No, these words & pics won’t fit in books


We just got back from the Remembrance Day Parade in town. There was a biting wind. In previous years we’ve attended the church service, but today it was enough to watch the march-past, the saluting of and by the senior officers;  to see the Mayor, aldermen, bigwigs, old soldiers and uniformed youth. We were dressed soberly, wore poppies on our lapels; consciously commemorated those who died defending our country from real  or imagined threats; listened to the Last Post played on the bugle; observed a two-minute silence; glimpsed the laying of wreaths; heard and and felt the gusts of wind through the streets, a weird roaring and moaning which shook the trees and reminded us that for all our fancy dress and posturing, untamed nature still rules. The only human sounds were restless babies. It was worth going for the dignified silence, the sense of unity, the respect, the lack of discordant incident. While hurrying home to warmth and comfort, we reassured ourselves and one another that it was worthwhile coming. We’ll go on doing it while we can. The year before last, an elderly woman laid her wreath at the war memorial in the churchyard, along with all the others. Immediately afterwards, she collapsed and died. I don’t know who she was, but it was as if she’d stayed alive by willpower for this one last deeply personal thing. Thus we construct our own meanings, in life and in death. Like those who fell, in every war.

Till yesterday I thought I’d done with blogging. The idea was to edit these writings into a series of books. It became clear that they would have to be e-books, because the colour pictures, some of them at least, were important to their author. I did at least complete the task of saving every post, and some of the comments, in a single Word document of half a million megabytes*, which I’ve called omnibus.docx. Unfortunately, it crashes quite often when edited. Even when divided into twelve parts, Kindle Direct Publishing refuses to accept it as a manuscript. Smashwords, my fallback option for e-book submission, won’t accept manuscripts more than 10mb each.

I conclude that these writings are in the right place where they are, in a WordPress blog. In any case it’s been a kind of deprivation not writing any new posts for so long. Or, to see it more positively, a fruitful retreat or sabbatical. Watch this space as more old posts appear higgledy-piggledy, spruced up with edits and fresh categories.

* erm, half a gigabyte, thanks Bryan for spotting the error (see comments)


9 thoughts on “No, these words & pics won’t fit in books

  1. Half a million megabytes!!? Surely that’s a typo (or what would you call a typo that takes place in the mind, prior to being committed to words? A thought-o?) I would think half a million bytes, if say, your blog was a jar of jellybeans on a table at a party and I had to guess for the prize. Half a million digital jelly beans is still an insane amount of jelly beans, but mega-beans!? That’s raising it 10 to the third powers. That’s 500 giga-beans. That’s more that many jelly bean jars hold altogether. (Okay, I think I’m getting fixated on this jelly bean metaphor.)

    Maybe it’s the images — even still. But it terms of text. Woof! That would be something worthy of a library out of Borges’ worst nightmares.


  2. Bryan, I blush with embarrassment. You are of course right. The true figure is just under 500,000kb = 500mb = half a gigabyte. And you’re right also that it’s the images which bump it up to this size. The text is 1% of this total.

    Yes, I like the notion of a mental typo. Politicians like to say they “misspoke” when they try to wriggle out of what they actually said. When it’s in writing, as in Tweets they wrote years ago, and come back to haunt them, I suppose they “miswrote”. But here’s an example when a politician “misdrew”: To get the flavour of this you need to know that the current logo is a “scribbled oak tree”. The image changes from time to time

    In itself, it’s a sort of childish thing, not worth the fuss imho, but it’s part of a pattern e.g. this


  3. I’d love to see your blog in a book. Your writing is always interesting, and having it in book form means I can read it at any time or place without a computer. The unfortunate side of digital images and graphics is the amount of memory they consume.


  4. Thanks Bill. Like me you prefer the old technologies: pens, typewriters, real books. But if you would invest in for example an Amazon Fire tablet, you’d be able to read any number of books, and see my blog too, because WordPress is hip to the specs of devices, adapts itself to their screen size easily; and can display content equally well in portrait or landscape.

    But again, old is better: I have a now aged Kindle keyboard with paperwhite technology, and still find it better for e-books and a set of handy dictionaries.

    Nothing beats a hardback book, though.


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