I was driving home from Kentucky last week and, while listening to NPR, heard an interview with noted opera stars Andrea Bocelli and Placido Domingo. These two tenors were putting on a show in Washington, D.C.–Bocelli singing and Domingo conducting–and were asked if they owned iPods. Both replied that they did and Bocelli said that he has opera from A to Z on his. Domingo, though, had a different response:
“I’m very happy that people can put so much music in such a little thing, but it scares me so much,” Domingo says. “I’ve been recording for 40 years now; how is it possible that my whole career can be in a little thing like this?” –from NPR.org
Maybe it’s just me, but I found this statement very profound. With the remarkable advances we have made in technology, I could write books for the next seventy years and all of them could be contained on something so small that I might lose it changing out the contents of my pockets. It’s a bit disconcerting to realize that all the hours I spend planning, writing, rewriting, polishing, submitting, waiting, hoping, dreaming, and starting over could be boiled down to a series of ones and zeroes neatly contained in something smaller than one of my fingers. Placido Domingo’s entire life, to paraphrase his fear, can be reduced to one very small object. I realize that art, in any form, is much greater than the physical (or electronic) space it takes up, but I still have mixed feelings when I hold up my flash drive or even laptop and realize how many hours of toil are contained within. I realize this is silly on my part, but in striving to create something larger than life, we artists are relying on science to make our work smaller and smaller. At what point does our labors, those of the artistic community, pale in comparison to those of the technological community. At what point does science become the true art?
That said, I’m continuing to edit the rough draft of Superhero and will hopefully have it ready to send out to my readers by Christmas. It’s a slow process, but I hope it will produce a cleaner manuscript than I started with on Dead and Dying. In light of my current involvement in self-editing, I will probably postpone my Christmas short story project until next year, with the exception of the one story I finished, which I will post on here at some point in the coming weeks.