A History Lesson by Susan Lute

I could have been anything in the world. A geologist. An architect. A commercial artist. A piano player. Not a singer. That would be painful for everyone listening. A painter. A historian. A teacher. A hairdresser. Not a doctor. The list is endless, and I’m bored already, which is why I eventually chose to become a nurse to pay the bills, and later fell into writing to feed my creativity.

I love collecting information. Especially information that most have forgotten, or is so hard to dig up, it’s nearly impossible to find. So when I was thinking about this week’s post, I thought how fun it would be to go back to the beginning of the written word and follow it forward to digital publishing. So here goes.

In the beginning…pictures were painted on cave walls. Later, the Sumerians made tokens inscribed with pictures. These tokens were pressed into clay to keep a record of cattle, grain and land transactions (remember those days?). Then came cuneiform, pictographs drawn with a reed stylus by scribes. Akkadian became the first Semitic language. In the forth millennium BC, the first alphabet morphed into Egyptian hieroglyphics, representing sounds, drawn on papyrus. There are the Archaic scripts, the Aramaic square scripts.

Somewhere along the way, either simultaneously or independently, alphabets were developed in the Indus Valley, and by the Olmecs and Mayans. Fast forward to the biblical scrolls, the Greek, Roman (and wax tablets), Gothic, and Italic alphabets. Soon came parchment. Monks hand-scribed books for the nobility.

Paper was developed in China. The quill and the Gutenberg Press made their appearance. Rag paper, made from recycled clothing from the Great Plague (this makes me wince a little), became readily available, making mass production of books possible. The first printed bible was handed out (a wished you were there moment?). The pencil was developed in the 1790’s in France. And then one day, along came the typewriter, mass-market novels, the word processor, the computer, and now digital books and the hand-held reader.

Doesn’t all this make you scratch your head and wonder if the ancient, advanced civilizations of Atlantis, and its predecessor, Lemuria had their own written language?

All along this historic journey, there have been story tellers. Words strung together can make me laugh or cry. So no, I’m not an archeologist or art restorationist. I’m a writer.

It’s a new world out there. How many of you have a reader on the bookshelf along with your stacks and stacks of books? I think I’ll be putting one on my Christmas list.

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About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on October 2, 2011, in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. My 77 year old mother has a Kindle now and she loves it. Not just for reading, but also for playing Scrabble…or a form of it πŸ˜€

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  2. I wouldn’t survive traveling without the Kindle app on my iPhone. I read fast, so I used to end up carrying five books in my carry-on.

    Having an e-reader has been a huge boon.

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  3. Yes, yes, I’m an elephant in many ways, but the future of publishing is looking so brand new, I think it’s breathing new life into writer’s dreams of being published.

    Kim, I’m thinking the NookColor will come down in price when the Fire hits the shelves πŸ˜€

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  4. I embraced it with passion. And now am drooling over the Kindle Fire. All I love in Kindle but shiny. πŸ˜€ Su, I’m so proud and thrilled with how far you’ve come. I still like to tease you about where you were just over a year ago. Love ya!

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  5. You’re not the last hold out. We have an IPAD which is actually Dan’s. I keep downloading books to it. He doesn’t understand why he has a copy of Jane’s Long March Home or even (I”m sorry to say) any of my books.

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  6. Maggie, it’s a wonder what we do for our marriages, right? πŸ˜€ I’m probably the last hold out, but I’m definitely putting a reader on my Christmas list. Either the NookColor, or the new Kindle Fire. I’m waiting for the final specs to come out. Don’t think I can get rid of my print books though. The Mr is planning ceiling to floor bookshelves for me in the remodel πŸ˜€

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  7. I’ve had a Nook for a little over two years now and it has saved my marriage. With each move, my DH and I would fight over giving away books. If I had my way, I’d keep every book I’ve ever read. They are like friends.

    Since getting my Nook I now CAN keep every book I read and not have to buy another bookshelf or haul books to the next location. I’ve slowly given away my books to libraries or good causes that sell them to someone else who still has bookshelves. For those books I crave, I ordered them as ebooks (if they were available). I’m really happy to see so many authors putting their backlists up so I can get those books again too.

    Over the last two moves, we have gone from twelve 6 foot by 4 ft bookshelves down to three 4 ft by 3 ft shelves. And most of the books on those shelves are ones that either I’ve written or DH has written. (He used to write for Time Life Books so he has some of those series books).

    Oh, and our marriage? Better than ever. πŸ™‚ See ebooks are wonderful.

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