On the phone to poet Betty Adcock tonight — since there is no way to do email with her. We ended up talking about the future of books which Betty will wax romantically about as if they were coalfired steam engine. That is extolling all their vices as if they were virtues. In the case of the stream locomotives — the clouds of coaldust smoke becomes something poetic instead of a stinky burning mess, the overloud engine becomes a lullaby, the earpiercing screams of the brakes becomes a kind of music. Basically the less you see of it, smell of it, the more valuable the experience becomes — like walking uphill to school in the snow and in the summer when the streets were melted tar (as I tell my son I experienced).
Books too have many not so great sides to them. The smell that Betty talks about of an old library is the smell of the books rotting. The heft of books often an artifact of marketing and of the limits of technology — what is needed to make a binding and what the bounds that binding will allow.
Betty says she stands by what she said in our discussion that Educom published in 1998. Now I have to go back and see what we both said.