Are there still writers just in it for the fame/money?

October 25, 2011

I was listening to Storywonk Daily‘s 200th episode this morning. Lani and Alastair read an email that they’d received calling them out for taking potshots at ‘literary fiction’, and they apologized for taking out their frustration on a few snobby critics who consider anything not literary as ‘trash’ out on the whole genre. Alastair gave shoutouts to some of his favorite literary authors, and Lani said that whoever was passionate about literary fiction and inspired to write it, or loved to read it, they were a Storywonk at heart and that she’d avoid saying mean things in the future. It was all very sweet.

But something was nagging at me as I listened, and it took me a few minutes to figure out what I was thinking about. From a few places, including an article of Douglas Adams that was in ‘The Salmon of Doubt’, I’ve absorbed this meme of the literary author, (certainly not representing EVERY literary author,) who isn’t really passionate or inspired about the stories that can be told in that genre, but full of himself and just wanting to create a piece of “Literature.” (Douglas said in the article that he aspired to be literate, not literary.)

I have to admit, I’ve never really known another writer personally who I’d put into that category. And the broader bucket of ‘writers who are motivated more to be successful than by passion’ wouldn’t be unique to Lit fic – in other genres, considering the scarcity of artistic accolades, the equivalent would be someone who just wants to have written a successful blockbuster and get rich from it, instead of actually being inspired to write. I’m not sure I know anyone like that either.

Do writers like that actually exist, or are they just a cultural meme that sprang up from writers in one genre taking potshots at another?

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My problems with Presto

June 4, 2011

Here in south-central Ontario, they’ve been talking for a while about introducing ‘the Presto card’ for public transit – it’s a single plastic card with an RFID chip in it, that you can use for lots of different local bus companies and other transit agencies. It’s a good idea, and I’ve had one and been using it for nearly a year now, I think, mostly with Burlington transit buses and the GO commuter trains, because those were the systems that I used that adopted it first. I thought it worked quite well overall, but just recently I’ve hit a few annoying ‘this should be working better’ moments.

First, Hamilton Street Railway went online with Presto in May, though there wasn’t a big announcement beforehand that May 1st was the day that all those Presto readers in the bus would suddenly switch from testing-only to live. (There were a lot of general info ads about them popping up in the shopping malls and so on, but I knew that it wasn’t live on the day that I first saw an ad, so they really weren’t that helpful specifically.)

But as May came to an end, I started to wonder if I should forego getting my usual plastic monthly pass for June and just go with Presto. A bit of digging, though, revealed the following issues:

  1. It seems that to get the monthly pass price for Hamilton on Presto, you can’t just load it with money as usual and have the system cap you out once you’ve used enough money on HSR fares to equal the monthly pass price. You specifically need to buy a digital ‘monthly pass’ and have that loaded onto your Presto card.
  2. The digital monthly pass can apparently only be purchased at the HSR ticket office in the GO center on Hunter street.
  3. The HSR ticket office in the GO center on Hunter street is only open from 8 to 4 on weekdays.
  4. I work from 8 to 4 on weekdays.
  5. My job is in Burlington, at least 20 minutes away from Hunter street in Hamilton.

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