Once upon a time, a picture was was worth a thousand words. No less. And no more. But today your image may only garner a twelve word tweet, and your selfie snare no more than a ‘like’ before they both disappear in the tsunami, never to be seen again.
Swamped by images, submerged in videos, we swim, and sink, and drown, in a mind-numbing 4D-HD interactive multimedia maelstrom. We mute the TV to flick absent-mindedly through our friends’ timelines – a day passes before we blink, a week before we draw breath – as celebrities mutter silent inanities in the background. We pause the cliff-hanger to marshall our army of emoji, dispatching them to poke, to prod, and to provoke, afraid of being held hostage by indifference.
“Video killed the radio star!” they say. “Pics or it didn’t happen!”
Boxset and Blockbuster. Selfie and Snap. YouTube. Netflix. Insta… They clamour ceaselessly for our attention. Image has usurped imagination, impoverishing a generation, enslaving them. We see visions (trademarked), we dream dreams (copyrighted). We do not own them, and we never will.
These pages are a celebration of something simpler… and infinitely more complex. Of twenty-six symbols and their endless patterns. Of pictures they paint on the inside of living skulls. Of those arrangements of words which distract us from our lives for an hour – those which bring laughter, or tears, those which kindle desire, and heal loss. There are such words, in poetry and prose, which can scorch the soul and change the course of human history.
I am a storyteller. These pages are mine, and yours too, if you like to write, or need to read. Over time they will be populated with thoughts and feelings, on writers and writing, on books and authors, on inspiration and creativity. On truth and lies.