Thursday, March 17, 2011

At Shane's Writin' Joint, A Shelf Full of Nuthin'

That's me on the right at age 8, with my sis Marianne and our grade-school teacher, Mrs. Feely. I ran this heartwarming photo to trick you into believing I write warm and fuzzy essays, which I do not. But they are, on occasion, funny, which I hope is the case today, so that you will be amused.

By Shane Gericke

Hi, everyone, it's Shane, filling in for Our Kel, who's out charming readers today with tales of derring-do and heartfelt pleas of "Buy my book, pleeeeease, it's real good, I promissssssseeeeeee, you don't have to like it, you just have to buy it . . ."

Or perhaps I'm projecting my marketing strategies onto her . . .

Anyway. What's on my reference shelf?

Fast answer: Dust.

Slow answer: I got rid of my printed reference books several years ago. The dictionaries. The thesauruses. (Thesauri?) The style books. Stephen King's book on writing. Dean Koontz's book on writing. Folded maps for every state I've used in any of my books. All given away.

Replaced by the Internet.

I love the Internet. It's the finest author writing and research tool since Gutenberg looked at those crazy monks and said, "One at a time? WTF, dudes?" and created the printing press. (And, several centuries later, my career as a writer.) When I'm stuck, one or two clicks, and I'm in whatever reference tool I desire, in real time, real world, whether it be maps, synonyms, distances, eye colors, street photographs, names of viruses, or the language spoken in the Iraqi city of Tikrit. I can be at my desk (like now), or at my favorite coffee shop (like this morning), or on the banks of a fast-flowing river (like the other day), simultaneously writing and researching and referencing.

Looooooove it.

Those printed reference books were fine for their time. But their time has passed. The world changes at lightning speed, and only digital reference material can keep up with it.

Oh, and that language Iraqis speak in Tikrit?

Arabic is the majority. Kurdish is spoken by 20 percent of the population, Turkmen is spoken by 5-10 percent, and the rest is split among Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Shabaki, Armenian, Roma and Persian. Not to mention the scattering of Chechen, Georgian and other Caucasian languages, and the occasional "Fuck you, Charlie," in our own American English.

Yeah, I looked it up.
Shane Gericke's TORN APART was named best thriller of 2010 by Suspense Magazine, an honor that shocked his dark, cynical soul, because Shane never expects to win anything after losing that Magic Eight-Ball contest to Artie Fuller in the fourth grade, the bastid. Shane is a national bestselling thriller writer, chairman of ThrillerFest and an original member of International Thriller Writers Inc., but he still cuts his own grass, dammit, cause he's humble that way. Read all about him at 


Meredith Cole said...

So great to see you back here, Shane! Thanks for subbing for the fabulous (and extraordinarily busy) Kelli today.

I love the internet too, but I just can't give up the paper. But more about that tomorrow...

Lois Winston said...

Hey, Shane, welcome back! Like Meredith, I can't give up the paper, either. And there are actually times when I find it faster to grab a book off the shelf than start surfing the 'net. I do find I'm using cyber reference sources more and more, though, especially to find circumstance appropriate phrases for Ralph the Shakespeare quoting parrot to squawk.

Shane Gericke said...

Ralph the Shakespeare-quoting parrot is an excellent reason to buy ultra-high-speed Internet, Lois. With that, I could waste even more time not writing than I already do!

Thanks, Meredith, a delight to see your (and all y'all your) smilin' face here. I miss you guys.

I used to think I couldn't give up paper, and that's true for reading--I don't have a Kindle cause I prefer books. But reference stuff, I gave up happily.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Ah, Shane! Glad to have you back!

A lot of my reference stuff isn't out there yet. Obscure diaries from the 1930s. Defunct German newspapers.

But enough stuff is out there for me to gleefully waste too much time "researching!"

Joshua Corin said...

But Shane, what if your internet crashes? Will you do as I do and take a magnifying glass to your modem to see if you can read all the internet that way?

Shane Gericke said...

Ah, Josh, the Internets will never crash. How else would America get its porn and celebrity news???

(And, I did put one lil' ol' dictionary in a box just in case I ever need it. But shhh, don't tell anyone!)