January 25th, 2008

Typing with your thumbs: the rise of the cellphone novel

In Japan, 10 of last year’s bestselling novels were originally cellphone novels with short sentences, lots of dialog and little plot or character development. The people who write them don’t make any money unless they are turned into physical books.

A New York Times article explores the phenomenon. “The affordability of cellphones coincided with the coming of age of a generation of Japanese for whom cellphones, more than personal computers, had been an integral part of their lives since junior high school. …“It’s not that they had a desire to write and that the cellphone happened to be there,” said Chiaki Ishihara, an expert in Japanese literature at Waseda University who has studied cellphone novels. “Instead, in the course of exchanging e-mail, this tool called the cellphone instilled in them a desire to write.”

I understand that in Asian countries, it might be unusual to have a computer at home (because it takes up too much space), and all the Web sites are designed to be read on cellphones.

Do you think something similar will happen here?

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What am I doing!?!!

Last week of my full time job. Five more weeks until my health benefits switch over to my husband's plan. I just figured out that one of my drugs, which costs me $30 for a three-month supply, will now cost me nearly $600 - and they will pay half. They act like it's my fault I'm on a "brand-name drug" - only there is no generic.

I've spent years with two fortune cookie says taped on the edge of my work computer: "There is yet time enough for you to take a different path" and, more recently, "You are about to embark on a most delightful journey."

Now I'm filled with doubt. What if I don't sell any more books? My mom emailed me this morning and said, "I have heard so many years about you quitting your job and when and if; what will we have to talk about now?"

I'll tell you what we'll talk about: me starving to death in a snowbank along the side of a freeway where I will be living in a cardboard box.

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