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Has Electronic Life wiped out Books?

I recently read an article about Jacqueline Wilson (link) and amongst the views attributed to her was that she believed that “Electronic life has wiped out books.” This seems like a strong statement but what is the truth behind it? According to the Washington Post (link) there has been over a 16% decline in adults who read at least one literary work per year from 1982 to 2015 from just under 57% to 43.1%. I find that quite shocking as the percentage in 1982 already seems low. 
Apparently there are more things to amuse us nowadays. With our smartphones we can surf the web or read our emails, play games or watch more television programs. I am a fan of television series and do watch a number of films and programs a week but one important thing I find with the cinematic art form is that while it may exercise your brain with issues brought to the fore, it doesn’t drive your imagination.

Surely imagination is the well spring for creativity. Without imagination our whole society would struggle to function. How would we develop, how would we grow without that capacity to think what would be and then working out how to get there? And surely books are the playground for that creativity.

I’m not saying that books are the only playground for any of the creative arts will do that. Sculpture, basket weaving, drama, embroidery, painting, etc.. are all pastimes that will drive the imagination. But when we simply hover over what I would call static detail, that which is fixed and cannot be changed, then our imagination will die.

I don’t think Jacqueline Wilson is totally right, well, not yet. But she certainly has hit the nail on the head with how things are heading.

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What’s your Favourite Book Den?

You love reading but you need to find that place where you can be surrounded by books, where you know you are in the book zone, the go away and leave me zone, the no disturbance zone, the promise of more books zone (and if you’re me the joy of having coffee on tap as well zone!). Let me wet your appetite with a few quality choices.

Sleeping bag at the ready and cosied up amongst all your books. Walls of books but I ain’t so sure about the light in there.

Carpetlessleprechaun Rating: 7/10


A classy look and feel with the rug compensating for the cool wooden floor. Some good natural daylight to read with and a blazing fire to sit in front of – although that looks like a fake! And how do you reach those books at the top, I’d need Indy with his lassoe.

Carpetlessleprechaun Rating: 6/10

Well the colours aren’t the greatest but there is a ladder here to get to the high books. Also a secret compartment which to hide those nefarious books (Necronomicon perhaps?). TV in case you want to compare the movie with the book. However not overly cosyand a bit dull really.

Carpetlessleprechaun Rating: 7/10

Slanty! I really love this piece of furniture, funky and unusual but to be honest whats with these wooden floors. Cold, cold, cold. And that seat’s a bit bland to sit at, no recline option I think!

Carpetlessleprechaun Rating: 5/10

Yes, it’s /a library but it’s a blooming nice one. Love that staircase and the lounging chairs on the left. Definitely a place of quiet and relaxation but I wonder what their coffee rules are? And if you nod off and snore?

Carpetlessleprechaun Rating: 7/10

Bit of a couples corner and I don’t mean you and a book. Maybe depends on your partner, if they read or not. And those blasted wooden floors again.

Carpetlessleprechaun Rating: 6/10

Now we’re talking. Who cares what else is there and I might even sacrifice the coffee for a cool beer! Unfortunately I live in the Hebrides so this is a total pipe dream. But it’s a sweet dream.

Carpetlessleprechaun Rating: 9/10

So what tickles your fancy here. Let me know by commenting below. And happy reading wherever you are!

G R Jordan, the Carpetlessleprechaun

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Genre or not to Genre?

Do you read a specific genre? If so, why? Why do we limit ourselves by looking only for books within a certain style, storyline or feel? I came to think about this because my novels tend to move across genres. Take “Crescendo!”, the first in my Austerley & Kirkgordon series. It has certain Lovecraftian throwbacks to it, so obviously it’s horror. But hang, it is set in the real world with a number of fantastical creatures and happenings in it. Ah, I hear you cry, its Urban Fantasy. Well, yes, but… It also has plenty of action and adventure in it too. And also investigators who have been described as old fashioned cop show buddies in that they can’t stand the sight of each other.

It’s hard boxing things in in real life too. Working in the emergency services, you have standard protocols and procedures but everyone will tell you there is no standard job. And in life there are no standard people. Variety and complexity is what makes life the vibrant maelstrom it is. And thank goodness, otherwise we would be board senseless by it.

Romance? Well maybe, but also fantasy and adventure

When I was writing “Surface Tensions” I was fortunate enough to have a group fund a developmental review of it. On its return to me, I was informed that it needed a serious plot change as the romance genre required a certain path to be followed. But surely the reader would see this coming? Do we really want to have the same things replayed to us. I understand seeking the same feel. I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series but I wouldn’t ever accuse him of simply replaying the same story even if his initial devices were similar in their instrumentation.

Terry Prachett – never simply repeating

Maybe I’m just too eclectic. I’d rather take stories in all shapes and sizes. Some I may like, some maybe not, but at least I won’t be bored into a rut. Let us all be eclectic and to the blazes with genre!

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What do you Burn?

This week, our environmental (certainly by comparison with the devices that formerly heated our house) wood pellet boiler stopped. In classic comic timing, it also stopped just as we started to get frost on the ground. Through insight, or possibly sheer luck, we have a back-up stove which is capable of heating our whole house but with coal. Quickly it was brought into action while we waited until Monday to call the fitters to remedy our problem.
Whilst the whole episode was a pain in the behind, it got my old ticker thinking: How do you keep the writing fire burning? I’m not talking about writer’s block but rather making sure the fuel is there in the back boiler of the mind so that the creative burning processes up front are not starved! How does one ensure an ever ready supply of ideas and situations to colour our minds?
Writing, by its nature, can be such a solitary pursuit. Ideas are often rampaging around our heads while the outside world is blissfully unaware of the turmoil inside. So I tried to distil what it is that supplies the fuel to myself. I have come up with three items, which are by no means the only sources available. They just happen to be the uptakes that I require the most.

1. Observation – Just sitting and watching people. A dangerous pursuit to be sure and one best achieved at a distance. The stories of lives generated in my head by looking at people’s actions without knowing their purpose is like my own personal mine. And its being attacked with charges, not pick-axes! Sometimes I can sit for an hour or two happily telling the story of the blank canvas in front of me. It’s similar to when they made the old cartoons. There were different layers in each frame, one of which was just the character on its own. This is what I see and my mind fills in the background. No doubt it would be a disturbing reveal to the poor subject of my thoughts! Little did they realise they were hiding from the spawn of an ancient demon, summoned by a cult of long and twisted history!

2. Read Real Life – There is nothing weirder than real life. If I think of all the bizzare fictional stories I have read, none compare to the weird happenings we get in real life. So sometimes it is justified to read those trashy tales in either glitzy magazines or the obscure “enquirers”. Often when I come up with an idea that I think is either unique, or just !way out there”, a review of things I have read within the last six months shows where that idea came from. There is nothing new under the sun it seems!

3. New Places – For atmosphere and ambience creativity, you cannot beat a trip to somewhere you have never been. It doesn’t need to be exotic, nor popular. This is because it’s the little details that you pick up and use in another vista that matters. Like cartoonists we build layer upon layer with our locations, each frame drawn from something we have seen, smelt, touched, tasted or heard. Like how even the sea air varies depending on which beach you are on. A little change does you good!
These are my three bags of coal, lumps of wood or pellets to burn. What are yours?

Originally posted 29 November 2014 on Blogspot

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Looking for Myself I found a Zombie!

It was an exciting time to say the least. I had just sent my first e-Book to the publisher and it was then winging its way through the ether to various platforms, to be uploaded for purchase. Eagerly I got onto my favourite search engine and typed in the various sites using my name as a search. Well what a palava! One site has me lobbed in with Laurel and Hardy and other comedy classics. Another has me in with a baseball prospectus. But the absolute best was one that did indeed have my book and another of an apparently “similar” read beside it. The similar read was the sixth in a series all about zombies! My book: a book of poetry taking you through four of life’s emotions.

So I thought, can I get a proper cross over out of this. Do I publish the long awaited poetry book – Zombie life: The Four Primary Emotions? And what would they be? Well hunger for one! Could I manage such delicate material as the insatiable desire for the human brain? “Hair in my Pudding” comes to mind as a good title. Actually taking that through to its logical conclusion that puts us bald people more at risk. Disturbing! Other titles: “Why do I feel like I’m always in second gear?”, or, “My Sprinting Days Behind Me”. “Arm Ache Blues” also leaps out as a promising title. But I settled with this, see what you think?

I’m Stuck with this Moaning Crowd
I’ve got in with a really bad crowd,
Indeed sometimes they can be just so damn loud,
But it’s not like they party til dawn,
Instead they just drone on and on.
We all dance in the same stupid fashion,
Arms outstretched is our popular passion.
We all seek to be first at the head
But that’s where it’s at when you’re dead.
If you’re new and wonder how to begin,
We’ll all surround you and help you fit in.
If you keep pace with us through the night,
It’s farewell at the first sign of light!
Think I’ll stick with the living, it’s got fresher subjects!
Four Life Emotions is my book of non-horror poetry.
Posted originally on blogspot: 5th June 2014