my own (Letters on Balboa Island takes place in the 1950s/60s).

For one thing, I read to not only get inspired as a writer, but to escape. I’m not a technophobe. I started my career in printing/publishing on my first computer in the late ’70s and 23 of those years were in Silicon Valley. But I do think we’re overdoing it in ways we should not be doing it.

Check out these articles and video – yes, Youtube is my friend and I do some Twitter – best to manage what works for us instead of letting it manage us. Don’t try to do it all. Besides, it’ll all change in the future.

Former Facebook Exec on the Damaging Effects of Social Media

Quit Social Media

Seeking the Lost Art of Growing Old with Intention (don’t have to be “old” to find this useful)



California Screaming (#poem)

Tom Petty sings about it, where life is messy
A world without dads and cold spaghetti
The California dream has its limitations
In a land of make believe and illusions

They looked at me with awe and envy
I couldn’t complain, every day was Thanksgiving
Seen through their eyes beyond their reach
Me living a perfect life at the beach

It came as a surprise when I realized
My dad was not my dad but a dad in disguise
I had to smile and hide my real feelings
Wondering about my “real” dad and if I had other siblings

Years later I found him with other children
They didn’t want to know me for I had been hidden
Don’t believe what they say when you’re California dreaming
You might just end up California screaming